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The Introvert’s Guide to Getting in Shape

The Introvert’s Guide to Getting in Shape

I am an introvert–and I’m quite content with this fact–but a lot of my introverted comrades aren’t.

Many think something is wrong with them, largely because our culture holds “the extrovert ideal” in high esteem, says Susan Cain in her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts. Extroverts are viewed as healthier, happier, and more successful.

But here’s the thing: both introverts and extroverts have unique skills they can use to maximize their health and happiness.

Several years ago, I discovered how to apply my strengths as an introvert to my health. If you’re an introvert and you’re struggling to get healthy, these are some strategies that will help you.

Eating healthy for introverts.

Research shows that an introvert’s brain is wired differently. We have more gray matter in our prefrontal cortex–the area of the brain that’s associated with abstract thought and decision-making. This helps explain why introverts devote more brain power to analysis, while extroverts tend to live in the moment.

Introverts are masters at processing, digesting, and analyzing data. But many don’t use this skill to their advantage.

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If you’re an introvert and you’re not as healthy as you want to be, start by using your brain.

Read, research, write, explore, listen, reflect, meditate, design, think.

Eating healthy starts with learning how to eat healthy.

Mindful eating is a proven technique you can use to eat healthier, and can be a great place to start.

Step one to eat more mindfully: plan for the worst.

In the world of psychology, this is called an implementation intention. Here’s how it works: if you know a situation is coming up where you might be prone to eat and/or drink too much (a friend’s birthday party, for example), write or state your back-up plan beforehand:

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“When I encounter ______, I will _____.”

Here are some examples:

  • “When I go out to eat tonight, I will order a salad and skip dessert.”
  • “When I go grocery shopping, I won’t buy any soda.”
  • “When someone offers me pizza, I’ll politely decline.”

Implementation intentions are effective for introverts because they give clear instructions on what to do when your willpower muscle goes limp. Research proves they can help you make healthier decisions and stick with your goals.

Spend time thinking through your goals and preparing for challenges, and you’ll give yourself an edge.

One strategy I use and recommend: keep checklists. In the book Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard, Dan and Chip Heath say checklists help you avoid “blind spots in a complex environment,” provide insurance against overconfidence, and make big screw-ups less likely.

In The Checklist Manifesto, surgeon Atul Gawande says:

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“Good checklists…are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything–a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps–the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss.”

Exercise for introverts.

Several years ago, I stopped going to the gym and started working out at home instead. The environment was too over-stimulating for my introverted brain to handle.

Loud, crappy music. Crowded spaces. Hundreds of people.

No thanks.

I found a way to exercise that worked for my personality. I started lifting weights and boxing at home in my basement. My wife and I go for walks or bike rides on the trails by our house. And now I work out 5-6 days a week and I absolutely love it.

The lesson here is simple: if you’re an introvert and you hate going to the gym or to group classes, stop going. Introverts thrive in quiet, minimally stimulating environments.

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I’m all about challenging yourself and getting out of your comfort zone, but doing stuff you hate is unsustainable. When it comes to exercise, forming habits is vital. And to form habits, you need to find something you actually enjoy doing.

Exercise in an environment that matches your personality type. Try working out at home, outside, or in smaller groups. You’ll save money on gym fees. You’ll stop dreading going to the gym. And you’ll increase your odds of developing healthy exercise habits.

As an introvert, you have natural talents most extroverts lack.

Don’t waste them.

Use the power of your inquisitive mind to help you form healthy habits that last a lifetime.

Featured photo credit: Abdullah AL-Naser via flickr.com

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Last Updated on August 21, 2018

30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

30 Brilliant Camping Hacks I Wish I Knew Earlier

Ah, camping. The great outdoors, the campfires, the food you’d never eat in civilised society: it’s a wonderful experience.

That said, things can get a little bit tricky when we are left to the mercy of Mother Nature. Here are 30 fantastic camping hacks you can use to make your camping experience as wonderful as possible!

 1. Use sage to repel mosquitoes.

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    photoshelter.com

    Place some sage in your campfire and the smell is sure to ward off any pesky mosquitos.

    2. Liquid soap + cotton balls = no ticks.

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      crateandbarrel.com

      If you or one of your fellow campers is having trouble with a tick, place the soap-soaked cotton on the tick for 20 seconds. The tick will eventually stop chewing and will come away with the cotton ball. If the tick was attached for a lengthy amount of time you may want to consider keeping it in a container so that you can test it for Lyme disease later.

