Stress is a reality of life for both introverts and extroverts. Regardless of which camp best characterizes you, it’s not a question of whether you experience stress, but rather how you manage it. And introverts and extroverts tend to manage their stress differently.
What’s most important in sorting out these differences is to understand the core distinction between introverts and extroverts. Contrary to what most think, introverts typically like people. But, they have a need to pull back after awhile and recharge by reflecting and resting. In contrast, being with people energizes extroverts. They need less reflection time and seem to recharge by being active and engaged. Neither personality type is better than the other. Each simply handles stress differently.
Introverts – healthy ways to manage stress by:
- Recognizing your limits and giving yourself permission to pull back from contact with others when you feel a need to do so
- Journaling your thoughts and feelings to help make sense of what’s going on inside
- Meditating on a regular basis to find that inner peace and calm
- Practicing spiritual disciplines, such as reading sacred texts or prayer
Extroverts – healthy ways to manage stress by:
- Enjoying an outing with family or friends
- Participating in games or group activities such as volleyball, bowling, etc.
- Doing something novel such as trying new ethnic foods
- Giving yourself permission to stop, unwind, and do nothing for awhile
Stress can have a detrimental effect on both introverts and extroverts. It’s really a question of whether both personality types pay attention to their own needs and choose to manage their stress in ways that coincide with those needs.
Gary Gilles, Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor