MINIMALISM FOR INTROVERTS: HOW THE MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE CAN BENEFIT INTROVERTS
The minimalist lifestyle is about living clutter-free and with intention. There are so many ways that the minimalist lifestyle can benefit introverts and in this article I share my thoughts on minimalism for introverts who crave peace, quiet and self-reflection in a busy, overwhelming world.
WHAT IS AN INTROVERT?
According to webmd.com, around one-third to one-half of all people in the US are introverts. Though introversion can differ from person to person, webmd.com goes on to list some of the key, common characteristics and patterns of behaviour shown by introverts including:
- Need quiet to concentrate
- Are reflective
- Are self-aware
- Take time making decisions
- Feel comfortable being alone
- Don’t like group work
- Prefer to write rather than talk
- Feel tired after being in a crowd
- Have few friendships, but are very close with these friends
- Daydream or use their imaginations to work out a problem
- Retreat into their own mind to rest
As I read through this list in researching for this article, I was reminded of what an introvert I am! I do/am/enjoy many, if not all, of these things. Being an introvert is sometimes confused with being shy. Although this may be true for some or many people, it’s not always the case.
It’s often reported that minimalism is a wonderful lifestyle for introverts and benefits introverted personalities in many ways. As both a minimalist and an introvert myself, I wanted to share my own thoughts on minimalism for introverts. If you’re an introvert struggling for peace and quiet in this modern, busy world, maybe this article might speak to you!
WHAT IS MINIMALISM?
Minimalism is a lifestyle choice encouraging us to focus on the meaningful and important and cut out the clutter that distracts and detracts from enabling us to live our best life. Many people begin their minimalist journey by decluttering their homes and then, through a series of small and intentional decisions, decluttering and simplifying their schedules, finances, relationships, habits, goals and every aspect of life.
Minimalism, although often spoken about in terms of an aesthetic style and with a focus on stuff, is actually not about stuff at all. It is about intentionality and living a meaningful life but often, yes, with less stuff.
In this article I’d like to write about minimalism for introverts, so if you’re new to minimalism or would like to understand the lifestyle more fully, I encourage you to check out these articles first. They’ll hopefully give you more of an understanding about minimalism as a lifestyle, what it is and (importantly) what it isn’t.
- What is Minimalism and a Few Things It’s Not
- 9 Lessons I’ve Learned From Minimalism
- How to Find the Right Version of Minimalism For You
- Unexpected and Life-Changing Benefits of Minimalism
WAYS THAT THE MINIMALIST LIFESTYLE CAN BENEFIT INTROVERTS
So, now we’ve explored some typical introvert characteristics and got some background on what minimalism as a lifestyle is all about, I wanted to share some personal ways that the minimalist lifestyle can benefit introverts.
1. Finding quiet and improving productivity
I do like to have a quiet place to think and work. I’m not very good in loud places with lots of background noise and stimulation from every angle. I might have some quiet, gentle background music (like I do now whilst writing this article) but anything more feels an assault on my senses. I like to focus, avoid distraction and making my brain multi-task. I like to concentrate on my work, my reading or whatever I’m doing at the time.
My minimalist lifestyle allows me time and space to do this. I have my clutter-free, organised minimalist workspace at home set up in a quiet place away from the kids. I have a busy life but keep my schedule as simple and pre-planned as possible to avoid double-booking myself. I over-estimate how long things will take so I have plenty of wiggle room. This means I can take my time finishing my work and plan it around when my home or office will be busy and noisy.
Just so you know, it wasn’t always this way but over time, I’ve been able to make small changes to my work-life balance, my schedule and get comfortable with saying no when I need to!
Good time management really helps here and there are many parallels between minimalism and time management. This is why minimalism benefits introverts because it gives us more time for productivity and quiet.
2. Time for reflection, thinking and introspection
I do love to reflect and think about my day and my life. I love to journal as a way of reconnecting with myself before or after a busy day. Again, I like to have peace and quiet when I journal so I’ve made this part of my morning and/or evening routine. Journaling is a great tool for a minimalist, intentional life because it helps to check that your time and goals are in alignment with your values and priorities in life. And, if they’re not all heading in the same direction, then you can make a plan to overhaul them!
