5 Practices To Better Support A Highly Sensitive Child

In this post, learn about how difficult childhood is when you don’t know you’re highly sensitive and are taught to suppress your highly sensitive person (HSP) identity. Then discover how to identify high sensitivity in children and practices to become a better support system.

Before I Begin…

The HSP trait is still a relatively new concept for me.

It is a personality trait I learned about for the first time roughly four months ago.

I am disclosing that this is a new term for me as a reminder that I am not an expert in this field–although I am an authority having lived as an HSP.

And not being an expert was also what kept me from sharing this post last week.

Because I am new to this particular topic, I was really suffering from imposter syndrome and felt I didn’t have a right to write about it.

But being an expert and providing academic-based articles is not the purpose of this blog.

In this blog, I share the things I am learning that allow me to reflect on my lived experiences.

And it’s very important to me to show my process of discovering, learning, reflecting and accepting new traits and insights into what makes me–me. My goal for sharing this process is that it may help and encourage others to attempt the same.

So, again, this post is being written by someone who has just recently learned they are highly sensitive, are understanding how it has impacted their past and sharing their general observations and opinions.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

5 Practices to Support A Highly Sensitive Child. The image shows two parents on the floor with their child, they are all smiling while resting on their elbows and have their hands joined in a stack together in front of them

Discovering The Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) Label

I first discovered the label on Instagram. Since my general interests include personality and mental health, my social media accounts recommend many fascinating pages and articles in both fields. I like it because even though not everything I discover will reflect me, it does help me to understand and be more considerate of others.

And, as I always do when I see a new term, I started researching it.

As I went down the Google rabbit hole, I was completely captivated.

Reading about the characteristics of an HSP, including their strengths and struggles, checked all the boxes for personality traits that I couldn’t categorize as being specific to my introversion or anxiety.

It also allowed me to start reconciling events from my past. Specifically, I started reflecting on the moments I was told I was too sensitive and the missteps I took while trying to deny that part of me.

What Is A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

Before I continue, let’s get a general idea of an HSP.

Both introverts and extroverts may identify as HSP. This is because HSP goes beyond a specific personality trait and is believed to be rooted in biology and genetics.

Researchers believe that being highly sensitive is linked to an increased sensitivity in our central nervous system. And this increased sensitivity leaves an HSP more open to physical, emotional and social stimuli.

However, the level of sensitivity that an HSP experiences may also tie into their environment.

For example, an HSP child who is encouraged to express their sensitivity may develop differently than one who is discouraged from the same.

And let me make it clear that discouraging displays of sensitivity in a child only makes it more difficult for them to connect and communicate their thoughts and emotions constructively. It does not make them less sensitive.

General Characteristics of an HSP

HSP is a personality trait that you can identify with based on generalized characteristics.

Some of these characteristics include:

  • Emotional to the degree that people may describe you as “too sensitive.”
  • Empathic with the ability to sense others’ emotions and adopt them as your own.
  • Intuitive as having the ability to immediately sense the overall “feel” of a room.
  • Sensitive to external stimuli, whether the stimulus is sound, emotions, light, energy or something physical.
  • Quick to feel tired or overwhelmed during social situations.

There are many more characteristics, so I have provided a few links below to help you find more detailed information.

Remember that when we discuss generalizations, not all the characteristics will fit every HSP to a T. But if you can identify with the overall description, then there is a good chance that you are an HSP.

Is HSP a Mental Illness?

HSP is not a diagnosable condition and is therefore not a mental illness.

Read More | Glossary Of Terms To Support Your Mental Health Journey

Nor should it be considered a sign of poor mental health.

Yes, it comes with some struggles that, in my opinion, are primarily tied to our society discouraging strong displays of emotion.

But it is not an overtly negative trait to have.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Very Well Mind – What Is A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)?

Healthline – Being a Highly Sensitive Person Is a Scientific Personality Trait

Highly Sensitive Refuge – 21 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

7 signs of a highly sensitive child. The image shows a boy sitting with his head resting on his knees and his arms wrapped around his legs while he stares at the floor.

My Experience Being An HSP In Childhood

I would prefer to share specific examples of when I encountered and struggled with specific HSP characteristics, but I feel that will require longer and deeper consideration. So instead, I am opting to be very broad while sharing my experience as a highly sensitive child.

As with anyone, much of what I experienced in my childhood impacted who I am today.

When I reflect on my elementary school days, specifically, I mainly remember instances of being told I was too sensitive or having an overall feeling of being different, broken and better off alone.

I received criticisms from other students and teachers for my inability to regulate my emotions. This is understandable since I didn’t know how to express my emotions other than through crying.  

To adapt to overstimulation, I often retreated from others and preferred quiet places alone.

I also began to teach myself to hide my feelings, or more specifically, to suppress them.

In my mind, this is the greatest mistake I have made for my overall mental health and happiness.

This is because my unchecked overthinking and overwhelm resulted in panic attacks. They were so common I had even visited the hospital and was tasked with wearing a heart monitor at one point. And though it was determined nothing was physically wrong with me, I assumed I was dying.

