We have a problem.

And by “we” I mean us introverts.

You see, there’s this thing called the extrovert ideal. It means society rewards those who are loud, outgoing, aggressive, and gregarious.

While it’s true our brains are wired differently and us introverts spend a lot of inside our heads, we can actually teach everyone else a thing or two … especially when it comes to health (both mental and physical).

Here are 7 health lessons you can learn from introverts.

Listen more than you talk.

It’s not that introverts don’t like to talk, it’s just that we prefer to listen before we talk. And from a health standpoint, this is an invaluable skill. Take it from us: being willing to listen to others about your health is imperative. Sometimes, we can’t see the forest for the trees and someone else in our lives, a doctor, a partner or friend might notice something that we did not — whether it’s a funky-looking mole or an unhealthy habit. And when you stop talking, you can also really “listen” to the inner workings of your own body and mind too.

Enjoy alone time.

For some reason, our extroverted friends and family members feel compelled to make excuses for us when we’re not living up to their standard of affability.

“He just needs to come out of his shell a bit.”

“Oh, she’s just shy.”

Wrong.

Shyness means being inherently uncomfortable and afraid of negative judgment.

Some introverts qualify as shy—but most of us could care less what people think about us. Believe it or not, we actually like having quiet time to ourselves. It’s how we recharge and unwind. It helps us create balance: both physically and mentally. You should try it. Do a little “soul searching” every day by finding a quiet spot and just focusing on breathing for 5-10 minutes. Research shows this can have a profound impact on your health.

Make exercise “you time”

I know a lot of people who work out with a partner. This is great … until your partner bails on you because he/she is too busy. We introverts prefer to be alone when we’re at work and when we’re working out–mainly because research shows we prefer minimal noise and distractions in these types of environments.

Working out solo helps us build healthy habits that help us stick with a fitness regimen in the long-term. If you really crave being around others, try a group class–but do it with people you don’t know. Exercise is a very individual thing and the more you make it about you, the more likely you’ll be to stick with it.

Practice healthy behaviors

There’s a psychological phenomenon known as deliberate practice, and it’s one of the most important things you can learn from introverts. Think of deliberate practice as “self-study.” If you want to learn a skill, each day you’d devote time to focused practice.

Here’s an example for you: let’s say you want to learn how to do yoga. The first thing you’d need to do is start small so you can create a habitual routine of it. You could either attend a class or find some videos online to learn the basic movements. Then each day (or at least several days per week) you would practice those movements. Introverts thrive in this type of environment because it allows them to be alone and focus their energy on one thing at a time … which is important when you’re trying to master any healthy behavior.

Final thoughts.

It’s difficult for extroverts to understand introverts, say education researchers Jill Burruss and Lisa Kaenzig.

I disagree.

Remember this: we don’t just look—we try to see. We don’t just hear, we process. We don’t just learn, we apply. These are the most important things you can learn from introverts.

Featured photo credit: MightyBoyBrian via flickr.com

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