Updated: Mar 29
6 Mindset Shifts That Bolster Inner Peace
According to a 2018 article by Alex Moore in MentalHealth Matters, "74% of people suffering [from depression] also exhibited introverted personality traits."
Many reports connect this link to introverts' preference for solitude, our tendency to be very introspective, our penchant for perfectionism, and our knack for constantly reviewing (and often criticizing) our actions and decisions in our head.
However, Moore goes on to recognize that it is not our introversion itself that is associated with depression. It is when we or others are constantly putting ourselves down, comparing ourselves negatively to other louder, more sociable people, and letting our own self-doubt take over that depression creeps in.
The solution is to recognize that "happiness simply is different" for us.
This week's post is an update of one of our most popular posts yet! I think this subject resonates with many introverts and yet remains a bit of a taboo topic for most public chatter.
I love my introspective self but freely admit I do tend to stew of issues and am especially prone to building anxiety in front of new events.
I hope you will try the tips and strategies provided to help pull back, shift from swirling emotion to present reality, and from self-critical bully to self-compassionate cheerleader.
Besides learning about our own strengths and using them to tackle previously stressful situations like meetings, socials, networking, or debates, there are 6 mindset shifts that can place us on a more confident and serene path:
#1 Employ Moderation
“The most serious human evil is lack of moderation.”
― Helmuth Plessner
Our strengths can be quite powerful. However, it is always important to moderate our approach. Despite appearances, many introverts are quite ambitious. Once we find strengths, hobbies, or approaches we like, we can become zealously committed to them. However, just as ignoring our strengths is unwise, implementing them to an extreme can lead to compulsion and neglect of a more balanced lifestyle. Finding moderation in our life can be tricky, but doing so will help establish a sustainable lifestyle, one that is both productive and fulfilling without some of the extreme ups and downs..
#2 Focus on What You Can Control
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
There can be a lot of heartache and challenges in life, yet often we waste our time and energy focusing on those we cannot control. We spend a lot of time fretting over the possible results instead of focusing our energy on what we can control. If you feel overwhelmed, spend a few minutes listing those items occupying your mind, your calendar, and your To-Do list under either the “I Control” or “Other’s Control” column. This should help you reallocate your time and energy and will change your goals to be more inwardly focused on what you can affect.
#3 Practice Self-Compassion
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked.
Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
– Louise Hay
As Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself states, self-esteem is often based on comparing ourselves to others in the hope that we are better than most...lower weight, bigger house, faster car, fancier job title. This is a game we cannot win. This constant drive to be the best breeds a culture of comparison. While competition can be motivating, it can also be self-defeating. We may all want to be the best, As a result, we often overwork ourselves. We may employ less kind or unethical tactics to get ahead, or worse yet we may tear down others so we can leap over them.
Instead, we should aim for self-compassion. As Neff states, “People who are compassionate toward their failings and imperfections experience greater well-being than those who repeatedly judge themselves.” Instead of looking outside for our goals and sense of accomplishment, look inward. Such introspection is in-sync with our natural introvert style.
#4 Seek Impactfulness Rather Than Perfectionism
“Perfectionism is a dream killer,
Because it’s just fear disguised as trying to do your best.”
At work and in life it is easy to aim for perfection. We look at people around us who seem to have a much easier time. As introverts, we gaze upon those that appear to be perfect orators or debaters. However, there is no such thing as perfection. So we should all stop aspiring to that unattainable goal. It sets the bar so high our only option is to fail. Instead, set your own reasonable goals. Work hard to achieve them, celebrate your successes, and learn from your shortfalls. Don’t’ bottle up your voice, your strengths, or your personality. Rather than find yourself frozen by the fear of imperfection, aim to be impactful.
#5 Champion Vulnerability
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.
Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness.”
Vulnerability can elevate our life with a sense of pride. Yet, vulnerability is a very hard mindset to follow with self-confidence because it requires that we step outside our comfort zone, try new things, and share.
