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September 20th, 2023 | Edition #14


Thriving Quietly in a Noisy World

The concepts of introversion and extraversion were introduced by Carl Jung in the early 1920s. He described two personality traits: extroverts, who are energized by interactions with others, and introverts, who are energized by spending time alone with their own thoughts, emotions, and memories. In a world as loud—both literally and figuratively—as ours, being an introvert can feel so difficult. As Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz describe in their essay The power of silence in a deafening world, our world is only getting louder. We’re surrounded by more cars, more planes, more technology with buzzes and pings. With constant access to the internet and its abyss of videos and music, it can feel like there’s little quiet left at all. Here are five ways to thrive as an introvert in such a noisy world.

TIP #1: Take Social Media Breaks

Whether you’re a passenger on the subway or waiting in line for a coffee, chances are you’ve seen someone scrolling through social media. Maybe you’re even guilty of it yourself. From TikTok to SnapChat and Facebook, there’s an endless stream of content available to us. As platforms such as Instagram become more heavily focused on video content, that stream also comes with increased noise. Some studies have found that scrolling through social media is also correlated with increased stress and anxiety. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by the noise of social media, use tools such as app usage limits or timers to limit your exposure. When you feel the urge to swipe or scroll, consider focusing on something different—maybe something a little quieter.

TIP #2: Meditate

Meditation is one of the best tools for taking a break from the world, reducing stress, and enjoying some peace and quiet. As the Mayo Clinic reports, anyone can meditate! Meditation can increase self-awareness, something that many introverts value and desire. If you’re not sure how to begin, check out tools like Mindful.org or the Calm app for an easy beginner’s guide.

TIP #3: Read A Book

Reading offers key benefits such as building vocabulary, instilling empathy, and preventing age-related cognitive decline. It’s also a great portal through which to escape the noisy world around us! Reading can transport you to another time, another culture, or another life all from the comfort of your couch. Or, if you’re an introvert who doesn’t mind being around others, consider taking your read with you to a quiet coffee shop or library as a way to get out of the house. If you’re looking for your next great book, many websites like The New York Times have book recommendations or even quizzes to assess your preferences.

TIP #4: Find Like-Minded Introverts

Though it may seem a bit ironic that socializing can help you thrive as an introvert, it’s a common misconception that introverts do not enjoy socializing. Facebook groups such as Introvert, Dear offer support and opportunities to interact virtually with other like-minded people. For an in-person experience, try checking out a website such as Meetup, which offers similar groups that meet at organized, public events.

TIP #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Set Boundaries

Many introverts tend to be sensitive and introspective; this can go hand in hand with being a people-pleaser. Psychologist Dr. Rina Bajaj notes that the combination of introversion and people pleasing can lead to introverts prioritizing the needs and wants of other over their own. For this reason, it’s important to set boundaries to ensure your own peace and quiet—both external and internal. Allow yourself to say no, and don’t be afraid to put yourself first. When you protect your needs as an introvert, you can truly thrive in a noisy world!

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Anxiety and depression are common in introverts; according to clinical psychologist Dr. Michael Alcee, this can be the result of putting others first and being drained by social interaction. While techniques such as relaxation, exercise, meditation, and breathing exercises can be highly successful in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression, many people also find great benefit in seeking professional support. This can be particularly helpful when it comes to setting boundaries as described above. To learn more about Riveredge Hospital and their services, visit https://riveredgehospital.com/programs-services/; follow the link at the bottom of the page to request an assessment today!

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RUSH Oak Park Hospital

For introverts and extroverts alike, increased noise is a serious threat to more than just personal peace and quiet. According to Dr. Michael Hefferly, an audiologist at Rush, chronic hearing loss is one of the most prevalent conditions in patients 65 and older. Although some hearing loss comes naturally with age, exposure to loud noises can cause both temporary and permanent hearing loss. These loud noises have a variety of sources, including motorcycles, power tools, and music. Using hearing protection like earplugs or earmuffs can help reduce the volume of noises you may be exposed to. Signs of hearing loss include muffled speech, trouble understanding words, and ringing in your ears. If you suspect you may be experiencing hearing loss, consider scheduling a hearing assessment by one of Rush’s audiologists today. Appointments can be made by calling 888-352-7874 or visiting their website.


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American House Senior Living

Senior living communities are a mosaic, filled with people of many personalities and backgrounds. Navigating this lifestyle can be tricky for an introvert, so here are a few helpful tips. Introverts are fueled by solitary time. Your apartment serves as a private haven where you can recharge. When venturing out, choose calmer, self-reflective activities in your comfort zone. Soaking up the energy on the sidelines, you’ll reap the benefits of simply being around others, discovering new ways of thinking and gaining positive insight. When researching senior living, a good idea is to tour and ask questions. Find out about dining, activities and private spaces. Helpful staff understand people have different expectations and they can ease apprehensions. In making a move, approach the situation with a positive attitude. Introverts attract introverts, and there is always the possibility of meeting a likeminded person to share in this exciting new chapter.

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