When you’re an introvert living in an extrovert’s world, it’s easy to get thrown off balance. Luckily, there are tried and true habits that mentally strong introverts use to stay on track. Because here’s the thing.
We introverts get overwhelmed by things that extroverts thrive on. They crave the buzz of constant socializing, and busyness. Meanwhile, the chaotic pace of modern life makes us introverts want to hide under a blanket all day. Not only that …
The demands of daily life can turn our mind to mush. We come home after a long day feeling mentally exhausted and defeated. It’s tough to have a resilient mindset when you’re constantly battling introvert overwhelm. Thankfully, there is a better way.
Developing the habits of mentally strong introverts can mean the difference between limping through existence like a battered old street dog, and feeling a sense of confidence and control over your life. I should know.
I’m an introvert myself. And I’ve been on this earth long enough (32 years now) to understand that our mind is one of the few things we have control over. This is good news for introverts, who spend a whole lot of time prancing through our vast mental landscapes.
The tricky part is knowing how to stay mentally strong no matter what daily challenges we face. It turns out that habits and mindsets have a whole lot to do with it. That’s why I’m revealing …
The 10 habits of mentally strong introverts
“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” — Thomas Jefferson
1. They prioritize alone time
By now most people know that introverts need alone time — and plenty of it. And yet, many introverts still struggle to prioritize their alone time. Mentally strong introverts understand and honor their need for solitude — and they are happier for it! Eric Klinenberg, author of Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, explains why alone time is so important:
“There is something very liberating for people about being on their own. They’re able to establish some control over the way they spend their time. They’re able to decompress at the end of a busy day in a city…and experience a feeling of freedom.”
Introverts who are mentally strong see their need for alone time as a natural and healthy part of who they are. In other words, they don’t feel guilty about it. Which brings me to my next point.
2. They don’t feel guilty about their needs
Mentally strong introverts know that their needs are different than those of an extrovert. They don’t beat themselves up about it. Instead of feeling guilty about their quiet, solitude-loving nature, they embrace who they are without judgment.
3. They have a growth mindset
Mentally strong introverts have what Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success calls a “growth mindset”. A person with a growth mindset is focused on the process of learning, rather than the product. Such a person isn’t driven by dollar signs or certificates. They are interested in the experiences that expand their mind and soul.
With a growth mindset, mistakes are a natural part of the journey. Mentally strong introverts don’t dwell on wrong turns, but instead see each misstep as an opportunity to learn and grow.
4. They set healthy boundaries
Mentally strong introverts know how to set healthy boundaries. They tell their loved ones when they need space. They might also set boundaries surrounding their time, energy, and social calendar. And they don’t feel bad about it.
Introverts who are mentally strong see that setting healthy boundaries helps improve their relationships, and overall happiness.
5. They focus on their strengths
I’m a strong believer that introverts can do anything that extroverts can do. Often we can do it better; However, there are some things that may come more naturally to us as individuals.
Mentally strong introverts don’t waste time focusing on their limitations. Instead, they focus their precious energy toward building on their natural strengths.
“[I]ntroversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.” — Susan Cain
6. They pursue success on their own terms
Mentally strong introverts know that success is theirs to define. They don’t waste time trying to mould themselves into what their friends, family, and neighbours see as the definition of success. They use their values, dreams, and passions as their compass on the winding road toward fulfillment and happiness.
Personally, I really identify with Maya Angelou’s simple, yet brilliant, definition of success:
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”
7. They have fulfilling relationships
Just because we’re introverted, doesn’t mean we don’t want and need fulfilling relationships. No one knows this better than mentally strong introverts, who surround themselves with people who love, and accept them for who they are. Don’t get me wrong.
Mentally strong introverts aren’t necessarily social butterflies. In fact, they might have very few friends. Rather than try to win popularity contests, they focus on quality over quantity in relationships. For tips on how to cultivate more fulfilling relationships as an introvert, download my 50-page Introvert Connection Guide.