I wonder how different it may have been had people accepted that children might have panic attacks.

Thankfully, we know better now.

7 Signs Of A Highly Sensitive Child

I have created this list after reflecting on my experience in hopes that it may help parents and teachers to identify high sensitivity in children.

And to that end, I have endeavoured to explain how each sign may present.

However, keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive as it sticks specifically to my experience.

If you believe your child could be highly sensitive, it may be best to seek a second opinion from a professional trained in supporting highly sensitive children.

Again, HSP is not a diagnosable condition.

However, a psychologist or therapist may be able to offer advice and resources.

  • Constant crying.
    • Yes, all children cry and throw tantrums from time to time. But a highly sensitive child may be seen to cry more often than most and with very little cause.
  • Highly empathetic.
    • Tapping into their intuitive skills, they may sense the feelings of others and be seen to comfort those around them.
  • Adopting the emotions of others.
    • A highly sensitive child may be impacted by the emotions of those around them, often changing their mood accordingly. This change is done completely subconsciously and can be very overwhelming.
  • Feeling uncomfortable in clothes.
    • Again, an HSP is more sensitive to physical stimuli. Whether the discomfort is from the fabric, the fitting or an itchy clothing tag, the child may be difficult to dress or remain clothed.
  • Being very cautious and careful.
    • The highly sensitive may be less likely than other children to charge into a new environment, opting instead to observe first before acting.
  • Seeking solitude and quiet time.
    • A highly sensitive child may often opt for quiet time away from large groups and noisy environments. Solitude removes them from the overwhelming stimuli.
  • Susceptible to panic attacks.
    • Many people assume children do not have the awareness to succumb to panic attacks. But panic attacks do not require much life experience.
    • Many children can experience panic attacks due to overwhelming situations or the inability to share or release their emotions productively.
    • Symptoms of panic attacks include hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, chills, chest pain, nausea and dizziness.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Jenna Fleming Counseling – Traits of a Highly Sensitive Child

Today’s Parent – 9 Signs You Have A Highly Sensitive Kid

What To Expect – Highly Sensitive Child (Toddler)

Free feelings wheels for adults and children  to support highly sensitive people and improve emotional intelligence. The image includes examples of three feelings wheels that I have also provided links to further in the post.

How To Support A Highly Sensitive Child

I grew up in the 90s—when mental health and high sensitivity were not well-discussed or understood. There was a lot less information and research available. And significantly less awareness and widespread professional resources to be found.

That being said, I was supported while growing up as best as possible with the limited information available at the time.

Unfortunately, that support often presented as pushing me to be less shy and less emotional so that I would fit in better.

And this taught me to recognize a significant portion of who I am as a negative thing. Mainly, I was encouraged to suppress rather than utilize my highly sensitive skills.

I earnestly believe that had I learned how to use my skills, I may not have struggled as much with anxiety and would have a better understanding of myself and my emotions.

Thankfully, today there is a wealth of research and information available online to better understand high sensitivity and how we can support an HSP.

5 Practices to Support A Highly Sensitive Person

Using some of the research and resources I have found, I have chosen five practices that I believe would have benefited me as a child.

I have also adopted some of these strategies as an adult to support my own journey.

These practices seek to help an HSP accept themselves, understand their feelings, express their feelings and find healthy, productive ways to handle their high sensitivity.

As always, when we use the term “practice,” we must remember that these things take time, patience, effort and repetition to be effective. It is not a quick, one-and-done solution.

1. Do not encourage children to be less sensitive.

As I stated earlier, discouraging sensitivity does not make anyone less sensitive. Instead, it promotes harmful habits.

I believe much of my anxiety is tied to suppressing my highly sensitive traits.

Humans are emotional creatures, so boys and girls should be encouraged to express their emotions—regardless of whether they are highly sensitive.

2. Encourage children to share when they are struggling with overstimulation, overthinking or feeling overwhelmed.

As a child, these were very heavy feelings for me.

And I still sometimes feel a need to hold them inside, so I don’t burden anyone else.

Like the first practice I mentioned, consistently checking in with the child will encourage them to accept you as a safe person and confirm they are in a safe place for these discussions.

Checking in involves reinforcing that you want to understand by validating their emotions (good and bad) as a positive thing.

If you believe you may not be available to the degree the child may require, there are many outlets that a child can use, such as journaling, exercising, creating art or speaking with a psychologist.

Sharing heavy emotions is a practice that can benefit everyone.

Read More | 5 Steps To Create A Safe Space To Discuss Mental Health

Read More | Why You Should Start Journaling

The next three practices will make use of a feelings or emotions wheel. And I would recommend starting slowly and introducing one practice at a time. You may find free feelings wheels below–I decided to find multiple options so you may choose the wheel that is best for you and the child. If these versions do not speak to you, try searching “Feelings Wheel” or “Emotions Wheel” online. There are also paid versions available on Etsy.

