Are You An Introvert? How To Feel Safe In The World

Guest Post by Patricia Weber

While not exactly on the same level, the introvert and people who struggle with PTSD share some similar feelings. Borrowing from an introvert’s strategies for managing in a loud and mostly extrovert world can be helpful. If you can’t choose the environment you’ll be in the next best thing is to make the environment comfortable for yourself. Here are some things that can be an asset for you at almost any time.

Whether we want to avoid attention or avoid discomfort of a situation be prepared. Everyone meets them: the negative person, into drama, or someone who wants to go on and on talking about some abuse or tragic circumstance. The truth is these types are just difficult to take for almost anyone. What can we do about it? You have choices. You can get sucked in and go down the same path. That’s not a wise option!  Or you can try to change the direction of the conversation.

To start a u-turn conversation, listen, stop and think. First acknowledge the person’s feelings. That’s what it’s really about. Then, thinking back through what you heard, take one idea you heard that you feel positive about and use that as a turning point to steer the conversation to something positive. I have an aging mom. The minute she wakes up she complains about the pain in her back, the pain in her hands, the pain in her knees, and on and on. I take one of those areas that I remember from the previous day that she said, “Wow, my right hand feels good today,” and say, “Do you remember how good…?” If I can do this living daily with my mom, what can you do on that chance encounter?

Enjoy the company of others even if you don’t want to be with others. Introverts are often, and mistakenly, thought of as shy. Yes; you can be a shy introvert and you could also be a shy extrovert. Being in the company of others for too long can be an energy vampire for an introvert. That’s a bit different than being shy and being anxious about being with others. Someone suffering from PTSD might also find they want to avoid being with many people. But, human beings are social beings. If you feel like you just don’t know how you are going to manage a social event do it purposefully like an introvert, with some energy charging before, during and after.

Your neighbor is having a welcome spring party. You have the date on your calendar. Be certain to plan and schedule for quiet time before the event – it could be the day before or a few hours before that you read a book, go for a walk alone, or just take a power nap. The idea is to minimize your extroverting activities before the party.

While at the celebration, plan either a bathroom break or a short walk outside – by yourself. I’m assessed with MBTI as an INTJ so I know you might be thinking, “How will I do that?” The truth is, it is easily done. In introvert style you take those kind of exits quietly. No one really notices! If they do, they won’t say anything to you.

Finally, if you can arrive early and leave early, you will be able to minimize the height of all the commotion, people’s drama stories and your own exhaustion. The final key is on your exit, to go ahead and get some alone time, in anyway you like.

Get out of your own head instead of staying stuck there. Introverts spend more time in their head, a fertile playground, than extroverts. This has huge advantages of thinking things through, being inspired and bringing some most creative ideas to the top. If you find that you are often stuck in your own head because of your trauma, how do you turn things around?

A bit of business networking advice can turn any business or social situation into a helpful environment. Turn your focus to another person – ideally, the person you are with at the time. Find out about their interests, their hobbies their travels. Avoid following any tales of whoa. Learn to be as curious as most introverts naturally are and ask questions. To extend this time out of your head, when you arrive back at your office or home, take what that great mind of you remembers about the people you meet and follow-up with them in an email, or even hand-written note where you recap what you enjoyed learning about them.

Not at either a business or social networking event and all by yourself? Then exercise! Have a 20-minute DVD routine ready that you can put in the player. This takes your attention outside your head, onto the fitness trainer. In as little as 20 minutes, you have your focus on your health, your body and get those endorphins active. Endorphins are those chemicals in brain transmission that keep your mind clear and help raise your spirits.

Find something you can do that takes your attention outside yourself and you will reduce that constant head noise.

Step by step:

My hunch is that introversion and PTSD can take similar tacts to managing what otherwise can often times make a most uncomfortable environment from many situations. The key is to keep learning and trying different things until you find something that offers relief. The wonderful part of it is, that just like the pain won’t last forever, neither is there a one action although it’s likely you will find one that is more helpful than others. I’m big on exercise and have been for 20 years. It just makes me feel good and that makes darn good sense. Keep learning and trying, learning and trying, and build  your own playbook of techniques to feel safe when you peek your head out into the world.

If you want to continue to get valuable ideas and tips to master yourself as an introvert, or even shy, follow Patricia Weber helps introverts in particular, who are motivated for change, to discover their personal breakthrough to help reach their ultimate success in business and life. You can also find her on Twitter and FaceBook

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Professional Perspective’ contact Michele.

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