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Is an Extrovert Really Happier Than an Introvert? Let’s Look at the Research Findings

Is an Extrovert Really Happier Than an Introvert? Let’s Look at the Research Findings

Are you an extrovert or an introvert? You may know straight away or you may think that you’re a mixture of both – most people are. We live in a world that celebrates the extrovert – to be successful and happy in life you need to be outgoing, confident, talkative and sociable. But is this really the case?

With introverts being labelled as quiet, shy and sometimes unsociable it’s no wonder that people would automatically assume a typical introvert is unsuccessful or unhappy. However, maybe it’s time to question this myth and look at introversion as a positive personality trait that almost half the world’s population possesses.

What Does The Research Say?

Studies on happiness have become more and more popular and what’s abundantly clear time and again, is our happiness it more dependant on our personalities rather than material possessions.

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One study [1] looking at the behaviour of young people internationally, found that those who moved through their day in a more extroverted way, were found to lead much happier lives – this was in spite of geographical location and culture. Many more studies back this up but is this a fair evaluation?

Could The Idea That Extroverts Are Happier Than Introverts Be a Myth?

While these studies are interesting and worthwhile, there is, what could be considered, a flaw in how people’s personalities are measured. Most psychologists use what’s called the NEO PI-R assessment when conducting happiness and personality studies which only focus on the presence or absence of extroverted qualities.

In other words, there is no emphasis on positively valuing introverted qualities. If you’re an introvert yourself you can identify with the happiness you feel sitting by yourself with a good book and perhaps socialising less than extroverts, yet these are considered qualities that extroverts would associate with unhappiness.

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Extroverts thrive and re-energize by being around people and interacting, but introverts re-energize by taking themselves away and finding calm and quiet. It’s because of this that introverts fail to score highly on happiness scales in controlled studies as these low-key activities aren’t considered a source of happiness.

There’s also a struggle that introverts can experience that comes from the pressure of living in a world where extroversion is celebrated. Introverts can be made to feel outcasted because they don’t measure up to the lifestyles of those with extroverted qualities. Some introverts may lead a life that goes against their natural wants and needs in order to fit in to an extroverted world. This in itself could cause introverts to feel less happy moving through life.

Embracing Happiness No Matter What Your Personality Type

So what can we conclude from this? Are these studies really giving us an accurate understanding of happiness and how we interact with the world? While interaction with others is a huge factor in our happiness, for some it’s quality not quantity that decides how we feel in our relationships with others.

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But considering happiness is not all based on relationships and how often we interact, does this mean introverts are just as happy as extroverts? Eastern culture has introduced mindfulness, calm, meditation and quiet as an important way to connect with ourselves and reach inner happiness – things that introverts do naturally by spending more time alone.

Happiness is subjective. Introverts find more happiness in their inner-worlds while extroverts find happiness through their external worlds. But despite whether one is better than the other, what a lot of studies agree on is that the key to happiness is down to accepting ourselves, finding purpose, and creating a good social circle.

And what can definitely be concluded is that this can be achieved by anyone whether you’re an extrovert or an introvert.

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Featured photo credit: Gianne Karla Tolentino via pexels.com

Reference

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

20 Amazing Facts About Dreams that You Might Not Know About

Dreams — Mysterious, bewildering, eye-opening and sometimes a nightmarish living hell. Dreams are all that and much more.

Here are 20 amazing facts about dreams that you might have never heard about:

Fact #1: You can’t read while dreaming, or tell the time

    If you are unsure whether you are dreaming or not, try reading something. The vast majority of people are incapable of reading in their dreams.

    The same goes for clocks: each time you look at a clock it will tell a different time and the hands on the clock won’t appear to be moving as reported by lucid dreamers.

    Fact #2: Lucid dreaming

    There is a whole subculture of people practicing what is called lucid or conscious dreaming. Using various techniques, these people have supposedly learned to assume control of their dreams and do amazing things like flying, passing through walls, and traveling to different dimensions or even back in time.

    Want to learn how to control your dreams? You can try these tips:

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    Lucid Dreaming: This Is How You Can Control Your Dreams

    Fact #3: Inventions inspired by dreams

    Dreams are responsible for many of the greatest inventions of mankind. A few examples include:

    • The idea for Google -Larry Page
    • Alternating current generator -Tesla
    • DNA’s double helix spiral form -James Watson
    • The sewing machine -Elias Howe
    • Periodic table -Dimitri Mendeleyev

    …and many, many more.

