The introvert personality requires special considerations that aren’t always met in our extroverted world.
If you are an introvert, this article will help you navigate your day-to-day interactions and experiences and equip you with the self-care practices that will recalibrate your spirit and renew your energy.
Jenny and I had a conversation about being introverts on the first night of the weekend retreat we were attending. So, when we found ourselves standing between the tables and wall at the perimeter of the room watching everyone dance, it was obvious why. Despite it being the end of the retreat and time to celebrate with new friends, we were more inclined to observe rather than be in the middle of the dance floor.
Introverts feel energized after being with the right people yet feel drained after shallow conversations.
One of the things Jenny said over the weekend was, “I’m trying this personality on.” What she meant was introverts are expected to fit in with the societal extrovert ideal. Many introverts feel that they must act a certain way in public. For example, they act more social and outgoing which contrasts with their desire to be alone.
So, there is often a mental conflict between who you’re going to be when you attend social situations. You must decide which introvert personality will show up.
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While the Myers-Briggs indicator is a popular personality assessment to determine introversion, it’s been challenged recently by the psychology community. According to the book Personality Isn’t Permanent by Dr. Benjamin Hardy, the Myers-Briggs was created in the 1940s and was not founded on scientific data.
Rather than fitting a certain personality type, personality is now seen as flexible. Hardy states that there are five personality factors that exist on a continuum.
5 Main Introvert Personality Factors
In different situations and circumstances, you show up differently. Plus, life experiences shape who you are. So, your personality evolves over time. If you’ve ever felt like you’re getting more introverted as you get older, it means you’re moving closer to one end of the spectrum.
Notice where you are on the continuum for each of these five factors:
1. How open you are to learning and experiencing new things
2. How organized, motivated, and goal-directed you are
3. How energized and connected you are around other people
4. How friendly and optimistic you are toward other people
5. How well you handle stress and other negative emotions
Number 3 above is where being an introvert, or introversion, comes into play.
Have you noticed that when you’re around your close circle of friends, you’re more gregarious? Introverts feel energized after being with the right people yet feel drained after shallow conversations. This demonstrates movement on the continuum with a flexible introvert personality.
Do you love personality assessments? The Enneagram assessment also explains multiple facets of your personality.
Find Out Your Enneagram Type Here!
Am I an Introvert?
Before you develop your guide to peace in this overstimulating world, you need to know if you’re an introvert. Because there are so many points along each of the five factor continuums, it’s hard to say that all introverts behave a certain way. Many quirks get attributed to introverts even if they’re not true.
Introversion is your energetic trait. Extended social interaction will drain your social battery. Then you will need to spend time alone in order to recharge.
Rather than fitting a certain personality type, personality is now seen as flexible.
Introverts are often mistaken as shy due to their quiet nature. However, as explained in Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, not all introverts are shy.
Introverts naturally listen, observe, and gather information before speaking. A strength of the introvert personality is to think through things, process the information, and then decide the best course of action.
Introverts also tend to be creative, intuitive, empathetic, sensitive, humble, modest, and persistent.
About 70% of introverts are highly sensitive people (HSP). HSPs feel emotions very deeply. An HSP may cry at the beauty of a sunset. An HSP might get annoyed with loud sounds. With so much distraction in the world today, introverts and HSPs need ways to manage their energy and avoid being overstimulated.
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Here Are 4 Ways to Nurture Your Introvert Personality to Find More Peace Daily:
Introverts have special requirements for their unique personality that, when met, can help nurture them and cultivate a sense of peace. When not nurtured, introverts can feel overwhelmed, overstimulated, and exhausted. Prevent that with these four suggestions.
1. Accept Who You Are
As much as 50% of the global population identifies as an introvert. There is no shame in being quiet and thoughtful.
With the constant pressure to speak up in meetings or attend social activities, introverts must decide whether to appeal to the extrovert-rewarded workplace and social settings, or put their own energy first.
To use a workplace example, the person who speaks first in meetings usually leads the group’s thoughts. Since introverts prefer time to think, you may feel pressure to speak up before you’re ready.
