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Stress Management: Introvert or Extrovert?

Managing Stress

By Barbara Ehrenberg, LICSW

A Brighter Tomorrow Counseling

 

Knowing whether you are an introvert or extrovert may be the key to unlocking and reducing your stress.

 

Many of us feel overstressed more often than not. Is it any wonder, given all the things we have to balance just to keep our everyday lives on track?  Today we are

woman feeling stressed and holding her brow

busier than ever, and many of us juggle many roles and are continually “plugged in” with little time for proper rest.  Studies have shown that too much stress has been linked to reduced immune system function and to many other health problems.  Left unchecked, excessive stress could increase your risk for many illnesses including high blood pressure, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, depression and anxiety and accelerated aging.  We all know we need to manage our stress levels, but many struggle with where to begin.

 

One of the best keys for managing your stress is knowing whether you are an Extrovert or an Introvert.   In short, an Extrovert is commonly thought of as someone who can interact with people and social situations with ease.  In contrast,  an Introvert is typically thought of as someone who is more reserved and is more cautious in social situations.  Actually it’s a bit more complex than these two profiles.  Determining whether you are an Extrovert or an Introvert can unlock effective ways for you to manage your stress.  How?  By helping you understand how you can recharge.    Let’s imagine that you have had a very stressful week.  Your stress has been straining and overwhelming. You need a break! Which of the following list of activities would you prefer?

List 1 
Be alone for a solitary activity
Enjoy one-on-one time with a friend or family member

Get away from your phone and social media

 

Participate in a hobby you enjoy
Take a walk
Read or listen to music

List 2 
Enjoy a meal with friends and/or family
Go out with some friends to decompress from the week
Go to a concert or performance
Connect with some people who you haven’t seen in a while
Do something novel and exciting that you haven’t done before

After a long and stressful week, which activity list would best help you to recharge? If you chose List 1- you are likely to be an Introvert. If you chose List 2- you are likely an Extrovert.  Knowing what type of activity that you need when you have been depleted by stress, will help you to rebalance and recover more effectively from stress. Better yet, balancing your responsibilities with the type of recharging activities that correspond to this aspect of your personality will be a preventative “tool” in helping to manage stress on a day-to-day basis.

For couples, which are often made up of an Extrovert and an Introvert, it’s important to recognize that each will need something different to recharge. Communication and planning will help each partner to recover from stress with the activity that corresponds to this aspect of their personality.  Identifying the activities that will best help you rebound from stress, will help identify you as either an Extrovert or an Introvert.  Once you have identified what you need to recharge, it is important to schedule these types of activities to bring balance and help you successfully keep stress in check.

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