8. They make their mental health a top priority
When you spend as much time in your head as we introverts do, you start to understand the importance of mental health. Mentally strong introverts take care of their mind by giving it space to wander, and ponder. They meditate, go for walks, and practice the fine are of doing nothing.
Mentally strong introverts also seek out support when their mind starts to turn against them. When negative thoughts, anxiety, and depression sneak in, they talk to a trusted loved one or professional, who can help them find their way out of the fog.
9. They exercise
When was the last time you broke a sweat? If you’re a mentally strong introvert, you probably do so on a regular basis. Mentally strong introverts know that exercise is an easy and proven way to boost confidence, mental clarity, and overall happiness. And it doesn’t end there.
According to Michael Otto, PhD, a professor of psychology at Boston University,
“The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong. Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect … Exercise may be a way of biologically toughening up the brain so stress has less of a central impact.”
10. They are captains of their own ship
Have you ever talked to someone who just loved to play the victim? The world is against them, and they are completely powerless. Mentally strong introverts have the opposite mindset. They see themselves as captains of their own ship. No matter what life throws at them, they focus on what they can do, instead of what seems impossible.
Sure, mentally strong introverts might feel a little self-pity now and then. But they never stay in this state for long. Their powerful sense of personal responsibility keeps them moving forward in spite of crummy circumstances.
What do you think, lovely?
Can you relate to the habits of mentally strong introverts? Did I miss any? Please do share your insights and experiences in the comments below!
As always, great advice, insights, and observations Michaela! I love all the 10 habits you name and explain here, and I simply cannot specify which one I like the best because they are all so wonderfully meaningful! 🙂
Realizing I’m an introvert and empathize was very freeing to me.
Thank you for the article, and all the comments.
I’m getting a little too comfortable with social distancing, while at the same time praying for the best for all.
I thought my ‘bad days’ were to some form of maniac depression cous when i do say to myself ”i can do this” all of the sudden i am much more powerful.
Thought i was slipping from 1 mind to another like a little bipolar hehe.
Luckly i dont have much ‘downtime’ of late cous i know my destiny lies somewhere out there. i may not get what i want but i will try and teach others to get what they want and do the right thing.
But not cous i cannot do it (the self part) but becous my idea is so far out i trully think it’s naturally imposible to achive (but i will never give up on it).
Do you know if you’re an INFP or an INFJ ? (to tired to write more, but I really agree to your post, the “bipolar” thing and the “maniac depression”, above all the destiny…….)
I enjoy your emails. I am mentally strong introvert.
I have a list of governing values which encompasses many of your 10 Habits. One that I find highly useful is:
Maintain order in my surroundings.
This can mean from keeping my home in order to not surrounding myself with chaotic people.
Well said, completely relatable, good stuff!! 🙂
I am pleased to see that I do ALL of these things! Yay, looks like I am mentally stronger than I thought.
Right on point with all 10:-)
The biggest problem I have as an introvert is people telling me what I need to do, when I am perfectly happy spending time with myself, in fact I thrive on it, how do you let people know, this is who I am and I am happy, I am not depressed or sad
We are very strong.
Thank you, Michaela, for your excellent work.
There’s nobody like us.
Those poor extroverts, always flailing around going here and everywhere, always looking for something they can’t seem to find.
I feel sorry for them. They gravitate to me. They need grounding.
They are fascinating to me. I don’t know how they do it.
I enjoy the way you describe extroverts. Gave me a chuckle and a different way to view extroverts when I may tend to be envious of their outgoingness (is that even a word)?
Love it! Very accurate and would like to see more similar to this.
Great article, much of this resonates with me, the rest I aspire to! One thing I really struggle with though is setting boundaries, specifically where my parents are concerned. I love them but they are both extroverts who have no concept of personal space; they visit (without invitation or notice) all the time and it’s something that my husband, son and I (all introverts) find so draining. I know I need to address this but I worry about hurting them and of course while I dither the rest of us suffer… Any suggestions on how to tackle this would be really gratefully received.
