How Sensitive Introverts Can Find Peace in the Chaos

An introvert feels at peace by petting her cat

The world can feel overwhelming, but you deserve time for yourself, even when it seems like you don’t have time to spare.

I’m 19 years old, and as a highly sensitive introvert, a digital native, and a fellow human being, I know what it’s like to feel increasingly overwhelmed by the news, media, school, what your friends are doing on the weekend (FOMO is real!), and the constant pressure to present a glowing, pristine self-image to everyone who has the pleasure of knowing you, along with body image issues, and those sneaky, irrational fears about the future that keep you tossing and turning in your bed at night… I’d go on, but you get the point.

We’re living in a chaotic, turbulent world, and let’s be real, it’s not easy, especially for those of us who would prefer it to be slower, quieter, and more suited to the intrinsic needs we possess as introverts. Even those among us who seem to be handling it well have it rough sometimes.

We young adults are already so vulnerable to everything around us — we’re in a messy, confusing phase, learning to be independent, and expected to blossom into mature adults overnight. When you add introversion to the mix, well, let’s just say it can be hard not to lose yourself in a world that is constantly telling you, in covert ways, that who you are is “not entirely okay,” “flawed,” or just plain “unacceptable.”

Trust me, I’ve felt it — I’ve felt all of it. But as a highly sensitive introvert, here are some ways in which I protect (and preserve) my mental peace, and ways in which you can protect and preserve yours, too.

(Are you a highly sensitive person? Here are 27 “strange” things highly sensitive people do.)

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How to Create Inner Peace as a Highly Sensitive Introvert

1. Ask yourself why you’re using so many social media platforms.

Really, get to the root of it. Are you using these platforms because everybody else is? Because you’re lonely? Because you feel like your presence in the world needs to be constantly validated, and that you would cease to exist if it wasn’t?

While some introverts genuinely enjoy social media and find it helpful, others have stopped using it altogether.

If social media is making you miserable, you need to take a step back and try to figure out why. If you’re addicted to these platforms, some soul-searching is necessary. Reducing your time on social media may be challenging, so if you’re struggling, I would urge you to do a detox. This will help break the “instant gratification” circuit in your brain.

During your detox, immerse yourself in offline activities that engage you and make you feel good about yourself. Do things that add value to the world, and use this time to build a stronger sense of self. Pursuing hobbies outside of work is healthy! You can learn to play an instrument, start hiking, or engage in some “culinary therapy.” 

(Speaking of hobbies, here’s why introverts should take up new, random hobbies.)

Once you feel better, you can consider reusing social platforms… if you really want to. (But you might realize you haven’t really missed them!) If and when you do go back, it’ll be easier to regulate and limit your use, and finally embrace digital minimalism.

2. Take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.

When I talk about self-care, I mean everything from applying charcoal face masks to healing your emotional wounds. As an introvert, you deserve to “water your own garden,” so to speak, and to take time for yourself, even when it feels like there’s no time to spare.

Yes, you’re undoubtedly busy. But remember, your mental and emotional health are foundational pillars that enable you to do everything else in your life, and compromising them isn’t an option.

Investing in yourself can mean a variety of things, and there are no strict rules here. It might involve feeding your intellectual curiosity, striving to make the world a better place, investing in your art, music, or culinary talents — whatever resonates with you. Invest in activities that recharge you and make you feel alive, and remember, they don’t necessarily have to involve other people.

In fact, for many introverts, ritual is their most important form of self-care. Here’s why.

3. Consider what actually matters to you.

Pause for a moment. Do you know what you want, and more importantly, why you want it? Are your reasons for wanting it solid? Are you pursuing it because you’ve been conditioned to believe it’s desirable, or because it fills a void or influences how others perceive you?

Being more aware of the reasons behind your desires can make a significant difference. If you realize your motives are superficial or inauthentic, you have the power to change your desires.

Finding purpose is particularly important when you’re an introvert or a highly sensitive person. As Jenn Granneman writes in Sensitive, “many sensitive people feel the need for meaningful work so strongly that they organize their entire lives around finding it.” So, it’s crucial to dig deep and figure out what truly matters to you.

Is the chaos of life overwhelming you as a highly sensitive person?

Sensitive people have certain brain differences that make them 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 in life. Psychotherapist and sensitivity expert Julie Bjelland will show you how in her popular online course, HSP Brain Training. As an Introvert, Dear reader, you can take 50% off the registration fee using the code INTROVERTDEARClick here to learn more.

4. Eliminate any “noise” that compromises your mental health.

Stop buying newspapers and listening to news on the radio if you find they’re severely affecting your mental health. Remember, this is within your control, and you’re not obliged to be constantly updated on world events.

As a highly sensitive introvert, the negativity from the news can linger with you long after you’ve turned it off. It can also heighten your anxiety and stress levels, which you probably already experience enough of due to daily overstimulation.

Additionally, work on limiting other forms of “noise” — like gossip, comparison, and the judgments others make about you. I know it’s challenging, but strive to stay in your own lane and walk your own path as much as you can.

5. Prioritize what’s important to you and forget about everything else.

You should never feel guilty for wanting to skip social events. There have been countless times when I’ve felt pressured to conform — to attend every party, pretend to have a great time, post pictures online, and make it seem like I’m having the time of my life. Usually, the reality was quite the opposite.

Fellow introverts, trust me when I say, don’t fall into this trap. If you’re not a party person, first of all, welcome to the club. Secondly, consider what you’re truly trying to accomplish by engaging in activities that don’t resonate with your authentic self. If you’re attending just because everyone else is, or because you want to be seen as “more outgoing,” I assure you, it’s not necessary.

The right people will recognize, see, and appreciate you for exactly who you are — your splendid, introverted self. You won’t need to change anything about yourself for these people to value and want you in their lives.

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