The general population grossly misunderstands introverts. Contrary to popular belief, they don’t hate people and aren’t always shy or quiet. Unlike extroverts, social interactions may exhaust them more quickly. They often prefer to be left alone to recharge.
It doesn’t matter which personality you’re pre-disposed to because one is not better than the other. However, understanding your behavior can help you deal with everyday concerns like mental health.
Mental health is a broad category of medicine that deals with your emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It plays a vital role in our actions, thoughts, and feelings while determining how we handle everyday situations.
Factors like biology, lifestyle, environment, and behavior can influence your mental health and needs. Since introverts and extroverts stand on opposite sides of the spectrum, their traits influence how they deal with mental health.
Research shows that introverts typically report lower levels of happiness. And since they’re not as open with friends and family as extroverts, they tend to internalize their feelings— even the negative ones.
Fortunately, certain approaches and strategies are known to work in helping introverts deal with their mental health. A few of these are listed below.
- Examine your thoughts
Negative thoughts can severely impact your mental health and ability to cope with them. They induce feelings of stress and anxiety and make you seem incapable of performing particular tasks. This back talk can diminish your brain’s activity levels and keep it from thinking, reasoning, or creating memories. If these responses sound familiar, perhaps you must seek professional help. Various therapies and interventions like those offered by Delphi Behavioral Health Group can teach you ways to modify your thinking. Once you change how you talk to yourself, you can build better resilience against common mental health problems like stress and anxiety.
- Practice journaling
Introverts often find it difficult to voice their concerns and discuss what’s bothering them. But even if you can’t talk about your issues, getting them out is crucial for maintaining good mental health. Instead of saying them out loud, you can write them in a journal as a way to process your emotions. The best way to write in your journal is to start with a situation you’re currently dealing with and elaborate on your feelings and thoughts. You can also reflect on past problems that left you frustrated. When you pen everything down, you can later look at it through a more transparent lens and identify the root cause of your problem. Consequently, this will help you solve whatever problem you are facing.
- Understand your limits
It’s typical for introverts to feel pressured into doing what their extrovert friends usually do. While pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is good, you must also understand the limit beyond which you can’t go. For example, hanging out with friends or attending a party may seem exciting and fun. But after a while, you may start tired and wish for a calmer place to sit and regroup. You can then politely excuse yourself and leave the social group without hurting anyone’s feelings. If you force yourself to stay, despite feeling uncomfortable, you may get anxious and severely damage your mental health.
While understanding your limits is essential, it also helps to surround yourself with family and friends who can respect your boundaries.
- Set realistic goals
Since most mental illnesses stem from the inability to control things, setting realistic and achievable goals for yourself is crucial. Deciding and writing down everything you want to accomplish personally, academically, or professional can help you better deal with your mental health. Every time you achieve one of your objectives, cross them off your list and see how it will make you feel.
When you’re satisfied with your achievements, your mood gets elevated, and you can better handle your emotions, fears, and actions. These positive feelings motivate you to create changes in your life that you may otherwise find highly challenging.
- Stay physically active
Studies have shown that regular exercise can profoundly impact mental health. When you engage in physical activity, your body releases endorphins that improve mood, reduce stress, and give feelings of euphoria. Health professionals often suggest individuals battling depression, anxiety, or ADHD engage in fitness programs. Muscle movements can profoundly affect swimming, running, dancing, or even a brisk walk. And since exercises don’t have to be a group activity, you can pick something you enjoy and do it out without ever having to socialize or hang with others. Sometimes even a quick jog around the block can clear your head and help you focus on tasks for the rest of the day.
- Establish a happy place
A safe space or a place where you can unwind, relax and clear your mind is critical for maintaining good mental health. For some individuals, it may be the beach, while others prefer hanging out in their rooms for a while. Places or people with whom you have cherished memories can often be the best environments to establish your happy place. Whenever you feel stressed about work, relationships, or yourself, go to this spot and relieve yourself of all the negative feelings and emotions. Take a few minutes to do whatever makes you feel better, whether taking a nap, doing deep breathing exercises, or even listening to music. It is one of the most beneficial approaches to dealing with mental health. If you don’t address each issue concerning you, they’ll start building up on one another and, in severe cases, may cause a nervous breakdown.
- Cultivate a positive attitude
Although having a positive outlook on your situation won’t ward you entirely off of mental health issues, it can still lower their severity. Most introverts aren’t optimistic by nature, but this doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate an affirmative attitude and only think happy thoughts. Everyone goes through tough and challenging times, but when you focus on the positives, you spend less energy and time thinking about the opposing sides.
Counselors and therapists often help clients emphasize the upside of every situation. When you make this a conscious effort, you’ll start doing it unknowingly and build a positive mindset over time.
Since introverts are more likely to suppress their emotions and hide negative feelings, they are at greater risk of developing severe mental health issues. But being an introvert is only a part of who you are and not your entire being. So, use these hurdles as a foundation to build on your strengths and enhance your mental well-being despite them.