How to stop living inside your head when you’re an introvert

How to stop living inside your head when you're an introvert

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As an introvert, you can sometimes have the tendency to start living inside your head a little too much.

I started reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower yesterday. And no, this is not a book review (although I love the book)! But there is one passage where the main character explains to someone what he’s thinking about, and that other person tells him to be careful because sometimes people who think that much use it as an excuse not to participate in real life. They’re living in their head, basically.

This somehow really resonated with me. Because I’m so guilty of living inside my head.

Noticing that you’re living inside your head

For the past week, I’ve been home alone because my boyfriend is out of town, I hadn’t had tons of work because everyone seems to be on vacation, and I still don’t have friends where we live.

And during this time, I’ve become obsessed with Harry Potter (for the 20th time in my life, I guess). I’ve reread all the books, started rewatching all the movies, and it got really bad when I caught myself watching YouTube videos about Harry Potter conspiracy theories online. I don’t even like conspiracy theories!

That’s when I noticed that I was spending way too much time on really unnecessary things. And what I should do is spend that time doing stuff!

Of course, I’m not saying that reading is bad. Reading is great. If I had stopped at reading or even rewatching the movies that would have been fine. But the truth is, I tend to get caught up in something and don’t want to let go, and that is the main problem.

Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you don’t need other people

I guess that it’s an introvert thing, really. I can’t imagine an extrovert living inside their head, as they need interactions with (real) people to recharge.

As an introvert with a little too much imagination, I need to be careful not to neglect the outside world. The interaction with real people.

I started small. Calling my best friend from home. My grandparents. Discussing video games I know nothing about with my little brothers.

Then I forced myself to go outside. Right now I’m writing this post sitting in my garden, which is basically still at home but doesn’t allow me to ignore that I have neighbours and need to mow our lawn. I’m going to do that later, too.

I’m also going to go to the grocery store, not because I need anything specific, but because there are people there.

It might just be me, but I do tend to live in my head too much when there’s no one around to get me out of it. And I have to learn to be that person for myself.

Even introverts need outside stimuli to progress

We all know that introverts get their energy from within. But that doesn’t mean that we’re self-sufficient, because I truly believe that no human being is.

It’s great to be able to keep your brain busy for hours, but it doesn’t mean that that’s all you need. Everyone needs regular human interaction to challenge themselves, get outside their comfort zone, and progress.

There’s nothing inside your head that you don’t already know. But there’s still so much to learn. And sometimes a little piece of information given to you by somebody else is all you need to come up with amazing ideas.

Independence is great, but it’s not enough

I’m currently reading Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (yes, I’m reading multiple books at the same time) and he talks about how independence is great, but how we can create even better things when we work together. And I believe that.

I guess that modern society puts so much emphasis on independence, and we as introverts tend to feel quite independent anyway. And it leads us to forget how much we actually need the people around us.

And they’re not going to come looking for us: we have to go looking for them. I’m not yet sure how exactly I’m going to do that, but I’ll try. And I’ll keep you updated if I find anything that works!

How to stop living inside your head when you’re an introvert

Until then, please tell me how you keep from living inside your head too much, I would really appreciate any suggestions you might have!

39 Replies to “How to stop living inside your head when you’re an introvert”

  1. This is such an interesting read and I agree with what you’re saying. Most people are “ambiverts,” a combination of both qualities. But nowadays people are being labeled as solely introvert or extrovert and we tend to believe this and only makes us think with limitations. Great post!

    1. I totally agree. The definition of introvert and extrovert can be seen as a spectrum rather than just one or the other. And we definitely need both alone time and socialising.

    2. I love this reply. I have never even heard of an ambivert. However, I hate when people ask if your an introvert or extrovert bc, to be honest, I don’t think I truly fall into one box or another, think it just depends on my mood and what is going on in my life.

    3. Thank you, Karina for helping me better understand and appreciate my introvert traits. Thanks also to YE CHEN for affirming that a person can have a combination of both qualities. From a young age I was accused of never shutting up, and I would get in trouble for talking to strangers. I always thought I was an extrovert, plain and simple. But, every personality test says that I am more of an introvert because I am fiercely independent, cherish large quantities of alone time, and live mostly in my head. I’ll bet there are plenty of others out there who are social extroverts and thinking introverts.

  2. Good read!

    This is true; I think there needs to be a healthy balance between solitude and social activity. People are designed to interact and thrive with other people, yet we have to learn to be okay with being by ourselves as well.

    No matter what you consider yourself, “introvert” or “extrovert”, and I totally agree with the comment above me, we’re going to need to be with other people and time alone. I’m definitely an ambivert and have trapped myself either avoiding people and the outside world for over a week or feeling like I needed to be around people constantly. To be a functional human, a healthy balance is necessary regardless of whether or not you swing more introverted or extroverted.

    1. Thank you! And totally agree that a healthy balance is necessary for everyone – but the perfect amount of time to spend with people or alone will differ for everyone. We just have to be careful not to get stuck in or the other.

  3. I love this! I am someone who is an introvert but I also crave the company of my friends and my family. When I haven’t had those interactions, I can start to feel very alone. On the other hand, once I have spent some time socializing, I need a full day at home to recoup. You have great insights!

    1. Thank you! Same here, I always need to spend time with close friends and family. Thankfully I don’t live alone! But for me, it’s also important to interact with other people – otherwise, I just stay in my comfort zone. 😉

  4. Beautiful narrative..very well expressed…one got to differentiate between being lonely and being alone…
    It’s all in the head…being introvert certainly doesn’t meann you don’t need company…may be you are not very expressive..
    Thank you.