Vulnerability invites risk – the risk of being exposed and the risk of failure. If we share personal items such as our own introversion, others will gain insight into a part of our personality that has often wrested below the surface. They may sense insecurities or pain associated with sharing ourselves in such an open way. What if they don’t understand or worse yet what if they mock us?
Everyone may not get it. They may not appreciate your courage in truth. However, to have the strength and sense of authenticity to share a bit of who you are is truly brave. You will strike a strong bond with those who do appreciate the openness. It’s a great opportunity to practice impactfulness over perfectionism.
#6 Provide Positive Reinforcements
“Consistent positive self-talk is unquestionably
one of the greatest gifts to one's subconscious mind.” ― Edmond Mbiaka
We often seek recognition from others…our managers, our peers, our family at home, and even strangers at parties or work meetings. Frankly, recognition is nice from wherever it comes. Introverts may be hesitant to flaunt their accomplishments and actively seek recognition, but we enjoy it nonetheless.
Ironically, introverts can be our own worst critics. We denigrate ourselves – at work (I should have done better, this is not my best work, I talked too fast, I should have spoken up in that meeting) and at home (I could do more, why didn’t I share more, why can’t I relax). If we wrote down words or lines that we say or think to ourselves throughout the day, it would likely read as a long list of mostly negative words and phrases.
This is a good time to remind ourselves that no one is perfect and that we shouldn’t waste energy worrying about things out of our control. Instead, let’s support ourselves through Positive Self Talk. Try saying supportive words of encouragement and recognition rather than beat ourselves up –
I am well prepared and will do great on my presentation
I will lead an engaging, interactive, and productive meeting
I did an awesome job on the research for that project.
Before events, grab a few minutes and envision a successful meeting, networking session, or project presentation. Close your eyes and see yourself performing. Then share words of encouragement out loud or by writing them down. It’s amazing how these simple actions change our mindset. It’s like getting that pat on the back throughout the day.
Journaling is an invaluable resource for introverts. It is quite powerful when you jot down a few words of praise, unload some anxieties, or capture ideas for later. Grab a few minutes when you are unwinding at the end of the day to scribble a few notes. It's a great way to relieve yourself of some burdens, celebrate your successes, and leave your workday behind.
When we embrace the concepts of employing moderation, focus on what we can control, practice self-compassion, seek impactfulness over perfectionism, champion vulnerability, and provide ourselves with positive reinforcement, we become strong, authentic people prepared to stand tall and be proud.
Such a confident mindset helps quell the anxiety that can often become the source of depression and even heart attacks. Statistics may say introverts are three times more likely to become depressed, but we have the power to strike balance in our lives and establish confidence and serenity in our daily mindset.
If you are struggling, reach out for help. Now more than ever, there are many free or inexpensive online resources available now.
#1 Online Depression Counseling Website
Online Anxiety & Depression Help & Treatment
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
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The Questions Introverts Ponder
The Answers Extroverts Need to Hear
Introversion often feels so alone and many of us assume no one else could feel this way. Contained in this book are many of the questions that have been asked, often by introverts trying to understand this personality trait that can at times govern our lives.
Hi Steve! I just wanted to say I'm incredibly thankful that I came across your blog. I currently have your [Q&A] booklet up on my work computer and every single line resonates with me. I've struggled my entire life with introversion, but your guide is helping me realize that I need to embrace it instead of feeling embarrassed! Anyways, your content is awesome and I'm planning on sharing some info with my team. -GK 2/8/2022
I also hear from many introverts struggling to share their introversion with family, friends, and co-workers, either out of fear or just not having the words. I hope this booklet may serve to educate others to better understand the many strengths and talents we have to share.
I hope you will find this booklet an informative read and reference book with a splash of light-heartedness and inspiration as well. I invite you to start with the questions you are most curious about and share from there.
Dispelling Those Voices We've Heard From Others and Ourselves