36 Self-Reflection Questions To Aid Introspection

What better time to take a moment for self-reflection than right now?

So many of us get caught up in social media, TV shows, the news, what our partners/friends/family are up to, that we often neglect to check in with ourselves.

Though we are our only ever-present companion, we often overlook the more serious things we should be considering because everything just becomes normal, or routine.

We brush aside certain recurring thoughts, or play down certain feelings, and neglect to focus on how we’re actually doing.

Well, it’s time!

No more putting it off!

Let’s jump straight into some self-reflection questions and get deep…

(P.S. a pen and paper might come in handy to write down your answers for future reference.)

6 self-reflection questions about your thoughts and feelings. 

1. What helps you to feel happy?

What actually makes you happy? Some of us might automatically answer ‘food’ or ‘sex’ – but dig deeper.

When do you actually feel content or joyful – or, ideally, a mix of the two?

Think outside the box, as it might not be something you currently do very often.

Some of us love the things we only ‘get’ to do when we’re on holiday, like surfing, so the answer might not be immediately obvious.

Take your time to delve deep into your mind and see what sets your soul alight.

2. How can you spend more time doing things you love?

Now that you’ve figured out what really makes you feel good, how can you spend more time doing that?

Is there a way you can carve our more time in the day for them, or prioritize yourself over other things that take up your time?

If you chose something that you normally do on vacation, think about how you can incorporate that into your life more often.

Returning to the surfing example, maybe there’s an indoor surf spot near you, or a club you can join that organize trips to a nearby beach every month.

3. Who in your life makes you feel good?

Again, try to avoid answering quickly with the first person that pops into your mind! Sometimes, the best things aren’t the most obvious things.

It might not be someone you see every day, but it could be a distant relative you keep in touch with whose messages always cheer you up.

It could be a friend you’ve drifted away from – this is your reminder to get back in touch and rediscover that connection! 

4. Who drains your energy – and why are you still spending time with them?

This one might feel a bit awkward to answer, and you might feel uncomfortable thinking about people in this way.

Remember that it’s completely normal to find some friendships harder than usual at some point – everyone goes through phases, and those phases don’t always align well!

Think about how you can pull back a bit from people who are draining you. This isn’t about hurting their feelings or being rude; it’s about prioritizing what you need and being okay with setting boundaries.

You don’t need to cut this person out of your life, but you can start to ‘manage’ your relationship with them so that it’s healthier overall – for you both.

5. What do you value most about yourself?

Think about the parts of your body, brain, personality, that you like most. Where do you hold value?

Do you love how smart you are, or think that you’re really witty and funny?

Maybe you like how you look and have spent a lot of time and energy working out or bulking up?

We often forget to appreciate ourselves because we’re so used to being ourselves.

Take some time out to be kind to yourself and remember what makes you so amazing.

6. If there were no limits, what would you change about yourself? Even with limits, can you?

This shouldn’t focus on anything negative like “I wish I could be prettier/sexier/smarter/funnier.”

Instead, think about what you want to achieve and how you would feel when you achieve it.

It’s about growing as a person and improving on aspects of yourself that you know could use some work.

Maybe you’d change your work ethic so that you had the ability to open your own business.

Maybe you’d want to be more confident so that you could go on dates and find a partner.

Now, think about the obstacles you believe stand in the way of those changes – maybe you don’t have enough time to work as much as you want, or maybe you have a friend who makes you feel badly about yourself and it’s affecting your confidence.

How can you move past those obstacles and achieve those changes?

Wake up a little bit earlier, work through lunch one day a week, say no to drinks after work sometimes and focus on your own project.

Limit your time with a toxic friend, do things that make you feel capable and confident, speak to loved ones about boosting your self-esteem.

Then see what happens…

6 self-reflection questions about your future and dreams.

7. Where do you see yourself in 3 years?

This one is straightforward and easy to do, so get deeper.

Go beyond ‘a good job and great relationship.’

What does it look like; feel like? How do you spend your days, where are you, and who are you with?

The stronger the visualization, the more successful the manifestation.

8. Where do you see yourself in 3 months?

The same as above, get a bit deeper! Also – what can you start doing in those 3 months that will help you achieve your 3-year goals?

9. Who, or what, is holding you back?

Spoiler alert – it might be you! You might be subconsciously blocking yourself from achieving certain things, which is totally normal, but not very helpful.

Have a good think about what you consider to be the obstacles to success – and then have a good think about what the actual obstacles are.

They’re bound to be quite different…

10. How can you address these limitations?

You may think you need money; what you actually need is to go to the bank and ask for a loan, start saving up, find an online course on budgeting and starting a business.

