When your emotional health is strong, difficult emotions like anxiety and stress no longer have the power to derail your day.
We introverts are good at many things. We can be amazing listeners, fantastic writers, and have an incredible sense of humor, just to name a few of our positive qualities.
However, as an introvert myself, one thing that I struggle with is maintaining my own emotional health and wellbeing. While we introverts are known for being self-aware, we may be reluctant to ask for help, preferring to keep our emotions to ourselves. The problem is, when our emotional wellbeing is off, it can hurt how we show up in our daily lives.
What Is Emotional Wellbeing?
If you’re unsure of what emotional wellbeing is, The National Center for Emotional Wellness defines it as an awareness, understanding, and acceptance of our feelings and our ability to cope with challenges and change effectively.
In other words, emotional wellbeing – or your emotional health – is about not letting painful emotions such as anxiety, fear, sadness, and loneliness derail you. It’s about being able to deal with your emotions without letting them completely overpower or control you. It’s about coping with overwhelming situations, making decisions in a timely manner, and staying on task even when you’re in a distracting environment.
When you’re mindful of your emotional wellbeing, you gain a deeper understanding of yourself. You are not as easily thrown off balance by challenges that come your way. Knowing how you react to a situation and why you do what you do gives you a sense of control, and as introverts, we tend to enjoy feeling in control.
Emotional wellness is as vital to our wellbeing as taking care of our physical health. So, here are nine ways to improve your emotional health as an introvert.
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How to Improve Your Emotional Health as an Introvert
1. Reduce stress through meditation.
Ignoring stress doesn’t make it disappear. The feelings may retreat and weaken, but they are still there, ready to build up again. Stress isn’t good for your body, mind, and emotions. When you’re in a state of stress, you may take a fairly benign experience and amp it up until you feel like you’re going to explode.
One of the best things you can do to combat stress is to meditate. When we introverts think a million thoughts at once, it may feel impossible to focus our attention and think clearly. Meditation can help you regulate your emotions, reinforce mental resilience, and bolster your emotional strength.
When you’re in a deep state of relaxation, your mind becomes calm, and your physical and emotional states begin to stabilize.
Meditation allows you to concentrate on your breathing — another key to having emotional wellness. Deep breaths replace shallow ones, as you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, and you feel the calming rhythms of conscious breathing.
If you’re already practicing meditation, keep doing it — it’s so good for you! If you haven’t started a mediation practice, check out a free online meditation course or app. All it takes is a few moments, a little practice, and before long, you’ll wonder how you got by without it.
2. Move your body in a way that’s fun for you.
While some people enjoy going to a gym to work their bodies, it’s not the only way you can exercise. Make it a fun activity, because if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to make a habit of it.
If running the same route every day has lost its appeal, join a hiking meet-up group. As introverts, we’re not always comfortable introducing ourselves to strangers, so a group based on your hobbies and interests is a way to meet people with whom you already have something in common. You can enjoy being outside and moving your body while stepping a bit out of your comfort zone.
What about jumping rope, hosting a dance party, or doing hula hooping in the park? Or playing pickleball or taking water boxing classes? The goal is to get your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing, which will make you feel good and improve your emotional health.
Doing volunteer work is a win-win situation. By helping other people, you help yourself, and for an afternoon, you do something for others, too. Volunteering can help you forget about your own problems for a while, and when you aren’t fixated on your own stressors, it’s amazing how good you can feel.
Like with exercise, don’t pick the first volunteer opportunity that comes up — unless you are excited about it. There are too many options to list, but some personal favorites of mine are working the phones for a local political candidate, visiting the elderly, petting kittens and puppies at an animal rescue shelter, mentoring a child, helping the unhoused, or reading stories to kids at your local library.
4. Keep an emotion-processing journal.
Any kind of journaling or writing down of your thoughts will be healthy for you, especially if you’re an introvert. However, an emotion-processing journal can be super helpful specifically for your emotional wellbeing. Think of it as a science experiment that helps you to observe your thought and emotion patterns and why and how they change. This practice will provide you with deeper insight into yourself and your emotions, and it will help you see what habits, patterns, or relationships aren’t working for you. Here’s how to do it:
- In a journal or journal app, make five columns.
- Label column one Situation or Case. Write what’s bothering you at the moment. An example: You forgot a friend’s birthday and you can’t brush off the feeling that you’ve failed your friend.
- Label column two Resulting Feeling. What are the emotions the situation has caused? Note them here. Remember, this journal is for you and you alone — no one else needs to see it. Maybe you’re convinced that the friend whose birthday you forgot is furious with you.
