By Linda Willits RxN, CNS
Human connection is a key ingredient for resilience. This can be a challenge for introverts who feel drained by the frenzy of social activities. Not to worry, this challenge can be “ACED” with Alternatives, Credit, Encouragement and Doable Goals. All that is required are alternative options; giving yourself credit for each step you take; self-encouragement and setting doable (reasonable) goals.
Human beings are hardwired to connect. Our ancestor’s survival often depended on protection by members of their tribe. While loneliness and social isolation contribute to depression, social involvement boosts our brains neurotransmitters and makes us less vulnerable. (The Depression Cure, Ilardi, S. 2009.) Introverts tend to feel relief in solitary pursuits and if depression takes hold the urge to withdraw increases. This can create a cycle of isolation and depression which reinforce each other.
As you begin your quest for activity options, begin by considering your needs. Introverts often find social events to be over stimulating and they thrive on active thinking and self reflection. When considering your options consider your interests and needs. Learning activities increase your sense of competence and physical activities add the bonus of exercise. It is always important to make choices that you find pleasant. Pleasant events are an integral part of both Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Activation. Adding small positives into daily routines increases happiness, decreases sadness and makes us less vulnerable to painful events. (DBT Skills Training Manual, Linehan, M. 2015)