The obstacles may not be what you initially thought…

11. How do you feel about tomorrow?

Again, pretty simple! When you think about getting up tomorrow, how do you feel?

Nervous, anxious, excited, ready?

How can you move to a more positive mindset if you need to? How can you prep tonight to ensure tomorrow goes as well as it can?

Get your things ready, make yourself overnight oats so your breakfast is ready as soon as you’re up, make time for yoga before work.

How can you help yourself have the best tomorrow – every day?

12. What is your contingency plan?

Whether or not you have a contingency plan already says a lot about you and is something to consider in itself.

Are you a saver? Do you plan out of fear or excitement – are you building an underground bunker because you’re afraid of WW3, or is your plan to travel the world and explore?

What does that say about you, and are you happy with what it says?

6 self-reflection questions about your relationships and friendships.

13. Are you happy with your relationship status?

Regardless of what it is, how do you feel about your current status?

Maybe you immediately think of an ex and get upset. Maybe you feel excited about the prospect of a new partner. Maybe you’re very content in your relationship.

Whatever it is, think about how happy you are…

14. If not, how can you address the issues you face?

This is a harder one, but definitely worth thinking about. If you’re not happy relationship-wise, how can you change that?

Maybe you want to be in a relationship and need to consider dating apps, speed dating, getting a friend to set you up with their friend.

Maybe you need to end your relationship, or maybe you need to communicate your feelings to your partner and move through a rough patch – together.

15. How can you become a better partner?

This isn’t about being critical of yourself and it’s not intended to make you feel badly about yourself.

Instead, it’s about considering how you communicate, how you manage your expectations, what your standards are, how you can maintain independence and merge with another at the same time.

Whether you’re single or with someone, think about how you could offer more and be the best partner you can be.

16. Which friends know you best?

Most of us behave slightly differently depending on who we’re spending time with. This is normal, but it does make you think – who are you most authentically ‘you’ with?

How can you spend more time with them, and what makes you so comfortable with them?

Is it how long you’ve known them, or how similar they are to you?

How can you move toward being more ‘you’ in your other friendships – and do you want to?

17. Do you need to forgive anyone?

This is a tough one, so go easy on yourself. It might bring up some negative feelings or some sad memories.

Think about people who have upset you and consider forgiving them.

Sometimes, we get so buried in our anger that we forget to pop our heads up, look around, and realize that that feeling is now stagnant; unnecessary.

It’s human nature to cling to the feeling of being ‘wronged,’ and it can harbor a lot of resentment.

Try to think about what you can let go of – and who you can free from their guilt.

18. Who needs to forgive you?

Again, it can be difficult to acknowledge certain feelings, especially if we feel guilty or angry about things that have happened.

Have you done something that you feel you should be forgiven for?

What have you learned from that experience – and why do you deserve to be forgiven?

How can you go about proving you deserve a second chance?

6 self-reflection questions about your health and well-being.

19. How do you feel in yourself?

Consider how you actually feel, right now. Is there any unease, either mentally or physically? How can you ease this?

Maybe jotting down your worries and getting them out of your head and onto a piece of paper.

Maybe you can stretch tight muscles or have a hot bath.

Can you make these things a habit to avoid unnecessary unease? 

20. What steps can you take toward feeling healthier?

Define what ‘health’ means to you – what does it look like?

Do you feel like you want to exercise more or less? Maybe you want to address the underlying anxiety you’ve been feeling recently.

How can you be your healthiest self – and why should you make the effort to become that?

21. How do you feel about asking for help?

Have you ever stopped yourself from reaching out for help out of shame, or time constraints, or confidence?

Would it feel differently this time round?

You can access free mental health support online, free counselling sessions are available, GPs can do phone/video calls if you feel worried about visiting in person, you can write down everything you’re worried about and hand it to a professional so that you don’t need to vocalize it or remember it all.

How can you let yourself get help?

22. Do you value your health?

Do you take your health for granted? A lot of us do. How can you celebrate being healthy – and why should you?

Think about how lucky you are in whatever situation you’re in, even if it takes a while to find that gratitude.

23. How can you move your body more?

What feels good? What’s realistic for your lifestyle?

Don’t commit to a 5am run if you know you won’t get up. Instead, invite your body to a 7pm yoga class online, with the option to postpone it if you’re busy.

Don’t force yourself, but encourage your body to move more and find things it loves.

24. How do you respect your health?

How do you honor your health and well-being? How do you make the most of your ability; your mobility?

How can you do this more? Who can you spread this message to, and why is it important to do this?

6 self-reflection questions about life in general.

