Advertising

7 Steps To Embrace Your Inner Introvert And Not Feel Bad

7 Steps To Embrace Your Inner Introvert And Not Feel Bad
Advertising

Have you ever done a personality test? When I got the results of my Myers-Briggs last year I had an epiphany. INFJ all the way. Of course, I’m an introvert! Are you an introvert as well?

Unfortunately, the excitement over my new insight wore off quickly and was replaced with worry: Does that mean I suck at networking? How can I ever be successful if I’m not a people person? Will all my friends abandon me if I embrace my introvert personality?

If you’re an introvert like me, you probably feel bad about yourself quite often, because you think your personality is holding you back in life. But over the course of the last 9 months I found plenty of reasons that that’s not true. I discovered 7 ways how you can embrace your introverted personality and feel great about it, here they are.

1. Listen to music when you leave the house on your own

As an introvert, I often walk around outside alone, for example to the pool to go for a swim or to shop for groceries, or even just take a walk. I found that listening to music makes me a lot more confident. You can listen to your favorite songs and get pumped on the way to the gym, or play a funny game called eye-gazing: you look people in the eyes as they pass you. Don’t look mean, smile, but look them in the eyes and don’t look away. You’ll see most people will avert their gaze faster than you do!

Advertising

It’s a great way to boost confidence and make you feel great about who you are. Dance your way through the streets, not caring what anyone thinks. You’re an introvert and you’re just fine.

2. Use social media. A lot

Remember how everyone always says social media aren’t all that social, because now people just stay in and socializes on their computer? This is what makes them perfect for us introverts! You can talk to and connect with millions of people – without having to leave your living room.

Imagine having 20 people in your house, exhausting, right? But talking to 20 people throughout the day on Twitter, Facebook and even Skype, that can be fun! You can reach out to old friends or get to make new ones, learn tons of new things and find mentors, without having to say a single word, if you don’t want to.

3. Start something creative, and be bold in creating

Have a passion project, for example a blog, an Instagram account where you take photos, or write a book. When you create you can be as bold as you want to be. Your imagination knows no limits and none of the limits that others might put on you matter when you quietly work on something that shows your genius.

Advertising

I chose to start a blog and it’s been great fun to write for myself, for other blogs and try all kinds of content to grow it and create something valuable that helps people. This is your chance to show the world your brilliance, passion and even become an authority. Those who teach are always perceived as experts. A lot of people who might criticize you at work, will commend you for what you write on your blog, giving you a confidence boost and showing you that you DO have a story that’s worth telling and showing the world.

The world is split into consumers and creators. Becoming a creator is one of the best ways to feel great about yourself (whether you’re an introvert or not).

4. Pick up a solo sport

You know exercise is important, and maybe you even do sports with your friends on occasion already, but chances are a team sport is not for you. Even if you play one, a solo sport can be a great way to balance things out.

For us introverts exercising solo is one of the best times to think, so get a treadmill, buy a ticket to the pool or pick up yoga, running or another sport you can do all by yourself. It’ll just be you, your thoughts and maybe some music – you’ll feel great during and after!

Advertising

5. Say no to meetings you don’t want to do

Especially for business, people love to do in-person meetings. Everyone just gets together and chitchats. These meetings are often much more about socializing, than they are about solving a problem. Often there’s a much faster way that doesn’t even require a meeting to take care of the problem.

So when you feel like a meeting won’t help you make any progress, politely decline and suggest an alternative solution. The same is true for meeting with your friends. Do it as often as you like, but never be afraid to say no when you don’t want to. You’ll always be glad you did it afterwards.

Do you know that awkward feeling in your stomach after you said yes to something you didn’t want to do? This will make it go away.

6. Inspire yourself by reading books about famous introverts

You’re not alone. There are many introverts out there in the world, who have become wildly famous and successful. You just need to surround yourself with them. Books are a great way to do this. For example “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, “Quiet! The Power of Introverts” by Susan Cain or the Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are a good start.

Advertising

All of these people are introverts, but they didn’t let that stop them and neither should you.

7. Come up with a powerful mantra

A mantra or affirmation is a short little statement you can recite to yourself over and over again. For example this can simply be you, standing in front of your mirror in the morning, telling yourself: “I’m an introvert, and I’m great the way I am. My life is my message to the world and I’m going to make it inspiring in my own way.”

You can also develop a very short mantra that you can repeat to yourself before difficult situations, for example when you’re about to enter your office in the morning, such as: “I am strong.” or “What I do matters.” Just repeating this one sentence over and over again for a minute or so will program your subconscious mind to live the words throughout the day.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via images.unsplash.com

Advertising

More by this author

Niklas Goeke

Student, Technical University of Munich

Creating a Daily Reading Habit in 4 Steps (A How-To For People With No Time) 15 Motivational Books To Read In Your 20s 15 Motivational Books To Read In Your 20s Benefits of reading featured image This Infographic Will Show You How A Few Minutes Of Reading Every Day Will Make You A Better Person Why It’s Never Too Late To Do Something Great This Infographic Will Finally Teach You How To Be Mentally Strong

Trending in Communication

1 I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 2 13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently 3 10 Morning Habits Of Happy People 4 What Makes People Happy? 20 Secrets of “Always Happy” People 5 13 Simple Habits of Happiness To Change Your Outlook on Life

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
Advertising

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

Advertising

  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

Advertising

Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

Advertising

However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

Advertising

Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

Advertising

  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

Read Next