Why You Should Embrace your Weaknesses + Weirdnesses

Street Parade 2012 - 11.08.2012 - Zürich (CH) #Streetparade
This photo Street Parade 2012-66.jpg is (c) abstrkt.ch 2012 and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

My wallet is sparkly green and has the words “High Anxiety” on its front.

Actually, it is supposed to be a pill box, but the moment I saw it at a thrift store I knew I needed a reason to carry it around with me everywhere, as a way to embrace in a bold way one of the not-so-likeable parts of my life. And hey, maybe it could help someone else out too, in some small way.

Just this weekend I got a reaction from a grocery store cashier, who liked it and stated that he should get “High Anxiety” on a t-shirt! And you know, I agree with him: I think many of us can benefit from doing something to embrace our weaknesses and weirdnesses, whether that’s qualities you have as an introvert or as someone with a health condition or really anything. We can all benefit from putting some glam into the, ahem, “glum” parts of our life. Here’s why.

Laughing at yourself is good for you.

A study at the University of California found that people who laugh at themselves tend to laugh and smile genuinely more in general than those who don’t. They’re also more cheerful. All of these qualities can benefit your overall health–who knew? Maybe we all knew this deep down, but it’s always good to have science to back it up. So, make a joke about your unabashedly introverted party tendencies. It’ll do you good.

It brings people together.

A difficult situation can bring people together for the better, whether it’s a natural disaster or an avoidable unnatural disaster (a political disaster, perhaps?). But you don’t need to wait for an urgent situation to make this phenomenon happen in your own world.

Many people face extremely difficult situations that no one else knows about–loneliness, anxiety, and depression, for example. Less intense struggles might include just feeling plain awkward in some social situations (I know the feels). When you make a point to showcase your own experiences–whether it’s with a funny t-shirt or button or a meme shared on social media or a (tasteful) self-deprecating joke–you can help people to talk about their struggles.

Perhaps others will just feel comforted in knowing that someone as seemingly awesome as you can relate to them!

 

It opens the door to more serious conversations.

Great communicators don’t just spurt out a bunch of facts to their audience and expect everyone to stay engaged. They actively try to keep everyone’s attention, whether it’s with humour or risqué statements. Once they’ve caught your attention they move on to the real juicy stuff. The organization Stand Up for Mental Health, in which people with mental illnesses are trained to be comedians, is a good example of this.

This technique can and should be used in everyday life! So go, educate the world on your needs as an introvert or on the fact that mental illness is a real thing. But do it in a sparkly way–then, you can help make the world shine a little more. (Note that corny statements are always a good idea.)

 

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How to not suck at self-care as an introvert

Confession: I’m terrible at taking sick days.

Some gross proof of this is that time a couple years ago that I ended up with a bad cold and ear infection the night before I was supposed to leave for an eight-month overseas work term. I’d worked myself so hard to keep up my hours at my usual job, say proper goodbyes to my friends, and pack my things that I’d left minimal time to take care of myself.

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This photo “Exhausted” is (c) 2011 leniners and made available under an Attribution Non-Commercial  license.

I ended up having to reschedule my flight for a week later–and believe me, I really needed to use that week to rest.

Continue reading “How to not suck at self-care as an introvert”

3 tips to use anger constructively as an introvert

I’ve felt angry and generally uneasy this past week. I think that’s been true for a lot of people, due to the US election and other world events. It’s also come up for a more personal reason for me: I overheard someone call me ‘shy.’ (See my post in this blog on myths about introverts to find out how I feel about that word.)

Anger is a powerful tool that can help us figure out what is important to us and what really, really has to change. While many introverts don’t feel at home at protests, you can express anger in constructive ways. Here’s how. Continue reading “3 tips to use anger constructively as an introvert”

An Introvert and Her Bike

So… what do you do for fun?

This question causes me to stumble sometimes. Do people want to hear that I take books out of the library somewhat compulsively and am a wee bit sketchy when it comes to actually reading them? How about how I enjoy writing, even though my procrastination habit makes me wonder whether writing is actually just a tool I use to torture myself?

Continue reading “An Introvert and Her Bike”

Mental Health and Me

We can gain so much by listening to each other’s stories.

It’s easy to take this for granted when everything is going great, ‘hunky-dory’ as the saying goes–but I’ve been experiencing a change in perspective over the past couple of months that has made me want to reach out, to be a little more vulnerable, and to encourage others to do the same. So, in this post I want to share a little story of what’s been going on with me as it relates to mental health. Conveniently, it’s Mental Health Week in Canada, so I hope my voice will add to the many other important stories being told in the next few days across the country.

Continue reading “Mental Health and Me”

Reflections on Mental Health and Introversion: What’s the Connection?

This photo,
This photo, “A man’s life,” is copyright Seif Alaya 2015 and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a little while but felt nervous to put my thoughts on paper, er, screen. Mental health and mental illness are topics that fascinate and overwhelm me and I’m no expert on them (though I’ve written my fair share of sociology papers on mental health for my undergrad, for the record!). But from my experience with friends and family and just going through the regular highs and lows of everyday life, I have observed certain ways that being an introvert can affect one’s mental health.

Continue reading “Reflections on Mental Health and Introversion: What’s the Connection?”