In the past, people often associate being introverted as a form of behavioural defect when really, introverts just operate differently from extroverts. According to psychologist, Jonathan Cheek, who teaches personality psychology at Wellesley College, there are 4 types of introverts — social, thinking, anxious and restrained. Cheek further argues that many introverts are actually a combination of all of the 4 types — instead of identifying as just one of the types.
As an introvert, it’s essential for you to identify and then accept your form of introversion to further understand the workings of your mind — help you cope better with your daily life — as you make your introversion your superpower.
#1. Social introvert
Social introverts are often misconstrued as shy and timid in social settings but that’s not always the truth. If you happen to be a social introvert, it just means that you prefer to be alone at home or only go out with your select few of best buddies rather than partying with a large crowd of people. Being around people does not necessarily trigger your anxiety. You merely revel the comfort of your solitude and would choose to stay home with your nose in a book.
Self-care tips for social introverts:
- Embrace your introverted nature that requires you to take some alone time to charge your energy.
- Don’t overexert yourself at an event just to make others happy.
- Always allocate some time away from all the noise after a long day of events.
- Always keep in touch with your family or a small group of friends who understands and accepts you for the way you are.
#2. Thinking introvert
Are you often deep in your thoughts, wondering about life and analysing yourself? As a thinking introvert, you don’t avert social situations and don’t mind the presence of other people. You’re an introvert in a sense that you have a rich inner life, always pensive and introspective; especially after having read a book or watched a movie. You reflect on how you feel and delight in your make-believe world, losing yourself in your dreamy imagination.
Self-care tips for thinking introverts:
- Make time and space to reflect on your thoughts and emotions (e.g. journaling). Pursue your hobbies and creativity by developing a schedule you can follow.
- Leverage on your strength, venture into a career that is perfect for introverts like you.
- As you’re always deep in your thoughts, don’t lose touch with reality — build meaningful relationships to keep you inspired!
#3. Anxious introvert
In contrast to social introverts, anxious introverts purposely isolate themselves to avoid the social spotlight, especially the unfamiliar ones. You feel awkward and painfully self-conscious around people as you may not be confident (or comfortable) with your social skills. However, being alone doesn’t reduce your anxiety as you will still brood over what might have gone wrong or how you could have done things differently — even after the event.
Self-care tips for anxious introverts:
- Take note of situations that make you anxious and read up on ways and methods you can use to manage your anxiety.
- Prioritise your well-being by exercising, getting a balanced diet and practising mindfulness.
- This may be tough, but always remember that in the end, things will be all right — even if it’s not, it’s not the end.
- Open up to family and close friends for support and reassurance. Alternatively, you may also seek professional advice from your school counsellor, therapist, medical doctor or even a psychiatrist.
#4. Restrained introvert
Restrained introverts prefer to “think before they speak”. If you’re a restrained introvert, which is a lesser-known form of introversion, you’re unlikely to feel energised the moment you wake up. Rather, you need to take your time to warm up, gather your thoughts and observe before you can speak or act. Hence, you tend to shy away from spontaneous situations and are very careful when making decisions.
Self-care tips for restrained introverts:
- Allocate additional time in the mornings so that you have sufficient time to get ready and not get overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the day.
- Spend some me-time towards the end of the day perhaps with a cup of decaffeinated tea to unwind and de-stress.
- When communicating your ideas, take your time to organise your thoughts before you begin. Be sure to slow down and take little pauses in between — or take a deep breath, if you have to.
- Cultivate an introvert-friendly lifestyle to reduce stress and avoid isolating yourself from your family and close friends.
Now that you’ve identified your type of introversion, charge forward and seize the day! Remember to embrace your true self and learn to be comfortable in your introverted skin. If you’re going to be stuck with it for the rest of your life — might as well live it comfortably.