I had a similar problem, I have a friend that called me every day at 5:00, not 4:59 or 5:01, but 5 pm, as an introvert I don’t ever do the same thing at the same time, It frustrated me so bad after awhile I knew that it was going to cause hurt feelings, so I was just totally honest with her, I figured I had rather her be upset with me for being honest rather than upset because I had started to avoid her , just talk to them honestly, in my case she said why didn’t you tell me, sometimes people think that you think like they do
I will get flak for this. I’ve been a smoker for 50 years. I’ve lived with the guilt and the shame and the rude and insensitive comments. But above all else is the fear of the stress of quitting. Yes I am an introvert and have spent a lifetime working on #8. I now tell people that I am more afraid of quitting than of dying. People don’t get it, but it shuts them up.
I love this Michaela!! This is such a great and healthy way of living life as an INFJ. By incorporating these 10 simple, habits, we can all make our lives, that much healthier, happier and better! I’m going to print this out and have it up in my room somewhere until I have these 10-steps down pat.
Much of the muchest loves ?
Great idea Elly! Im going to use your idea
This is a delightful post Michaela. I enjoyed this very much. 🙂 Thank you.
I think that a mentally strong introvert, lives their values, their morals, has strong ethics, and treats others the way they want to be treated, regardless of how they feel.
They set the standard for what it means to be good in this world.
They uphold the rights of others, and are not afraid to correct with honesty when someone acts less of a good human being, and upholds people to their expectations of whom they said they were as people, reminding them of the standards they set for themselves and showing them the high road when they’ve strayed from their path for too long.
They do the right thing even when no one is looking and even when it’s the hardest thing they’ve ever done.
A mentally strong introvert is a bearer of light and wisdom of their old souls, to bring about positive change in this world.
A mentally strong introvert, is like you, me, and all of us here, coming together for a common good and sharing our values.
Hi, I loved this article so much! I think I am a mentally strong introvert now, and a lot of that is my hard work, but also thanks to you and your emails. It gave me the confidence to ask for what I need, to stop feeling guilty about needing time to be alone, about understanding that there’s nothing wrong with the way I am (we introverts are). That made me a thousand years lighter, so thank you 🙂
OMG Michaela! You aren’t chosen cyber-mentor for introverts! I am pumped up, I’m not leaving the seminar that our church is throwing. I relate to a lot of pin points… I have lots to say but seminar starts at 10 am well God bless your heart your an inspiration I’ve learned to deal with my introversion in a more mature manner. It’s actually teachings me that’s it’s a blessing we see life’s in such a different way ok until later.
Thank you so much for all the information you write…I can honestly relate to 100% of it… if I don’t get enough of my own space I will be an absolute bear…I am struggling with how to have a romantic relationship with my extrovert boyfriend… he wants to live with me but the very thought of that makes me want to die!
Very true. Thanks Michaela
I thought it’s really a some kind of problem (me as being an introvert) now that I’ve been read this i felt ease happy as well.🤍
I do agree with the habits.
As an introvert, I do regain mental energy whenever I am in my vehicle, at a park/beach, at home, or even around immediate family members.
When I am around strangers or acquaintances, my mental energy and my comfort level go down.
I try and solve one mental challenge at a time. I used to think everyone underestimated me & I was frustrated and annoyed. I have taught myself to realize that I under estimate what people think of me. Pick one of your weaknesses create a solution in your head and progress!
On spot! Thank you for the great overview.
How I wish someone had told me these things when I was a teenager. It would have made my life so much happier. Trying to be “normal” (popular, party-going, loving noise and crowds) made me deeply unhappy. Young girls in my youth were brought up to be “nice”, to do what others expected of us and to try to please them. This expectation and introversion are a toxic mix; you always end up being a doormat and hating it. I wonder how many of our teens who kill themselves are introverts driven crazy by extrovert expectations of “normality”. Learning to set boundaries (and not feel guilty or “nasty” about it) is very important in life, otherwise people will just take advantage of you.
