EBS tv journalist with their kids. The ability to be conscious of and evaluate what is happening in your own mind—including thoughts, emotions, beliefs, moods, expectations, and self-talk—is known as metacognition. Most of the time, we are operating on autopilot, but things still happen and we respond: You get a nasty look from your spouse, so you respond with a nasty remark. You don’t know how to respond to a passive-aggressive email from your boss, so you divert yourself on Facebook. You suddenly recall a distressing event, which causes you to become mired in reflection and regret. The more you don’t listen to your own mind, the more your actions end up being automatic responses. And this causes a great deal of stress and emotional turbulence: You’re going to experience a lot of anxiety if your default self-talk is to catastrophize negative events and jump to the worst-case scenario. You’re going to feel a lot of frustration and rage if your go-to reaction to criticism is to criticize back. You’ll develop a lot of shame and fake guilt if your default reaction to unpleasant events is to criticize yourself and internalize what happened. On the other hand, if you can learn to take a moment to stop and notice what is going on in your mind, you give yourself the chance to act purposefully and intentionally. Try to be curious about your emotions rather than attempting to address them right away.