Learning how to listen to yourself can improve your overall well-being. Even if you’re out of practice, you can make positive changes in your life.

Listening to yourself is one of the best things you can do. It promotes happiness and can improve your well-being while making sure you’re on the best path for yourself. Learning how to listen to yourself is essential even though it takes practice, you can make it happen.

You might feel a little unhappy, even when you follow your plan and reach your goals. On paper, it seems that your life is a success, but you won’t always feel that way. These feelings may imply that you aren’t listening to yourself.

Sometimes when you listen to what someone else wants or orders, you find out later that you should have listened to yourself. It’s a sign that you should keep faith in your thoughts and pay attention to what you know is best. Learning how to listen to yourself can make the difference in your life that you need.

Learning how to listen to yourself requires trusting your instincts. Implementing new habits into your life can help you trust yourself. These habits include the following:

1. Acknowledge your values

Recognizing what you believe in can change everything about your life. Don’t let your situation cause you to give into something you disagree with. Stay in tune with what you believe in, and let go of all the rest.

2. Recognize your negative self-thoughts

If you experience negative self-thoughts, it can cause you to ignore your inner thoughts. Recognizing your inner critic helps you ignore the toxic thoughts. Then, you can replace them with what you know.

3. Ignore the clutter in your mind

You may hear many negative self-thoughts, but ignoring the clutter can help you overcome negativity. Listening to yourself requires ignoring the clutter so you can tap into your innermost thoughts.

Learning how to differentiate between clutter and true thoughts can help you listen to yourself.

4. Check in with yourself each day

Checking in with yourself requires asking yourself uncomfortable questions. It requires asking yourself “why” or “how”, but it allows you to check in with your innermost thoughts. When you think this way, it helps you listen to yourself and what you know is right.

5. Let go of the things you can’t control

Letting go of things you can’t control allows you to listen to yourself. You know what’s good for you and that you should walk away from the rest. This tip might mean walking away from people you have nothing in common with anymore.

6. Learn the difference between your wants and society’s expectations

Differentiating between what you think society expects of you and what you want is one of the first steps in listening to yourself. It might take effort to disregard specific thoughts, but it’s worth it.

When you know how to listen to yourself and differentiate from the rest, everything else falls into place. It’ll lower your stress levels and increase your confidence and self-esteem.

Learning how to listen to yourself is helpful because it helps build confidence and self-awareness. You may notice an increase in happiness and peace, knowing you’re on the path meant for you.

It helps steer your life in the direction you dreamed of, doing what’s important to you.

You can practice listening to yourself by observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment. If you become overwhelmed by observing your thoughts and feelings, consider focusing on your breath to help your body relax and enter a parasympathetic state.

Think about how you want to feel heard by others. Rather than waiting for others to listen to you, focus on listening to yourself. When you practice how to listen to yourself, you’ll become more in tune with what your mind, body, and spirit wants or needs.

When you listen to yourself, you can fulfill your idea of happiness. Disregarding other people’s ideas for your life is beneficial because you can do what’s best for you.

It can take time to learn your inner voice. But with time you may notice that you can trust your instincts and honor your needs.

According to Panthea Saidipour, LCSW, a Manhattan psychotherapist, one helpful strategy is to consider if your words match your actions. If you don’t want to do something, listen to yourself and don’t give a yes for an answer. Do things you want to do, not what you feel obligated to do.

“For example, if you say yes to an invite, are you eager to show up, or do you find yourself dragging your feet?”

– Panthea Saidpour

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Keely Clark, LCSW, is a therapist in Asheville, N.C. that believes you need time to check in with yourself. Listening to yourself requires tuning into what you’re feeling.

“Listening to ourselves means creating time and space every day to check in with ourselves, feel what we’re really feeling, and ask ourselves what really matters to us.”

– Keely Clark

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We assume that everyone else knows more, as Kirsten Brunner, LPC, explained. Brunner is a therapist who specializes in perinatal mental health and relationship counseling at her private practice in Austin, Texas. She understands how this can lead to not listening to yourself.

Brunner suggested putting up post-It notes around your house, office, and car with different phrases and questions. Asking yourself how you’re feeling is essential to listening to yourself. Your opinions and desires matter, and listening to your gut can make all the difference.

“How are you feeling today? Your opinions and desires matter. What does your gut say? What do you want right now? What are you needing in this moment?”

– Kirsten Brunner

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According to New York City psychologist Snehal Kumar, PhD, maybe you grew up in an authoritarian home, had to care for an unwell parent, or learned that maintaining peace meant minimizing your needs (and yourself).

“Over time, this way can become our default method of operating and perceiving the world, which perpetuates this cycle of not listening to ourselves.”

– Snehal Kumar

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This quote isn’t the only advice you can take from Kumar. She also went on to say that seeing a therapist can help you learn some strategies to help you break through your barriers. You can determine how to listen to yourself as you overcome these barriers.

“Therapy is also wonderful because you can work with a non-judgmental and respectful trained professional, who’ll help you sort through and understand your experiences.”

– Snehal Kumar

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Looking inward for courage, guidance, and compassion can improve your overall well-being, helping your mind, body, and spirit.

You don’t have to fill anyone else’s idea of happiness. This life is yours to live, meaning you must make the best decision for yourself. Do what makes you happy rather than what makes anyone else in your life happy.