But what do you say about this situation – boyfriend doesn’t want to spend time with his girlfriend because he prefer to be alone. He could meet her only 2 or 3 times for a week. I am introvert too but I would like spend a lot of time with a person who I love. I’m wondering if he is introvert or rather he doesn’t love.
(Sorry for my english)
Hi Sylwia, it’s hard to say. Some people really do need that much time alone, but if that is not enough for you, then it is okay for you to admit that to him and yourself, and possibly find someone who can meet your needs better.
Once I realized I was an introvert and a highly sensitive person, I was finally able to give myself a break! Whew…I am definitely a mentally strong introvert (now) and I no longer feel guilty about this.
Parents who drop in on their kids unannounced do not do so because they are extroverts. They do so because they are insensitive to other people’s privacy. I am an extrovert and wouldn’t think to do that. Sometimes behaviors are attributed to extroverts that are merely a trait of that person. For instance my boyfriend is an introvert but he doesn’t care to engage me in deep conversations as all the literature says about introverts. He doesn’t care to talk much at all unless it’s about technology or his own interests
I’m a Freshman, and this helped me a lot. See, I’m a hardcore extrovert, and I have a new friend that is a hardcore introvert. He hardly ever speaks, and if he does it’s brief. He used to sit on the corner of a half-occupied table of Sophomores until my other friend and I decided to invite him over to our table without knowing him that well. I don’t really know anything about being an introvert or introverted activities that you guys do, but this helped a lot, seeing as he’s inspiration for something I’m writing. This helped me TONS with my understanding, because I mean, we all know it’s hard to write about something we know very little about.
I’m glad it resonated with you. 🙂
I just thought I’d let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog posts. It’s refreshing to find someone able to advocate so eloquently for introverts. As an older introvert, I recognized long ago how introverts are strong in ways that extroverts aren’t. I found it frustrating how our society often looks at introverts as somehow being inferior.
Your insights are always right on. Exercise has been my greatest friend when I need to get energised.
I just wanted to thank you for what you do 🙂 Reading your articles has been super helpful for me lately, as I had major surgery over the summer. It’s been a struggle to maintain my mental (and physical) health, especially since I couldn’t exercise for nearly 2 months! Ugh, I’ve had way too much time to think haha. Thank you for the tips!
You’re very welcome, Rachel! I hope things get easier for you soon. xo
I love your information on the Mentally Strong Introverts. I happen to fulfill all of the 10 attributes you discussed. As an ISTJ it hit home on all levels. Thank-you for your great insights.
Thanks again for all your valuable info!
Introverts are the strongest people you will ever meet
I’m so glad that so much information is coming to light about the introvert personality. In the past, I have been referred to as “strange and unfriendly,” “odd,” “shy,” even boring. I never felt like I was any of those things, but I knew I was not like everybody else. Luckily, I was raised by my father who encouraged me to be strong and to smile and dismiss those who did not want to know who I really was. I hope that a better understanding will result and people will stop telling me that I give off a vibe of being unapproachable. To me, that vibe is not coming from me but it comes from the social expectation that people worth knowing are vibrant, smiling all the time, and bubbly. It’s just easier to approach such people. They don’t automatically have more to offer beyond the [often false] big smile and happy-happy puppy-like personality.
Thank you for such a helpful article. I hope a lot of people realize that introverts tend to feel quilty about taking time for themselves and being too attentive to their own needs. A lot of our challenges are based on what we feel we aren’t and that is being extroverts.
I found this article reassuring & refreshing both. Three years ago I was liberated after reading Marc Manson’s “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F#%k”
Your article has unexpectedly elevated my confidence & conviction even further.