I also enjoy meditation and practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness and decluttering make a great pair and it’s a good way to stay in tune with yourself, your body and mind.
3. Self-awareness and personal growth
These quiet, mindful practices and habits that I’ve developed over the years have come about through my own minimalist journey. Before minimalism, I was filling my time and life with stuff. I was trying to do, be and have more because that’s how I thought a fulfilling and happy life should be. More of everything.
What the minimalist lifestyle taught me was that fulfilment and happiness come from within. Of course it helps to have a roof over your head, food on the table and money in the bank, but much of the stuff that we get sucked into buying and doing is irrelevant. It’s the fundamental building blocks of life – health, happiness, human connection and purpose that often give life its true meaning.
Discovering minimalism and choosing the less is more lifestyle over the past decade has shown me that to lead a purposeful and rich life, I need to focus on self-awareness and personal growth. What makes me happy, sad, uplifted, overwhelmed? What do I need to learn, change, do or experience to make me feel more of the good stuff and less of the bad? Minimalism benefits introverts because it encourages these soul-searching questions and self-awareness.
4. Time to make intentional decisions
I’m a funny mix. I’m often spontaneous and do things on a whim but at other times I can procrastinate, weigh up the pros and cons and then get stuck! I guess it’s partly because I’m an introvert and partly because I’m a perfectionist and want to be totally sure I’ve making the right decision before I commit to it!
Minimalism doesn’t want us to rush. In fact, minimalism encourages slow living and a simpler ebb and flow to our days. That doesn’t mean to say that minimalism is laid back and never gets anything done, but I do find I make more conscious and aware decisions. They’re not always the right ones but they’re based on sound choices at the time. Life is full of learning opportunities and whilst we still might make mistakes, a minimalist lifestyle encourages thought, care, intention, conviction and purpose.
When you make a decision, the minimalist way would be to ask why? Will this add to my life (or somebody else’s)? Is this really what I want? How will this make me feel? What would happen if I didn’t have this in my life? And so on. We don’t always consciously go through this list of questions, it becomes a natural thought process after a while, but there is intention and thought behind what we do and why we do it. Minimalism benefits introverts because it encourages and gives us time to pause, reflect and consider our decisions.
5. Solitude and space
I love people and I absolutely love sharing my thoughts around simplicity, decluttering and minimalism but I do this behind my screen through my blog. I hope you enjoy my words and my message but you’ll notice I don’t do (or haven’t done thus far!) videos, YouTube, podcasts, live lessons or anything like that. Partly because I don’t feel ready for that, but mostly because I’m more comfortable in my own company or small groups. I’m not a party animal and lots of people wear me out so I need time to recover! I’m much happier with one or two close friends at a time.
Minimalism as a lifestyle encourages you to choose your own path and walk it with pride. I stopped caring what other people thought of me, why I was getting rid of so much stuff and wouldn’t my family be living in scarcity and depravation? Not at all! But minimalism is often misunderstood and goes against the grain of what modern marketing tactics in the shops and through advertising would lead us to believe is essential for a happy, fulfilled life. Oh well. I don’t feel ‘different’ for having less stuff but I do feel happier and more fulfilled – just without the stuff to try to do that for me.
Minimalism benefits introverts because it accepts and encourages those who need it to find space and time for themselves amidst a busy world. Forget the norm, do your own thing and embrace it. Do life your way and if you need solitude for that, go seek it.
Minimalism obviously gives us more space because we have less stuff, but it gives us more space in our schedule and breathing space in life too because we’re not caught up in the doing, chasing, having and being. What we do focus on is being intentional with how we spend our precious resources including our time and energy.
6. Home as a sanctuary
I wrote a blog post about making your home as a sanctuary and as an introvert minimalist, this has been one of the greatest benefits to me. I find the busy outside world noisy, overwhelming and too much sometimes and just crave peace, quiet, space and calm. My home, although the hub of busy family life and chaotic kids, provides just the right balance of fun, laughter, calm and peace that my family needs to rest, recharge and reset in our different ways.
