Introverts are built differently from other people and sometimes because of lack of understanding of themselves and stigmatization from their environment, they suffer.
As I say this or rather, write this, I am almost so sure that you have a picture of an introvert as a brooding man or woman sitting in the corner pathetically with no one to talk to. Am I right? Well, if I am, then you are way off.
WHO IS AN INTROVERT?
He/she is someone who prefers their alone time to interactions with other people.
A person can be an extrovert but still possess characteristics of introversion and vice versa.
WHAT AM I SAYING?
All I am saying is that no one is purely an introvert; just the same way no one is purely an extrovert. We may call someone an introvert but what it means is that the person has more introverted qualities than extroverted qualities.
I like to think of myself as an introvert and I enjoy my company a lot, maybe even more than the company of family and friends. I am in my head most of the times, instead of paying attention to people in front of me. When I am out, instead of socialising with people at a party or gathering, I enjoy sitting in a corner so I can watch them interact with themselves and while doing this, I notice covert details that they don’t even know they are exhibiting. I do this a lot when I suffer writer’s block and this act doesn’t bore me, instead it makes me happier.
But some days, I feel the urge to be the one doing the talking, to be the one being watched. It’s kind of like just being possessed and in seconds, I can’t keep my mouth shut nor can I stop jumping from places to places. And during those days, the spotlight doesn’t drain my energy. So, you get, right? I won’t always be withdrawn from society.
We introverts have a piece of extroversion in us. The only difference between us and the extroverts is that, on the personality scale, we are edging closer to introversion than to extroversion. It could be a seventy to thirty ratio, an eighty to twenty ratio or an eighty five to fifteen ratio. What really matters is that what side we are closer to on the spectrum.
So, have you ever wondered what a person who falls in the middle of the scale would be called? Have you?
Well, they are called ambiverts.
A LITTLE ABOUT AMBIVERTS
They enjoy socialising with people but after a little while, it may seem like a tedious exercise for them. So, they retract to regain energy from some alone time. These ambiverts also seem to adjust better to environments that may be unsettling for either an extrovert or an introvert. A popular opinion is that they act as better entrepreneurs than the extroverts or introverts because they can relate well to either of the personality types.
MENTAL HEALTH FOR INTROVERTS.
Introverts are natural thinkers and planners. They plan for what they would do tomorrow and the next week because they don’t handle shocks very well. Introverts want to know how tomorrow would go before tomorrow comes. They can do the same things every day for a week and won’t get bored as long as they do what suits them. Introverts gain energy by being by themselves, by introspecting without the external environment intruding on them. Frankly, they get aroused mentally by their internal environment just the way an extrovert would get aroused by their external environment. They may even suffer from some mental illnesses especially anxiety disorder when introduced to new environments or forced to leave their comfort zones.
REAL LIFE INSTANCES OF A FELLOW INTROVERT
As an introvert, people have thrown me comments like, ‘stop being a party pooper', 'loosen up’, ‘say hi to strangers’, ‘stop being too plain and boring’. Once, someone even told me that I was ‘pathetic’ because I felt anxious meeting new people.
In my head, I didn’t want to be a party pooper or boring or plain or pathetic even. I wanted to be ‘cool’, at least what they termed cool. I wanted to make friends spontaneously. I wanted to surprise myself and stop being too rational, too predictable. But guess what, I didn’t know how to do that stuff.
I didn’t know how to say hi to people without feeling like I am not supposed to be there. Sometimes I would challenge myself. I would say, ‘hey girl, you are going to meet those people over there and we are all going to find an immediate connection and then, we would all become best friends'. Guess how it always went? I would go there and with my loudly thumping heart, I would introduce myself. Then, they would go for a hug and almost spontaneously, I would stretch my hand for a handshake and that would be the start of my discomfort. But I would stay to the end of our interaction, not because I want to but because it’s respectable. After all this, I would make a decision of staying away from those people next time because I prefer my company to our uncomfortable meeting.
But the thing is that when I was alone, I would end up over thinking and wallowing in self-pity. Thus, degrading my mental health.
This is where good news comes because I didn’t remain like that. I wanted to get better so I researched a lot, left my comfort zone to find out things I could relate to and I worked towards my goal, which was improving my mental state.
So, I bring to you, eight ways in which introverts can improve and maintain their mental health.
Stop trying to follow the crowd.
Yes, stop trying to be like your neighbour who is an extrovert because you simply cannot cope in a lifestyle that isn’t yours. Be you! Don’t try to be anything that isn’t you because you would end up failing woefully. It is just like bringing a shark out of water and expecting it to develop legs like a lion. It would only end up dying because it can’t survive. But guess what? Just like the Lion is the king on land, the shark is also a king in water. You can rule in your zone and rule well. Something I always love telling myself is:
"You may not seem to fit in this world and there may not seem to be a throne waiting for you, but you are going to build that throne and crown yourself. You are a queen (a king). The world mustn’t see that, just you!"
Use the power of your introversion effectively.
Someone I follow on Instagram, @henryanumudu, suggested a book for introverts on his page. The name of the book is Quiet and in this book, Susan Cain explained the power of introversion perfectly so I would use a quote from her:
"If you’re an introvert, find your flow by using your gifts. You have the power of persistence, the tenacity to solve complex problems, and the clear-sightedness to avoid pitfalls that trip others up. You enjoy relative freedom from the temptations of superficial prizes like money and status. Indeed, your biggest challenge may be to fully harness your strengths."
Read a lot of books.
First of all, reading is awesome and I believe that everyone should pick up a book once in a while and read. So, why shouldn’t you? Introverts get stressed easily and that is another reason why they should read: because books have been found out to lower stress levels. Also, reading teaches us about human interaction. Sure, we need our alone time but sometimes we just have to speak out and talk to someone without struggling to communicate our thoughts. And reading can help us become better communicators. Also, a book such as Quiet by Susan cane can teach you much about the power of your introversion.
Make the right friends.
Your circle of friends should be a group of people that understand you, people that would never belittle your need for your space and people you can easily relate to. I do not mean that all your friends should be introverts. Instead, all I am saying is that have friends that respect your very being and things would fall in place.
Go for walks.
If you can, go for walks, at least for ten minutes. It benefits us in so many ways that we may not know. One of its benefits is that ‘quiet’ ones love observing the little things in the environment. They can sit on a bench by the road just to watch a bird sing or a dog run by. Those little things arouse them and walking provides an opportunity for that. Another reason is that walking reduces stress levels and boosts our moods. Having a bad day? Go take a walk. This is a mechanism I practice a lot and I can tell you that it has worked wonders for me. When I am angry or sad, I take walks at night and by the time I am back, I don’t feel the need to be angry.
Accept, understand and respect your need for privacy
I know that I previously said that you should have friends that respect you, but if you do not respect your needs, who would respect them? You need to stop brooding in self-pity just because you are not like others. You need to stop thinking you are depressed or sad because you feel better alone. You are alright! Respect that!
Task yourself by learning new skills
You have that rational and calculating mind so, use it to your advantage. You also have the time for it and most times, introverts need their mind to be occupied and if not, they might just end up with unhealthy thoughts. This would affect your mental health negatively. So yeah, do something with your time.
You don’t have to be a magician with words to write because you are writing for yourself and not for others. If you feel something, pick up that book or your phone and put it down in words. This helps especially when you want to blow off some steam without talking to someone. Pick up that pen and write!
I have tried out these things and it works wonders for me so I think some of them might work for you. You can experiment on them and even try other things that I haven’t mentioned. You would be able to find what works better for your mental health.
Thanks for reading!