- Column Three is Current Thoughts. Thoughts aren’t the same as feelings, so be truthful and write your thoughts about the situation. Maybe you’re feeling worried and upset that your friendship is in danger.
- Column Four is Misconceptions. We all have illusions about how we wish we had behaved and felt, so here’s an opportunity to break through the fantasy and look critically (but without malice) at your beliefs. Look for things that don’t add up or make sense in your current reality. For example, is forgetting your friend’s birthday really reason enough for her to want to end the friendship?
- Column Five is Truth. Think about a more realistic result of forgetting a birthday. You could wish her a belated Happy Birthday or do something fun on another day and stretch out her celebration to a week.
With this journaling practice, over time, you’ll discover so much about your emotions and how to deal with them more effectively. Plus, you’ll develop more self-awareness, especially regarding your emotions.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
5. Create a strong foundation for your day by establishing a routine.
Creating a schedule is a great way to ensure a better work/life balance, as long as you make sure to block out downtime for yourself and your own projects. By setting a routine, you give yourself space to set goals and avoid procrastination — and often introverts draw comfort from established patterns. A routine also allows you to have enough space to adjust your schedule to unexpected events without stressing about them too much.
One of the benefits of having a routine is it takes some of the anxiety out of your day. You have a good idea of what you’ll be doing and when, so you don’t have to panic about trying to fit everything in.
You can be present and aware of what’s happening around you and within you. You may have a routine, but you’re not on auto-pilot, so you’re able to react to what is happening in the now.
6. Let go of your emotional scoreboard.
Grudges and revenge don’t serve anybody. By holding onto them, all you do is hurt yourself. If there’s someone who harmed you in some way or who makes you furious when you think of them, keeping those negative feelings will only damage your sense of emotional wellbeing — you have to find a way to let it go. Otherwise grudges will burn you from the inside out.
Remember, it’s not up to you to teach someone a lesson or enact your own justice. Holding a grudge can cause you to hang on to tension so you never feel truly relaxed or at peace. As an introvert, it may feel simpler to internalize your negative feelings rather than to talk to the person who hurt you, but that’s not the case. The best thing you can do is express your feelings, listen to what the other person has to say, and try to come to a place of forgiveness for the both of you.
Forgiveness is an extremely powerful emotion. When you learn to forgive yourself and others, you free yourself from the negativity that goes along with grudges, vengeance, and bitterness. Forgiveness allows us to be present and open to change, joy, and freedom.
Then, for next time, here’s how to set better boundaries when you’re a peace-loving introvert.
7. Stop giving change the power to derail you.
Change can be hard for introverts, who value routine and familiarity, but that doesn’t mean we can’t handle it. Being able to adjust and recalibrate when something doesn’t go as planned is a fantastic skill to develop within yourself. If you can think on your feet and come up with an answer to a problem quickly and without anxiety, then you have a powerful set of tools that will take you far in life.
When someone is emotionally healthy and can recover faster from challenges that come their way, then they are resilient and powerful.
8. Strengthen your relationships.
As introverts, we tend to have few friends, but that doesn’t mean those relationships don’t need care. As comfortable as we may be on our own, even introverts need a support system.
There are people who support you, inspire you to chase your dreams, and are always there when you need them — these people are rare and special, so show them just how much you care for them. Ask for help when you need it and freely give it when they need help. Step out of your introvert comfort zone from time to time to do loving things for them, like learning a new game they like to play or tasting their favorite dish. Cultivate new relationships but treasure the ones you have.
9. Disconnect from people who hurt you.
It’s easy to say that you should cut all the toxic people out of your life, but in practice, it’s not that simple. If it’s a family member or a coworker, you may not have a choice in whether they’re in your life or not. However, you can limit your interactions with them and not let their toxicity invade your thoughts.
Toxic people tend to push our buttons and seem to enjoy getting a negative reaction out of us, but they can’t do that if we don’t give them the satisfaction of responding to them.
Emotional wellbeing isn’t something that only affects our emotions; it influences everything in our lives, from our thought processes to how we handle unexpected challenges. If you’ve been ignoring your emotional health for a while, start by becoming more mindful of what you’re feeling, how you react, and what you think you could improve.
You might like:
- 5 Signs You’re in a Codependent Relationship as an Introvert or a Sensitive Person
- I Thought I Was Broken. Then I Learned I’m an Introvert.
- Why Do Introverts Love Being Alone? Here’s the Science
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