6 Healthy Ways to Process Emotions as an Introvert

Processing emotions in a healthy way looks very different when you’re an introvert. Where extroverts may vent and confide in others or go to therapy, introverts can be more at risk of keeping things in. So we have to have strategies and coping skills to allow us to process our feelings too. Here are 6 techniques that any introvert can use to process and move through emotions, and can even help you move to more positive emotions.

1. Quiet time. While someone outgoing can feel replenished by talking with others, it’s draining to an introvert. Quiet time, and especially meditation can help you to recharge your battery and feel refreshed, especially if you have a job or other situations on a daily basis that require you to be social.

Meditation isn’t nearly as complicated or hard as you might think. Just sitting in a quiet place and clearing your mind of thoughts is a form of meditation – no need to chant or repeat a mantra necessary. If you are experiencing negative emotions, clearing your mind and shifting to no emotion will provide you great relief. And if you find sitting and meditating challenging, take a nap!

2. Journaling. It’s so important to have an outlet to express how we feel. Journaling is a great and safe way to release and process our thoughts and feelings. Not only is journaling amazing for releasing and sharing the things that have happened to us, it is a good way to help us create and plan for what’s ahead.

When you’re journaling, a great technique is to make a list of positive aspects. Whatever you’re having negative feelings about, try shifting to thinking of positive qualities about that topic or individual and it will provide you with relief. There aren’t many concepts that don’t have positive aspects.

If that seems too difficult, or you’re too upset to write on that topic, consider making a general list of positive aspects – things that are going really well in your life or things that you are grateful for. Sometimes you’ll find you need to completely change the subject to feel some relief.

3. Get outdoors. When emotions are getting the better of you, there is no better distractor than Mother Nature. Taking a short walk or just standing outside and watching the clouds move across the sky or the trees blow in the breeze will soothe you and calm you. Grounding is effective too. If the weather is nicer, try taking a barefoot stroll: this is grounding. It shifts your energy and can be very relaxing.

4. Tap into your five senses. By tapping into one or more of your five senses you can calm yourself pretty quickly. Take a deep breath, and if you’re at home, feel the texture of a nearby blanket or fabric. If you’re at work, feel the smooth surface of your desktop or workspace. If you’re driving, just feel the texture of your steering wheel with your fingertips. Have a healthy snack or a drink of water. Turn on one of your favorite songs, or sometimes it’s helpful to turn the music off and listen to the air conditioning or heating unit which may sound like white noise. Look around you and notice your surroundings. Tapping into your five senses may sound simple, but it forces you to be present and stops the momentum of your worry or concern.

5. Self-care. Indulge in a form of self-care. For you, maybe that’s a relaxing bath, getting your nails done, or making yourself a cup of tea. Do whatever you know brings you peace and calms you.

6. Get crafty and be creative. Creativity is one of the best outlets we have available to us. Whether it’s creating art, music, writing, or maybe a craft like knitting or baking, it gives us a way to express ourselves and in the act of creation we feel a sense of renewal. You may or may not consider yourself to be artistic, but regardless of that, you will find that expressing yourself and making something new will force you to be present and be in the here and now.

In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’s character Maria sings “My Favorite Things,” where she recounts the things that bring her joy, and help her cope when she is down, and to her list I would add all of the above. I hope this list inspires you and brings you hope, calming and peace.

introvert · wisdom

Stop sharing your story with people who haven’t earned the right to hear it.

Introverts, this one is for you. If you are like me and surrounded by a world of pushy extroverts who don’t understand your need for quiet and privacy, read on.

Have you ever over-shared? I catch myself doing it more often than I would like.

I commonly have people ask me about things going on in my life because I do lead a pretty interesting and different life, but I am private and shy. But I end up spilling the beans on the regular, and then as the person asks me more and more questions, I can become agitated, feeling more and more uncomfortable sharing things I never intended to.

I can begin to feel cornered or trapped, like I can’t get away or like the conversation will never end.

Or, worse, my opinion often differs greatly from the majority, so when I do share, I feel uncomfortable as the interrogator lets me know quickly they don’t agree with me.

Even worse, when someone you know to be a gossip or who doesn’t have your best interest at heart, comes along and grills you. Um no. My heart starts racing and I get the feeling that I need to beat it out of there.

Recently, someone asked me about something going on in my life, and I didn’t want to share. But I felt obligated to, because I couldn’t think of how to say that I didn’t want to without coming across as rude.

If this has ever been your experience, since then I’ve come up with ten polite replies for those moments when you are asked to share but don’t want to.

1. “I wish I could chat, but I have to be (insert where you need to be) right now. Maybe we can talk later.”

2. “I’d rather not say if that’s ok.”

3. “You’re so sweet to ask, but that’s not something I can share right now.”

4. “That is still under way. I appreciate you asking.”

5. Repeat back their question to them: “I understand you want to know (insert question here). I get why you might be curious. I would be too.”  I like this response because it forces them to hear their own words and sometimes they will even retract, realizing that it is prying.

6. Just say, “isn’t that interesting?”

7. Do you have one of those “friends” who seems to enjoy your difficulties because it makes them feel better about themselves? Once you catch onto this,  just tell them “all is well now” about whatever drama they hope for you to elaborate on.

8. Do you have one of those “friends” who will take what you share and spread it to anyone who will listen in a heartbeat? Just distance yourself when you see them coming your way. Your mom was right when she gave you the advice, just walk away.

9. Do you have one of those “friends” who will use what you share to tear you down in order to build themselves up? You need Distance. You have no obligation to share anything with anyone. When someone has proven disloyalty time and again, this is toxic to you and ties need to be severed. You have to set boundaries to protect yourself.

10. Tell them you can’t. If you want to keep your peace, and do what feels best, you’re telling them the truth when you say you can’t share. You can’t afford to share something that feels off to you. Never let someone push you into something you don’t feel comfortable doing, including conversation.