11 Self-Reflection Questions for Introspection [Along With Exercises]
Joining, attending, and completing graduate school is a journey. You have classes, conferences to attend, a thesis to work on and research to submit for publication. You may get accepted the first time around; you may also face rejection more than once.
Taking moments for introspection will help you figure out what is working and what is not to lay out a plan of action. The best way to do this is with self-reflection questions.
Are you ready to center your thoughts and mental process for research? Try the Introspection Journal.
This guide will explore self-reflection as a tool for navigating academia, why it is necessary, and how you can enhance introspection with the right self-reflection questions and exercises.
What is Self-Reflection
Self-reflection is the ability to be honest with ourselves and critically evaluate our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
It also allows us to identify personal strengths and weaknesses, which can help to create a plan for academic and personal success.
In our fast-paced world, people are more focused on external stimuli and what goes on outside than what’s happening inside.
Doubt creeps in, second-guessing decisions and frustration settle- in these moments, many go on to question their worth and wonder why they feel this way. The fact is, it is impossible to find the answers you are looking for without introspection.
According to researchers, of the 50,000 thoughts we have every day, more than half are negative; and nearly all of them are repeats from the day before (Wood, 2013).
Self-reflection is the pause button that makes us stop to interpret what we feel, observe, and experience instead of simply reacting.
The result is a fulfilling life of breakthroughs from self-mastery and insights that helps us focus our energy, motivations, and passions to achieve goals.
Self-reflection is a core component of personal growth, and it is something that can be learned and improved over time. Start your journey here.
9 Self-Introspection Questions to Help You Introspect
First, let us note that self-reflection questions are leading questions to help one determine the answers to their struggles. With that in mind, these are not standardized. Different reflection questions are customized to fit individual needs.
We will look at the important ones to help you create a self-reflection routine; for personalized support, find customized programs here.
1. Who Am I? What are my values?
2. Do I wake ready to face the day?
3. Am I letting things out of my control overwhelm me?
4. Am I achieving the goals I set for myself? Which ones have I accomplished?
5. What is my biggest source of stress about the future
6. Who/what is my support system during my studies
7. How often am I engaging in my spiritual practices
8. What adjustments can I make to live within my means
9. What questions do I need answers to urgently?
10. What am I doing concerning the things that matter to me?
11. Why do I matter?
7 Self-Reflection Exercises to Put Your Life In Perspective
1. Create a list of what you would like to say no to
So as to be more mindful, it is critical to identify things for which your time and energy may not always yield the best result. One way of doing this would involve listing all those aspects of life you want no part or parcel – physically, mentally, and socially. Remember to be as practical as possible.
2. Create a list of what you would like to say yes to
This exercise is the reverse of the first one. Write down the things you want to embrace through your life in academia that will push your goals and personal growth.
3. Write down words you would like to hear
Create your list of 30 affirmations. Write these in the present tense about the things happening now that contribute to your future success. You can get ready-made affirmation cards tailored to the journey in academia here.
4. Consider how you respond or react when upset, rejected, and disappointed
The exercise helps you see the issue for what it is- emotions tend to blow problems or conflicts out of proportion and magnify them.
5. Do one good deed today for someone that can not reciprocate
Consider doing good but only for your knowledge.
The essence of this exercise is to help build a healthy perspective and confidence in yourself. Too often, we rely on applause or recognition to find worth in ourselves.
6. Think about what you do not know at the moment
That includes the questions and uncertainties of your life right now.
Let what you don’t know and can’t know be a comfort rather than something to fear, because it means that anything is possible (Bates, 2012).
The point of this exercise is to remind you to be open-minded. Understand that what you feel today may be different tomorrow because you are changing and growing in experience and perspective.
Writing down your thoughts is an excellent tool for self-reflection and focusing on your mental process. For this exercise, get a composition journal, a diary, or note book. Write daily in your journal one positive thought for the day, a self-reflection question (you can select from the list above), and an answer to the question (fill in this at the end of the day).
Self-reflection is a powerful tool that can help you work through difficult times as a graduate student or academic. By taking the time to answer these questions, you can better understand yourself and how to move forward.
If you need extra help with reflection and journaling, check out our selection of journals and programs designed to promote personal growth and development, with categories ranging from general introspection to writing help. Click here to find out more about programs.
Who knows, this introspection may be the first step to becoming a well-rounded individual both in and out of academia!