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An Introvert's Guide to Decreasing Stress (Part II)

This is Part II in our introvert stress reduction series.  Part I dealt with the strategy of arriving early for meetings.

Introverts aren't necessarily shy.  They just get energy from spending time alone or with smaller groups of people.  Pastor Ron Edmondson has some fantastic articles on leaders who are introverted like this and this.  

One of the big issues that introverts have is that of being misunderstood as aloof or standoffish.  The introverts I know are neither but without some work, they could be easily misunderstood.  

The fact is, introverts experience stress nearly every time they attend meetings, public events or anything that produces interaction.  It sounds very strange if you're an extrovert but take it from me (an introvert), much of everyday life is stressful.  

A tried and true strategy that works well for introverts (and actually for everyone else if they try it) is to cultivate a consistent morning routine.  The morning routine is something that is very simple and can feature prayer, journaling, silence, and anything else that raises your mind and heart.  

For me, the morning routine is critical to nearly every aspect of my life.  It puts work, family and leisure in perspective.  It clarifies thoughts, concretizes goals and gives a venue for introspection.

For introverts in particular, the morning is very, very important for at least three reasons:

  1. A morning routine begins the day with something you can have total control over.  Since the rest of the day will be unpredictable and probably filled with stress, the morning routine acts like an anchor of sorts, shielding you from stress in subtle ways.
  2. The morning routine leaks into the rest of the day.  What you think about will turn up later.  What you read will travel with you.  The inspiration you receive will return to you when you least expect it. 
  3. A consistently practiced morning routine will create spiritual momentum.  You will know that you're becoming a better listener and that your relationship with God is alive and well.  It sounds wild to say it but if you practice a solid morning routine, you'll become the very best version of who you really are.  Seriously.

Introverts experience more stress than most.  But, with a little morning routine practice, they can navigate their days with poise and just a little less stress.