How Introverts Can Stay Calm in a Stressful World

A calm introvert in a stressful world

The more authentic we are in our introversion, the calmer we will feel.

“Terrance, how in the world can you be so calm?”

This is a question that I’ve grown accustomed to hearing after close to 19 years of working in the fast-paced, constantly-changing aerospace and defense industry. 

However, the people who asked me this question were often unaware of a little secret. On many days, my outside demeanor appeared to be relaxed. Yet, internally, my thoughts were scattered with questions such as: 

What happens if I miss my deadline today?

If I miss my deadline today, there won’t be enough time to recover.

I’m going to lose the trust of my teammates if I don’t get this done.

And many more…

If this thought pattern sounds similar, it could be because you’re an overthinker like me. As introverts, our tendency to engage in deep thought can benefit us in many ways, ranging from our ability to connect with others to our capacity for contemplating and birthing unique ideas. At the same time, though, if we’re not careful, our thoughts can lead us down a path of overthinking, which can result in worry — or even stress

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Learning How to Intentionally Stay Calm

I spent several years thinking that something was “wrong” with me, due to my introversion, and thinking that I had to change who I was to fit societal norms around being social and outgoing. Those thoughts alone caused me to question myself often, to doubt my abilities, and to feel anything but calm on the inside. That was until I learned how to face my internal issues head-on through intentional calmness. 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines “calm” as a state of tranquility or “freedom from agitation, excitement, or disturbance.” It’s what we feel when everyone else around us is running around with their hair on fire, worried about what to do next, and we remain composed. It’s staying focused and adaptable when plans are redirected and shift within minutes. 

Focusing on our ability to remain calm can be challenging but incredibly freeing in these intense moments. Here are three things we can do as introverts to start embracing calm and reducing stress in our lives.

3 Ways Introverts Can Stay Calm in a Stressful World

1. Honor your introversion.

For us introverts, the need to recharge our energy is real! While extroverts gain energy from social interaction, too much interaction can deplete and exhaust us introverts. 

Unfortunately, in attempts to get ahead in our careers or businesses, some of us may engage socially at a level beyond what’s genuinely comfortable for us. Now, let me be clear: I believe that a person’s ability to stretch themselves and try new experiences is essential for overall growth.

The trouble comes when we, as introverts, find ourselves constantly working in group settings and never setting aside time to work alone. Or when we’ve been invited to numerous social functions and choose to attend more than we would like — even though our social battery is drained. 

In these situations, we must recognize who we are and honor that. Of course, it may sound cliché to say “Be yourself” or “Be authentic,” but it is also one of the hardest things for many people to do. The truth is, the more authentic we are in our introversion — and confident in our ability to remain who we are — the calmer we will feel.

2. Let go of what you can’t control. 

Sometimes, the things we worry about the most aren’t even real dangers. Thinking about negative scenarios that could happen in our professional or personal lives can lead us down a rabbit hole of thoughts. But, in reality, we’ve created these scenarios in our heads, where we picture the absolute worst outcome. 

Here’s the truth: We can’t always control what will happen. We may think that we can, but we can’t. 

Now, of course, there are things we can control, like how much effort we put into our jobs or businesses every day, or the amount of attention we give to our friends and family. So, our daily actions can impact how a particular situation turns out.

But sometimes our actions won’t make much difference in a particular situation. Coming to the realization that we’re not in control isn’t a bad thing. It helps us to stop feeling pressured to get everything right, to embrace our current reality, and to let go. Once this weight is lifted, we will feel lighter and more calm.

3. Purposely do things that bring you joy and peace.

With the constant busyness of life — juggling the demands of a career or a business, spending time with loved ones, and managing the long list of responsibilities we have as adults — it can become easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Many of us rarely make time to look after the person in the mirror.

This can harm us, especially in the long run. Over time, going at a fast pace — without taking enough time to unplug — can increase our stress, eventually leading to complete burnout, which introverts may be more prone to. This is why regular self-care is so important.

So, think of two or three things you enjoy doing, things that bring you a sense of peace and joy. When I’m working at home, for example, and just finished a tense meeting, I may go for a walk around the block in my neighborhood. The feeling of the wind blowing, the sound of birds chirping, and the smell of fresh air do something to reinvigorate my spirit. All of this from a two-minute walk! That’s because I love nature and enjoy being outside. 

What does self-care look like for you? Maybe it’s reading a book, going to a local coffee shop, practicing meditation, or watching your favorite movie. Whatever it is, finding the necessary time for self-care helps us to unplug and calm our nerves.  

Ultimately, calmness is powerful because it is something we can choose. Each one of us can face our stressors and approach them with a different perspective.

So the next time you feel overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, remember to take a step back and quiet the noise.

Want to grab a free copy of the first chapter of my book, THE CALM EFFECT? Click here to download your copy today.

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