    Fact #4: Premonition dreams

    There are some astounding cases where people actually dreamt about things which happened to them later, in the exact same ways they dreamed about.

    You could say they got a glimpse of the future, or it might have just been coincidence. The fact remains that this is some seriously interesting and bizarre phenomena. Some of the most famous premonition dreams include:

    • Abraham Lincoln dreamt of His Assassination
    • Many of the victims of 9/11 had dreams warning them about the catastrophe
    • Mark Twain’s dream of his brother’s demise
    • 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic catastrophe

    Fact #5: Sleep paralysis

    Hell is real and it is called sleep paralysis. It’s the stuff of true nightmares. I’ve been a sleep paralysis sufferer as a kid and I can attest to how truly horrible it is.

    Two characteristics of sleep paralysis are the inability to move (hence paralysis) and a sense of an extremely evil presence in the room with you. It doesn’t feel like a dream, but 100% real. Studies show that during an attack, sleep paralysis sufferers show an overwhelming amygdala activity. The amygdala is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. Enough said!

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    Fact #6: REM sleep disorder

    In the state of REM (rapid-eye-movement) stage of your sleep your body is normally paralyzed. In rare cases, however, people act out their dreams. These have resulted in broken arms, legs, broken furniture, and in at least one reported case, a house burnt down.

    Fact #7: Sexual dreams

    The very scientifically-named “nocturnal penile tumescence” is a very well documented phenomena. In laymen’s term, it simply means that you get a stiffy while you sleep. Actually, studies indicate that men get up to 20 erections per dream.

    Fact #8: Unbelievable sleepwalkers

      Sleepwalking is a very rare and potentially dangerous sleep disorder. It is an extreme form of REM sleep disorder, and these people don’t just act out their dreams, but go on real adventures at night.

      Lee Hadwin is a nurse by profession, but in his dreams he is an artist. Literally. He “sleepdraws” gorgeous portraits, of which he has no recollection afterwards. Strange sleepwalking “adventures” include:

      • A woman having sex with strangers while sleepwalking
      • A man who drove 22 miles and killed his cousin while sleepwalking
      • A sleepwalker who walked out of the window from the third floor, and barely survived

      Fact #9: Dream drug

      There are actually people who like dreaming and dreams so much that they never want to wake up. They want to continue on dreaming even during the day, so they take an illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic drug called Dimethyltryptamine. It is actually only an isolated and synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dreaming.

      Fact #10 Dream-catcher

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        The dream-catcher is one of the most well-known Native American symbols. It is a loose web or webs woven around a hoop and decorated with sacred objects meant to protect against nightmares.

        Fact #11: Increased brain activity

        You would associate sleeping with peace and quiet, but actually our brains are more active during sleep than during the day.

        Fact #12: Creativity and dreams

        As we mentioned before, dreams are responsible for inventions, great artworks and are generally just incredibly interesting. They are also “recharging” our creativity.

        Scientists also say that keeping a dream diary helps with creativity.

        In rare cases of REM disorder, people actually don’t dream at all. These people suffer from significantly decreased creativity and perform badly at tasks requiring creative problem solving.

        Fact #13: Pets dream too

          Our animal companions dream as well. Watch a dog or a cat sleep and you can see that they are moving their paws and making noises like they were chasing something. Go get ’em buddy!

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          Fact #14: You always dream—you just don’t remember it

          Many people claim that they don’t dream at all, but that’s not true: we all dream, but up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams at all.

          Fact #15: Blind people dream too

          Blind people who were not born blind see images in their dreams but people who were born blind don’t see anything at all. They still dream, and their dreams are just as intense and interesting, but they involve the other senses beside sight.

          Fact #16: In your dreams, you only see faces that you already know

            It is proven that in dreams, we can only see faces that we have seen in real life before. So beware: that scary-looking old lady next to you on the bus might as well be in your next nightmare.

            Fact #17: Dreams tend to be negative

            Surprisingly, dreams are more often negative than positive. The three most widely reported emotions felt during dreaming are anger, sadness and fear.

            Fact #18: Multiple dreams per night

            You can have up to seven different dreams per night depending on how many REM cycles you have. We only dream during the REM period of sleep, and the average person dreams one to two hours every night.

            Fact #19: Gender differences

            Interestingly, 70% of all the characters in a man’s dream are other men, but women’s dream contain an equal amount of women and men. Also men’s dreams contain a lot more aggression. Both women and men dream about sexual themes equally often.

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            Fact #20: Not everyone dreams in color

            As much as 12% of people only dream in black and white.

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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