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 knack for perfectionism, and our penchant 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.
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.
#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 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 our own reasonable goals. Work hard to achieve them, celebrate our successes, and learn from our 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 and try new things.
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 our courage in truth. However, to have the strength and sense of authenticity to share a bit of who we 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 our 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 a strong, authentic person 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.
Every time I see the online thesaurus synonyms for introvert, I steam..."recluse, hermit, loner, shrinking violet!" So I've decided to do something about it. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, join me in petitioning the online thesaurus to update their listing for introvert. Click the button to leave your name today. I am building our petition in partnership with Introvert, Dear. I hope you will join us in righting this wrong!
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