Highly sensitive introverts are naturally creative — but all their overthinking can muddle their progress.
The last couple years have been tough on all of us. However, I’ve realized that whenever I invest my energy into doing something creative, like writing, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Yet there were (many) days where I felt guilty for not being creative. On those days, all I could do was journal. In retrospect, that was the small step that kept my momentum going toward writing and publishing articles. For you, it may be another creative avenue, like painting or playing an instrument.
Whatever the case may be, here are the key ways I’ve enhanced my creativity as a highly sensitive introvert. Whether you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP), an introvert, or both, I hope they help you, too.
5 Key Ways for Highly Sensitive Introverts to Enhance Their Creativity
1. Trust your inner voice — it knows best.
As introverts, our intrinsic source of motivation is one of our greatest strengths and relevant to many aspects of our lives. From it, we draw our ideas, inspirations, aspirations, principles, and morals to live by and create with.
Yet this can also be a double-edged sword if we’re not careful enough to recognize it. For instance, when a particular idea strikes me, I am overwhelmed with its possibilities — as an introvert, I am an expert overthinker! So then this idea does not seem to translate to the page as I’d envisioned, which makes me second-guess the very idea that initially excited me.
It affects my momentum and pace just when I thought I was in a good rhythm and flow. Then I take a break and do something else, like journal about my frustrations. And then that gets me ready to believe in the potential of that idea above again.
Hence, we need to practice protecting the still, small voice from every internal and external noise that belittles our strength and makes us doubt ourselves. We need to work on eliminating every unhealthy narrative that prompts us to lose confidence in ourselves and just trust our inner voice and intuition instead.
2. Make the most of your energy reserves and act accordingly.
As highly sensitive introverts, we know what types of activities give us energy (reading, meditation, journaling) and which deplete us (socializing, too much time scrolling social media, doing too many things back-to-back).
Over the years, I have learned to journal and pray before I look at any of my digital devices. This way, I ensure my mind is grounded and present. This practice not only recharges me, but also helps me discern the factors that enhance — or stifle — my creative impulses. Our awareness of the supportive habits we put into practice plays a crucial role in enabling us to make the most of our energy levels.
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3. Know your “flow state” ingredients and how you best express your creativity.
What aspects facilitate your “flow state” as you create?
For instance, I prefer to approach the process of writing from a place of internal rest and gratitude. This is because my best work comes out when I can work at my own pace — in a calm environment with calm energy — rather than rushing toward it or being rushed by someone else to get it done. I need the right creative space to maximize my output, and I’m sure you do, too.
I have also realized that when I approach writing from a space of gratitude, rather than feeling forced to do it, I don’t notice how quickly the time goes by. I get into a “flow” and keep on going…
My writing process depends upon the nature of the topics I choose — I let everything out and then later organize and refine my thoughts. As introverts, we’re not just deep thinkers, but also great at planning and organizing, which comes in handy when I’m editing a piece of writing.
So be cognizant of the things that stimulate your flow state — whether it’s your environment, needing to listen to certain music, creating at a certain time of day, and so on — as they vary for each of us.
I take certain steps to access my flow state, like working alone in a room, without any external distractions. If you need some help getting into a flow, try asking yourself the following questions:
- What do you love about this creative pursuit?
- What is your method, and approach, toward it?
- What enhances your flow state? What stifles it?
- What are the boundaries you use to protect, and cultivate, your time around doing it?
- What are your inhibitions around this project?
- What is one small step you can take today to reduce one of these inhibitions?
- What are the small habits you have cultivated, or will cultivate, to reinforce your creativity?
- Do the people in your (creative) inner circle genuinely support you?
I’m sure you can think of more questions to get you thinking, but I hope those helped.
4. Know your thinking patterns.
For me, inspiration and reflection go hand-in-hand. For instance, these past few years have inspired me to reflect on the power of invisibility — the devastating consequences triggered by an invisible virus, as well as my thought patterns, which are also invisible. (I even connected these two ideas and wrote a piece about it, on the significance of maintaining our mental well-being.)
The more we become curious enough to explore and expose ourselves to different areas that interest us, the more we become receptive to new ways of forming ideas and connecting concepts. And since writing is easier for introverts than speaking, write it all down, for you never know when one of your ideas will turn into something more — an article, lyrics for a song, and so on.
5. Surround yourself with other creative people.
I want to be cheerful while I create instead of being anxious or cynical. As author Wilferd Peterson said, “Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”
This quote makes me aware of the types of people I let, and keep, within my inner circle, those who “get” me.
The process of being creative consumes a considerable amount of time and energy, just like any other challenging work. So the more you surround yourself with others who are pursuing creative pursuits, the more inspired you’ll feel. Plus, you can cheer each other on. (And we can all use more of that, right?)
Highly sensitive introverts, what would you add to the list? I’d love to know in the comments!
Is the chaos of the world overwhelming you as a highly sensitive person?
If you’re a sensitive person, you have certain brain differences that make you more susceptible to stress and anxiety. Thankfully there is a way to train your brain so you can navigate the challenges of sensitivity, access your gifts, and thrive. Psychotherapist and sensitivity expert Julie Bjelland will show you how in her popular online course, HSP Brain Training. Click here to learn more.
You might like:
- How to Maximize Your Natural Creativity as an Introvert
- Why Introverts Need “Creative Space”
- 7 ‘Rules’ for Sensitive Introverts to Protect Their Energy
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