25. How do you feel about aging and death?

We all get older and, eventually, we all leave this plane of existence. For where, no one knows for sure. Facing this reality and dealing with it can help you get on and live your life without the nagging presence of death.

How do you feel about getting older – the physical and mental changes that take place and the slow winding down of your days?

What can you do to better come to terms with the reality we all face?

26. What would you like to prioritize at this stage of your life?

We go through many stages in our lives – which one are you in right now?

Given where you are, what things do you put first? Or, rather, what things would you like to put first?

Your health? Your family? Your friends? Travel? Career? Financial security?

Sitting down and actually deciding what things really matter to you right now can help you decide where to put your energy.

27. Do you find meaning in your life?

Meaning and purpose – you can’t see them or touch them, but we all yearn for more of them in our lives.

Are they present in your life? What is the source? Could you do more of those things?

If they aren’t present, what could you do to try to find them? What teachings could you follow or learn about? What activities could you get involved in?

Could you volunteer? Could you dedicate yourself to a selfless task that helps in other ways? Could you learn to appreciate everything you already have in life?

28. How do you deal with the stresses of life?

Stress is something that everyone has to face in their lives. There will be times when things are difficult, both mentally and emotionally.

Being able to deal with that stress in a healthy and effective way can prevent it from building up to a point where it causes you to burn out or break down.

What coping mechanisms do you have? Are they healthy or unhealthy? What could you do to manage your stress better?

29. What are you avoiding in your life?

Are there things in your life that you are ignoring or avoiding? Are you putting your head in the sand and hoping that these things will just go away by themselves?

Sorry to break it to you, but this approach rarely ends well.

We have to face the things we might not wish to face. We have to take the actions we might not want to take. It’s the only way that we move forward and grow in our lives and in ourselves.

What things could you do in the next 7 days that you’ve been putting off for a while now?

30. Do you feel you are on the right path in life?

The language of life used in the personal development space is often one of paths and of walking those paths. It’s an analogy that works well because life is very much a journey that we all have to take.

And whilst there is no single path or way to live your life, you can find a way to live that resonates well with who you are and who you wish to be in the future.

Are you on such a path? Do you feel like you are doing the things that you ought to be doing? That you would like to do?

If not, how can you navigate your way to a path that best suits the type of life you would like to lead?

6 self-reflection questions about your beliefs.

31. Do you have strong spiritual beliefs?

Are you a spiritual or religious person? How strongly do you hold these beliefs?

What are those beliefs? Do your beliefs help to define who you are and the path you walk?

32. Do you live true to your spiritual beliefs?

Do you always live in a way that is aligned with the spiritual beliefs you hold? Do you follow the principles of a religion or your own self-imposed rules?

If you struggle to live how your beliefs say you should live, does it cause any inner conflict? If so, how you do reconcile that conflict?

Could you find a way to live more in line with your spiritual beliefs?

33. Would you like your spiritual beliefs to play a bigger role in your life?

How much influence do your spiritual beliefs have on your everyday life? How regularly do you engage in spiritual practice, whether formal or informal?

Could your life benefit from giving your beliefs a more prominent role?

Would you feel happier, more connected, more fulfilled?

34. What are your moral and ethical standards?

What are your standards in terms of what guides your actions and your treatment of other people and things?

Do you only buy Fair Trade goods? Do you seek to minimize your impact on the environment? Are you passionately involved in fighting discrimination of some kind?

How did those morals and ethics form? Whose influence were you guided by? Have you ever questioned the standards you live by? Should you?

Are there times when you let your standards slip? How does this make you feel? What can you do to prevent this from happening?

35. How do you handle beliefs that conflict with your own?

Coming up against beliefs or standards that differ from your own – even to the point where they completely oppose your own – is inevitable. Humanity is so diverse that almost every point of view is held by at least one person.

Are you open-minded to these conflicting beliefs? Do you assess them rationally and without prejudice to see what value or lessons you can take away from them?

Or do you hold tight to what you believe whilst fighting against anyone and anything that might disagree with you? If so, how does this make you feel?

Are there ways that you can be more open to opposing ideas, or at least have a less emotional response to them?

36. Are there areas where you don’t have clearly defined beliefs, but would like them?

Beliefs and morals do not just magically appear in our minds. They develop over time based upon our life experiences and the people or organizations we learn from.

Are there pieces of the spiritual or moral jigsaw puzzle that are currently hidden to you? Are there aspects of your beliefs that are not well formed?

How might you go about figuring out where you stand on those issues? Who might you turn to for help? What books might you read? Whose wisdom might you consider?

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.