What is Self Monitoring: Meaning, Types & Importance

Last Update on February 28, 2023 : Published on August 30, 2022

You must have heard or read many times that you should keep a check on yourself. Have you ever wondered why self-monitoring is so important? Well, self-monitoring is a part of self-awareness, actually, it’s what you do in the process of becoming self-aware.

Self-monitoring helps you understand yourself better, it makes you realize your strengths and weaknesses, helps you recognize warrior triggers in life and makes you aware of your responses to various situations & stimuli.

People who usually self-monitor their emotions and actions or have learned the art of self-monitoring tend to behave in a fashion that is very organized and sorted. This is so the behavior they kind of know the outcome of most of their actions and can assume how others perceive them.

Let’s learn more about self-monitoring and know why self-monitoring is so important…

What Is Self-Monitoring In Psychology?


Self-monitoring is a type of personality trait that some possess and learn to possess. This character trait makes you focus on yourself so much that you know all about your actions, feelings, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

According to mental health experts, self-monitoring is the ability to monitor or be aware of the way you present yourself in society, the ability to monitor your thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and the ability to monitor and regulate your responses and reactions to certain situations.

Self-monitoring basically is a trait that not only helps you know yourself better but also helps you understand why you reacted a certain way and how you can improve your behavior so that it doesn’t harm your mental well-being or make the environment you live in toxic.

Types Of Self-Monitoring

The concept of self-monitoring was first introduced by Mark Snyder (psychologist) sometime during the 1970s. He was also the one who developed a self-report scale that measured the amount of change that is brought about in someone’s behavior because of self-monitoring.

According to Snyder, Self-Monitoring can be divided into two types;

1. Acquisitive

Acquisitive type of self-monitoring is usually done by those people who want to feel accepted or want to grab the attention of others. They monitor their behavior, feelings, and actions to see what gets them the attention they need.

They then change their behavior and feelings in such a way that how others perceive them, changes. They want to feel noticed, they want power, attention & status and self-monitoring helps them understand what works for them and what does not.

2. Protective

The protective type of self-monitoring is more about trying to keep a check on your behavior just so that you can protect yourself from rejection and embarrassment.

So, when someone is trying to self-monitor in a protective fashion they usually try to monitor their behaviors and feelings around people and what makes them fit in.  It is more like people-pleasing behavior only for them to feel accepted and wanted.

Why Is Self-Monitoring Important?


Self-monitoring is important in so many ways. Some people are just wired in such a way that self-monitoring comes to them naturally. But there are some people who are simply so unaware of their feelings, behaviors, and emotions that fail to maintain their mental well-being.

Self-monitoring can be an important tool in understanding yourself better and this understanding can be used for your own betterment. When it comes to mental health illnesses, by self-monitoring you can identify your triggers and also recognize effective coping strategies.

Let’s look at some things that make self-monitoring so important;

  1. Helps you in altering maladaptive behaviors
  2. It increases self-awareness
  3. It also helps you become more aware of people around you
  4. It helps in developing interpersonal skills
  5. It helps you understand the cause and effect of your behavior in particular situations
  6. It helps you recognize progressive and adaptive ways to act and feel
  7. It helps you notice early signs of any mental or physical illness
  8. It helps you regulate your emotions and feelings
  9. It helps you adapt to different social situations
  10. It helps you understand target behaviors better

Self-monitoring Can Be Overwhelming Sometimes

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End Note

Self-monitoring is usually done in a very casual fashion, it is mostly an outcome of a personality trait. It can definitely be a learned trait as well, many therapists advise their patients to engage in self-monitoring so that they become more self-aware.

Self-monitoring  can help you understand what feelings and behaviors are good for you, what kind of emotions make you feel bad or better and what kind of behavior helps you in navigating your energy towards something positive or productive.

Having said that, some safe self-monitoring can be harmful. In the case of mental illnesses like social anxiety, self-monitoring can worsen your symptoms. So, it’s always better to be in touch with a mental health expert before engaging in something you know less about.

All in all, Self-monitoring can act as an important tool in raising self-awareness and has several other benefits along with some disadvantages as well.

This brings us to the end of this blog. I hope you found this blog about self-monitoring helpful and I hope now you know why self-monitoring is important!

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.


  1. Oluwasanmi

    It's actually a good write up.

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