      3. Use an acorn cap as a whistle if you get lost.

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        smallhomebigstart.com

        It’s remarkably easy to get lost whilst camping. Here’s a full tutorial on how you can transform an acorn into a whistle!

        4. Corn chips for kindling!

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          Doritos are a great way to start a fire, just be careful!

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          5. Use the rest of the chips for nachos.

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            buzzfeed.com

            Nachos are easy to pack, light and simple to make. Plus they’re incredibly tasty.

            6. Use compact, microfibre towels!

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              rei.com

              These towels are incredibly easy to store and dry within an hour of use. Buy them here.

              7. Wrap duct-tape around your water bottle for emergencies.

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                briangreen.net

                You never know when you might need some.

                8. Make lamps out of jars and solar disks.

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                  campwander.com

                  Get all the info you need here.

                  9. Sangria!

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                    gastfamilyrecipes.blogspot.co.uk

                    We know what’s really important. How to here!

                    10. One water bottle will hold eight eggs.

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                      cookiecrumbsandsawdust.blogspot

                      By keeping all your eggs in a bottle you save time and hassle. Plus, no need to carry extra bowls or a whisk!

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                      11. Johnson’s Baby Creamy Oil is a surprisingly good mosquito repellent.

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                        buzzfeed.com

                        Keep the bugs and the bug repellent smell at bay.

                        12. DIY shower.

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                          instructables.com

                          All you need is a watering can and a large jug. Here’s the full instructions.

                          13. Keep sandpaper handy to light matches.

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                            craftaholicsanonymous.net

                            Glueing some sandpaper to the lid of a tupperware box where you can also store matches is a foolproof plan.

                            14. Make s’moreos easily.

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                              snackhacks.org

                              15. MarshJell-o shots.

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                                tablespoon.com

                                Learn how to make these delicious things here!

                                16. Or dip those marshmallows in Bailey’s. 
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                                  Toast the marshmallow first and then dip it in Bailey’s.

                                  17. Turn a bottle into a spoon.

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                                    buzzfeed.com

                                    It’s that easy!

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                                    18. Grits repel ants.

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                                      sleepychef.com

                                      Just sprinkle grits wherever you see ants.

                                      19. Deodorant can be used to combat itchiness.

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                                        wikihow.com

                                        20. Wrap your meat in cabbage to stop it from burning.

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                                          onesweetappetite.com

                                          That’s not an innuendo, it really will! The moistness in the cabbage creates the perfect barrier.

                                          21. Foam noodles will stop any injuries.

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                                            andybaird.com

                                            For any fellow clumsy people, you know how possible it is to smack your head and cause serious injury. Placing a foam noodle on the awning strut narrows down at least one accident waiting to happen.

                                            22. Carry some essentials in a small tin with you at all times.

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                                              fieldandstream.com

                                              You never know what you’ll need and when.

                                              23. Take toothpaste dots instead of a whole tube.

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                                                ruggedthuglife.com

                                                Let the drops dry out over 3 days, add a little baking soda and put them in a resealable bag.

                                                24. Use a stick to secure your tent.

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                                                  survivormedic.com

                                                  By placing a stick in the main centre line you ensure the pressure is even throughout, which will stop the grommets being pulled out.

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                                                  25. Vacuum seal your food before you leave.

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                                                    livingonalatte.com

                                                    26. Popcorn on the campfire.

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                                                      kookyculinary.com

                                                      Popcorn that you can place on the stove at home can also be popped over a campfire. You can also make your own using this tutorial.

                                                      27. You can even make bacon and eggs over it.

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                                                        realfamilycamping.blogspot.co.uk

                                                        That’s right! Full instructions here.

                                                        28. Keep your toiletries handy.

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                                                          myshowerline.com

                                                          Buy this magnificent contraption here.

                                                          29. Compact, unbreakable cups!

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                                                            reuseit.com

                                                            Get them while you can!

                                                            30. Tic-Tac boxes are great for storing ingredients.

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                                                              seattlesundries.com

                                                              With these 30 camping tips and tricks, you can work DIY magic into nearly every aspect of camping, and make your next camping trip a comfortable, easy blast. Good luck!

                                                              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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