When asked to provide thoughts in a meeting and you need more time to process your thoughts, say, “I give my best feedback when I’ve had time to gather my thoughts. Can I get back to you in 2 hours?” If a decision isn’t pressing, lean into your strength of thinking through the information.
Creating peace means accepting who you are as an introvert. You know you need alone time to be your best. Accept this rather than doing things that work against it.
Some days you will have the energy to socialize and some days you won’t. Listen to your body and speak kindly to yourself when deciding you are a priority.
On those days where your social battery is low, it means saying no to extracurricular activities and retreating to your sanctuary. It doesn’t mean forcing yourself to be social.
Need help with saying no? Read: Learn How to Say No and Set Healthy Boundaries
2. Recover From the Spotlight
Moments of being in the spotlight are a part of life. For introverts, leading a meeting and giving a presentation – anytime you’re the center of attention – feels like a performance. It’s like being on stage with all the focus on you. These performances will drain your energy.
On days where you perform, it’s important to have a recovery plan in place. For introverts, part of stepping out of your comfort zone is finding a way to empower yourself during and nurture yourself after.
Taking a walk after delivering a presentation calms your nervous system. Journaling about how you’re feeling is another way to clear your head and return to a peaceful state.
The key is that you do an activity that promotes emotional processing. When you address your emotions, you release stress from your body.
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3. Reduce Overthinking
Emotions like nervousness, annoyance, and disrespect often lead to overthinking. Because of the ability to think slowly, the introvert personality tends to ruminate. When your mind is spinning instead of sleeping, it hinders energy and clarity.
Luckily, there are many ways to quiet the voice in your head. The book Chatter by Ethan Kross offers research-based solutions, including writing expressively. Using pen and paper, write (without editing) all the thoughts and feelings in your head. Then rip it up and throw it away! You’ll notice an improved mood afterwards.
Physical contact is another way to tame overthinking. A simple hug from a friend or family member works. But if that’s not possible, a soft cozy sweater or weighted blanket is helpful too.
Looking at photos of loved ones is soothing when your mind is racing. When you catch yourself in a negative thought spiral, scroll through the photos on your phone’s camera roll. Pause and think about the person and memories.
The endless chatter in your head makes you feel out of control. So, take back control by organizing a personal space. Clear piles of paper from your desk and file them away, donate clothes, organize the junk drawer, make a list of projects to be done.
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4. Control What You Can
Control is a basic human need. However, the skill of recognizing what’s out of your control is constantly being refined. As a recovering control freak, I’m still learning ways to let go.
Control freaks hold tightly due to subconscious fears. When you identify your fears, you realize just how much is out of your control. It’s a major relief to recognize you don’t have to take on so much responsibility.
Sound like you? Read: How to Let Go of Your Inner Control Freak and Enjoy Life as It Comes
You can’t control what people think of you. You can approve and love yourself.
You can’t always control how much money you make. You can be dependable, visible, and do quality work so you position yourself for promotions and raises.
You can’t control your kids, but you can teach them acceptable behavior and responsibility.
You can’t control your partner, but you can have conversations about evenly dividing responsibilities. You can also decide to accept their flaws as they have accepted yours.
You can’t control what people post online, so limit how much time you spend scrolling and interacting. Read, listen to podcasts, meditate, and spend time outside when you need mood-boosting down time.
You can’t control the future, and learning ways to effectively manage stress and anxiety will shift your personality to a more peaceful side of the continuum.
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Find Peace and Thrive as an Introvert In an Extroverted World
Peace stems from a decision – a decision that you can handle what the world throws at you. Peace means having the tools to feel capable despite overstimulating circumstances.
It’s time for introverts to guide the world to more inner peace.
Being an introvert is not a negative trait or a weakness. In fact, it is a beautiful gift that when honored instead of stifled has a lot of power. Introverts have the opportunity to show this extrovert-glorifying world embrace more feeling and more reflection.
It’s time for introverts to guide the world to more inner peace. Let’s lead the way.