Our home is organised, clutter-free, functions as we need it to and gives us all a solid base to leave from at the start of the day and come back to at the end.
Minimalism benefits introverts by creating a safe, calm and uncluttered home which quietens the mind, calms the body and rejuvenates us for tomorrow.
7. Avoid overwhelm
Many introverts find the world an overwhelming place which makes us feel anxious, tired and drained. We have more on our plates, more stressors affecting our physical and mental health and, often, too many things to do on our task list which push and pull us in different directions. Our bodies and brains signal to us that we’re too busy but we often ignore these signs and push on regardless. We end up tired, frustrated and burnt-out with no time for self-care until it’s too late and just like sticking a plaster over a wound.
Minimalism provides a powerful alternative to an overwhelming life. The benefits of a decluttered home and life are to give us more time, space and freedom to pursue our wants and needs. For introverts, this might be valuable time, space and freedom to find a quiet place to recuperate from the demands of a busy day and give us the mental and physical space to recalibrate.
Decluttering is a powerful method of self-care, hitting a common cause of stress (managing our homes and the stuff in them) at the root.
8. More able to focus on priorities and responsibilities
The problem with overwhelm is that not only do you not feel your best or most productive but you’re probably also unable to think clearly and with focus. This fog might mean that you’re not able to fulfil your responsibilities and give your all to things that really matter. Instead, you might be chasing your tail and but not really achieving much of what you need or want to.
An intentional, more minimalist lifestyle clears away the clutter in your home, schedule, heart and mind to give you mental clarity. You can then make plans, create clear To Do lists, set goals and get things done.
9. Time for leisure and hobbies
And, when your priorities and responsibilities are met, you might even find that you have time for leisure and hobbies which you can enjoy in peace, quiet and concentration. Introverts benefit from time spent on hobbies as a way to balance the needs of the outside world with their inner needs for growth, self-reflection, learning and a change of pace and direction.
10. Reduces stress
An overwhelmed, socially stressed out and too busy introvert who hasn’t had time or space for peace and quiet is a stressed out, unhappy person. Finding solitude, a calm clutter-free home for a soft landing, a slower and simpler schedule and mindful, reflective and intentional lifestyle choices that are the cornerstone of minimalism and the minimalist lifestyle all help to reduce stress in different ways.
11. The opportunity to build strong relationships
Decluttering isn’t just for your home. You can declutter your mind, your digital world, your schedule, finances and even your relationships with others. Minimalism encourages a thoughtful and intentional approach to social connections by weeding out the toxic, one-sided and unhealthy relationships and investing time and energy into relationships that are based on love, trust, respect and mutual support. Introverts love building fewer but closer connections so there’s a deep affinity between the minimalist approach to relationships and the type that introverts thrive on.
12. Boosts happiness
With all the benefits that I’ve mentioned in this article, I think the over-arching benefit is to boost happiness. Introverts are happiest when they can balance their own needs with that of their lives and loved ones. Minimalism creates space in every way to enable this to happen which makes us feel more contented, fulfilled and happier, instead of out of sync and stressed out at the demands of every day life.
GET STARTED WITH MINIMALISM
If minimalism sounds worth trying, I encourage you to take some small, baby steps. You could:
- Declutter one room in your home to create a clutter-free, calm space. Your bedroom might be a good place to start
- Knock one thing off your schedule for the coming week or month and use the time to do something just for you
- Get rid of some unused apps, alerts, reminders and notifications from your phone to stop the intrusive pings and buzzes invading your quiet time
- Go for coffee with a loved one or a close friend and enjoy chatting, laughing and catching up
- Choose your next book to read, hobby to dive into or meditation to start your day tomorrow
Here are some more simple tips to help you embrace the minimalist lifestyle every day.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
I hope you enjoyed this article on how minimalism benefits introverts. If you have anything to add or to share that might help others, please leave a note in the comments below.
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I’m Antonia and on this blog I share practical inspiration to simplify your home, time and life. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest! You can also subscribe to Balance Through Simplicity and receive regular simplicity tips straight to your inbox for free. Make sure you never miss an article plus you’ll get a copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit as a welcome gift!