“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” ~Proverb
Introverts love introspection and reflection. They are thinkers. Deep thinkers. This is one of the greatest advantages of being an introvert. It helps us to excel in careers that require concentration, while also facilitating growth and wisdom. It does, however, have one undesirable side effect: worry.
It is all too easy for negative thoughts and concerns to flood an introvert’s ever-buzzing brain. We begin to over-think, analyze and even obsess. Before we know it, our mind becomes a typhoon of swirling thoughts that threaten to flatten us into the ground.
Sometimes I catch myself having entire conversations in my head with people I’ve barely said two words to in real life. This can be fun if the conversation is pleasant. But often, it is simply my brain’s way of playing out possible negative outcomes.
A couple of months ago, I worried that I had deeply offended a friend of mine by showing up a bit late for a date. She seemed annoyed and frustrated. For nearly a week, I imagined conversations with her in which I defended my absent-mindedness against her lecturing. Later, when I brought it up with her, and apologized for offending her, she admitted that she hadn’t been upset with me. She had simply been having a bad day.
The above interaction, and others like it, made me realize the fruitlessness of worry. Having imaginary arguments and focusing on worst-case scenarios is a waste of energy. And as we all know, an introvert’s energy is a precious commodity.
If kept in check, worrying can lead to better planning and prevention of possible problems. Unfortunately, most people don’t know how to reign in their worries and focus on solutions. They get stuck focusing all of their thoughts on the problem.
Fortunately, there are several easy ways that introverts can stop worrying and find inner peace.
Be solutions focused
There is a BIG difference between focusing on a problem vs. working on a solution. Instead of worrying ourselves into a twitching bundle of discontent, we should think about what we can do/think/feel right now to improve the situation.
Master the art of distraction
If we can’t find a solution, the next best thing to do is distract ourselves. The art of distraction works wonders on nearly every ailment of the mind: jealousy, self-loathing, relationship problems and guilt.
The key is to distract yoursef with thoughts or activities that make you feel good. Think about people you love, things that make you laugh, or kind words that have been spoken to you.
Use one of the best mood-boosters
Listening to good music is one of the most powerful ways that we can alter our thoughts and feelings. The right tunes can instantly replace worry with more constructive, happy thoughts. A great place to start is with Pharrell Williams’ smash hit “Happy”.
If you want something more mellow, I’m a huge fan of Eric Whitacre’s choral (only voices) music. Click here to listen to one of my favorites.
I know you’ve heard it before, and you’ll probably hear it a hundred times more – meditation really works. REALLY! Meditation is by far the most effective thing I’ve ever done to improve my mental health. It literally blocks negative thoughts from entering your mind. Start out with just five minutes a day and find out what everyone’s talking about.
If there are any other introverts out there who over-think or have imaginary arguments, I’d love to hear from you.
Is there any advice that I missed that has helped you put an end to worry and find inner peace?