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  5. It’s a beautiful read. It was like ” I am reading my own emotions”. Thank you for sharing this <3

    1. Wow, thank you! I’m glad you could relate. 🙂

  6. I could have written this post myself. As I moved so much since the last four years, I no longer the social butterfly that I used to be. I am dating a guy for four months now and since he has a lot of friends, I am having hard time keeping up and I’d rather just stay at home and read if not work on my website too. I understand that you are reading different books too because I also do that if one book got a bit slow. I also need to get out there but currently enjoying my tim ealone too. and girl, it’s okay. =)

    1. I know that situation so well! Before we moved, my boyfriend had a lot of friends living close by and we would constantly get invited to hang out with them. And I always missed my alone-time on the couch with a good book! You’re right, it’s totally okay to spend time by yourself as long as you have a healthy balance. 🙂

  7. Love it. I can identify with the article since I am a introvert myself.

    1. Than you, I’m glad you can relate!

  8. So true! I’ve always had a very active imagination, so I live out whole other existences in my mind. The mind can be a wonderful escape, but you also have to be careful that you don’t miss out on real life experiences.

    1. I’m glad that it’s not just me haha! It’s easy to get caught up in imagination, but nothing can replace real-life experiences.

  9. so true!! Everyone thinks I am an extrovert but most of the time I find myself not wanting to leave the house or talk to anyone and start living in my own head. I don’t think anyone is just introvert or extrovert. I need to go for a walk and clear my head feel the rain on my skin and take time to reflect before I start back on my job list. This post has saved my day. Big thanks x

    1. I’m so happy you enjoyed it! 🙂 I agree, most people tend to be a mixture of extrovert and introvert. For me, it depends a lot on the situation and the people I’m with!

  10. I really enjoyed reading this. I’m a first-time reader, but with your eloquent writing style, I’ll be back. As an introvert, I relate to so much about this. I, too, get sucked into meaningless and unproductive thoughts/quests for information online way too often when I should be doing something productive.

    1. Thank you, I’m really glad that you enjoyed my writing style. 🙂 And that you could relate!

  11. Thanks for this post. As an introvert, I can totally relate. I have worked from home for 5 months and you are totally right that we need outside stimuli to get us motivated. I felt like getting cooped up in my room made me indulge in reading and watching movies instead of doing productive work for my job and blog. That’s why I started taking short walks once in a week.

    1. I love going for walks to clear my head! I’ve made it a habit to walk around the neighbourhood for at least 15 minutes every night. It’s a nice change from the screen. 🙂

  12. I can completely relate to this, but I don’t get to just live in my head, sometimes I wish I could, but I am a mother to two little boys and their needs come first. I do miss getting to zone out on things and have some time alone, but I think my boys keep me from going too far down this hole.

    1. Maybe you could have someone watch them for an hour once in a while so you could have some time for yourself? But I get how that is, I have two little brothers who are 16 years younger than me and they used to require soo much attention when they were little!

  13. I can definitely relate to this. All about balance and what works for you. I have so many days when I’m happy being by myself, but then comes the days when I feel I need to get out among the people, and get out of my head for awhile.

    1. I’m happy you could relate! 🙂

  14. I definitely agree. I see myself as an introvert, but recognize as a blogger and a human being I need interaction with the outside world lol. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I’m glad you liked it!

  15. Awesome post! Finding balance is a hard thing to do! I’m always in my head, so I completely understand!

    1. Thank you! 🙂

  16. I’m an introvert. I have been all my life. Until, I got into a relationship and things didn’t work out. The best thing that I have done is to write and talk more. I ask people open ended questions and then just listen. Recently, I went to a cafe I like on my break and just listened to my music and wrote. I thought it was great!! I may make it part of a ritual I enjoyed that much.

  17. I’m an introvert. I have been all my life. Until, I got into a relationship and things didn’t work out. The best thing that I have done is to write and talk more. I ask people open ended questions and then just listen. Recently, I went to a cafe I like on my break and just listened to my music and wrote. I thought it was great!! I may make it part of a ritual I enjoyed that much.

    1. That’s sound amazing! Open-ended questions are the best conversation-starters. And listening to music and write is one of my favourite things to do as well!

  18. As someone who spends far too much time in my head I can relate to the need to socialize. It is not easily done when you work for yourself, by yourself and others are busy with their lives. Finding like minded people to share the fun and the challenges with is my biggest goal. When someone has figured out the how, I would love to hear it.

    1. It’s harder to find like-minded people when you work for yourself because they probably work from home as well… One of the companies I write for organises a yearly event for all the freelancers to meet, which I find quite cool. I haven’t been to one yet, but I’m kind of hoping that I’ll help make this type of work a little more social!

  19. I was just thinking about that however I wasn’t familiar with the term”ambiverts” . My thought was are people one or the other….great to know that term . Thanks for the enlightenment.

  20. I’ve purposely begun just hanging out at coffee shops on the weekends and just talking with the baristas and such. Face to face communication is one of the most practical ways to ground you. I had a mentor once say that if you work primarily with your mind, you should rest with your hands. Do something physical daily. Thinks like working out, yoga and meditation. Do things that help you feel your body and your senses. Touch something and feel it’s texture, smell, taste, sound etc. Focus on your breath and get in tune with your body sensations. The key to getting out of your head is to be in the present. Rather than dwelling on the past, the future or some idea that you have. Also take all of this with a grain of salt. You are okay just the way you are. We are a culture obsessed with self improvement. It’s okay to be heady and introverted. So what if you have moments of binging Harry Potter for the millionth time. That just means you like Harry Potter. It’s okay to waste time. We are so obsessed with productivity that we live in a constant state of fear and shame and what would happen if we took a break. Yet if we actually took a break and took care of ourselves we would be rested to actually do good work and also be happier because we’re less stressed. If you want to be less heady and around people though, take up a physical practice and find relaxed settings were you can chat with people. That’s just my opinion though.

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