Inhale Exhale. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Well+Good tapped some of our favorite health and wellness leaders to create the Mental Wellness Challenge, a 31-day action plan to help you trust yourself, deal with stress, thrive at work, and introduce yourself to your community.
Specific facets of someone’s personality can shed light on how they might react to stressful situations. For example, a Leo zodiac sign and an Aquarius may have completely different stress responses. There are also other personality frameworks to figure out how someone handles stress, such as introverts vs. extraverts.
That said, introverts and extroverts are not monolithic and actually quite nuanced. For example, it is entirely possible to be a shy or anxious extrovert or a social introvert. “People tend to think that introverts don’t like to socialize as much as extroverts, but that’s not always the most accurate way to look at it,” says psychotherapist Aimee Daramus, PsyD. “It’s more about what drains you and what gives you energy.”
So while introverts and extroverts may have different respective processes for practicing effective self-care in coping with stressors, the stress itself will be largely the same for both types of people, says Dr. Daramus. Both of you may be experiencing job stressors, relationship problems, or an everyday inconvenience, like your car breaking down.
Stress looks the same for introverts and extroverts, but relieving it is different for and within each group.
However, how introverts and extroverts best relieve that stress can vary, and being able to better help yourself requires a certain amount of attention. “Knowing yourself and beginning to care for yourself based on your unique characteristics and needs, such as introversion and extroversion, can lead to a clearer plan of action,” says Katie Fracalanza, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. at Stanford University. .
To that end, read on to find out how introverts and extroverts can manage stress, respectively, for optimal wellness, according to Dr. Daramus and Dr. Fracalanza.
How introverts are better prepared to deal with stress
Because introverts get energized by spending time alone, they often get stressed when they have to be around people, especially if they don’t feel like it. “No matter how much fun they’re having, an introvert will burn out socializing, just like, no matter how good of a workout they’re getting, they’ll eventually tire,” says Dr. Daramus.
To deal with this stress, Dr. Daramus and Dr. Fracalanza recommend incorporating activities that allow you some time alone into your regular schedule. “Maybe you just want to watch TV alone in his room, or maybe you want to get out in nature, do crafts by yourself, spend time with your animals, or listen to music,” says Dr. Daramus. “It’s really about noticing what types of alone time feel best for you.”
Dr. Daramus adds that a common problem introverts face is feeling guilty about not spending time with loved ones. However, if you to know you are an introvert, Dr. Fracalanza suggests explaining to your loved ones that need Alone time to be your best self. This can be challenging because you don’t want to say no to other people’s invitations, but for your own good, you may have to do it from time to time. How, you might ask?
“It might seem like telling friends and loved ones, ‘Hey, I really need my recharge time. I need my ‘me’ time,” says Dr. Fracalanza. “Communicating that need is key so that friends and loved ones don’t take it personally if an introvert isn’t at every event.” Worried about how that conversation might go? Dr. Fracalanza adds that family and friends tend to be supportive once they understand your needs. Instead of taking it personally, like you don’t want to spend time with them, they will come to understand that you need that recharge time.
How extroverts can find effective stress relief
When it comes to dealing with stress and relieving it, an extrovert’s process is quite the opposite of an introvert’s, says Dr. Daramus. “Even extroverts need time alone sometimes, but also a lot of time alone wears them out, because that socializing, that being with other people, is what really restores them,” she says.
Consider how the lockdown phase of the pandemic affected extroverts, in particular. “That lack of face-to-face stimulation and connection was really difficult for a lot of my outgoing clients,” says Dr. Fracalanza. “It is understandable, because that need to recharge in company, to physically connect, was not being met.”
So when an extrovert is stressed, they may want to surround themselves with other people to manage those feelings. And that can seem like one of several different situations. “You may be the type of extrovert who prefers a quiet game night or a night where you and your friends sit down and talk,” says Dr. Daramus. “There are different flavors of social life, so one of the most important things for extroverts is to notice what kinds of attention, company, and people are best for them when they’re stressed.”
Remember that it is not preferable to be an introvert to be an extrovert, and vice versa. Regardless of where you are on that continuum, you can work to adapt your stress-relieving self-care practices to what actually replenishes you.
Oh hello! You sound like someone who loves free workouts, discounts on cutting-edge wellness brands, and exclusive Well+Good content. Sign up for Well+, our online community of wellness experts, and unlock your rewards instantly.