I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey:

Ages 1-4: iMom – The Feel Wheel

Ages 5-12: iMom – Printable Feelings Wheel for Kids and Adults

Ages teen-adult (with additional worksheets): Avan Muijen – The Emotion Wheel

Healthline – How to Use an Emotion Wheel to Get in Touch with All Your Feels

A picture that combine samples of 3 feelings or emotions wheels to provide an example of the free wheels I have provided a link to
Three examples of feelings wheels. The first two are courtesy of imom.com and the third is courtesy of avanmuijen.com. Links to download these wheels for free are provided above.

3. Teach children to name their emotions.

Being able to name an emotion is incredibly empowering.

The vocabulary of emotions is extensive to cover everything we may feel.

However, most people (adults and children alike) limit their wordlist to either feeling happy, sad, angry or fine.

So it is helpful to develop this vocabulary.

Using a feelings wheel, start in the middle and work your way out.

This practice will help a child to narrow down their big feelings.

And once a child understands what they are feeling, they can better communicate their needs.

Practice using the wheel when the child is both calm and upset so they can understand their range of emotions altogether.

4. Connect the emotion to a physical reaction.

At times, our emotions can feel like a puzzle, but our bodies can help us to decode them.

Therefore, it may help a child to learn to connect their physical reactions to their emotions.

Using the feelings wheel, ask the child to point to the wheel and their body.

For example, I know that I feel anger in my chest, sadness in my shoulders, anxiety in my back and nervousness in my legs.

You may also choose to describe to the child where you feel each emotion in your body.

A perk to demonstrating you are also doing this work is that it will help confirm to the child that they are in a safe space to share their experience.

5. Demonstrate positive expressions of emotions.

As I explained earlier, I did not know how to express my emotions as a child apart from crying. I knew since I was a baby that crying gives attention. So whether I was hurt, frustrated, excited or genuinely sad, I would always cry. I simply did not know a better way. And it did not help any caregiver to understand my needs in that moment.

So for this practice, remember that children learn by mirroring and positive reinforcement.

Practicing expressing emotions may provide a resource for the child when they experience that emotion.

To that end, point to the feelings wheel, state your current emotions and demonstrate how you express them through body language.

This practice can include allowing the child to see you cry so that they understand it is okay and genuinely good to cry sometimes.

It can also be useful to show healthy expressions of anger—which do not include shouting or directing anger at the child.

Some healthy expressions of anger are screaming into a pillow, walking away, or opening a conversation in which you explain that you are angry and why.

Use an internet search to find more ideas for expressing different emotions.

These steps will allow the child to identify what they’re feeling. And once the feeling is identified you can consider the cause and find a solution together.

Again, it is helpful to start by introducing the wheel before identifying the physical reaction and adding the element of expressing emotions last.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful). This list is in no particular order:

The Gottman Institute – An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Emotions

Very Well Family – 8 Discipline Strategies for Parenting a Sensitive Child

The Highly Sensitive Child – 10 Things A Highly Sensitive Child Needs To Be Happy

Raising Children – Understanding And Managing Emotions: Children And Teenagers

Beyond Blue – Managing Emotions

Parents – 4 Big Emotions To Talk About With Little Kids

The Pragmatic Parent – 7 Ways to Help Kids Identify Feelings & Control Emotions

Hi Mama – Teaching Emotions To Young Children: Tips And Tricks

Proud To Be Primary – Emotions for Kids

The Perks Of High Sensitivity

Having taken time to reflect on my past and learning strategies to use my high sensitivity effectively, I have decided that there are more positive than negative aspects to an HSP personality.

For example:

  • I have the ability to make connections with others very quickly.
  • I can be a source of sympathy for people.
  • I value emotions and can assist others in understanding theirs.
  • I also have a way with relaxing others emotions (though I’m still trying to figure out how this works).
  • And as a teacher, I can connect with my English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students beyond words.

Sensitivity and intuition kind of feel like superpowers!

I still have a lot to learn and hope to share more as I do.

The struggles of growing up as a highly sensitive person. The image includes a solo woman resting against a wall and looking off to the left

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If you are a highly sensitive person, what struggles did you face growing up? And what helped you to accept and grow your high sensitivity skills?

Let me know in the comments below!

Glossary of Terms to Support Your Mental Health Journey

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

A mental health journey comes with a complete vocabulary of terms. And a clear understanding of these terms will assist you with the process.

Many glossaries for mental health provide definitions of disorders and conditions. So I want to focus this list on terms you will encounter during the self-work aspect of your journey.

This is not a comprehensive list. It is designed to provide a brief overview of these terms. I have also attempted to paraphrase the definitions/meanings so they may be more easily understood.

I plan to continue to add to the list over the next few months, so please feel free to offer suggestions in the comments below.

What are boundaries? Growth? Self-work?

Affirmations

Affirmations are short, positive statements we use to help retrain our brains to think positively. For affirmations to be effective, we need to say them aloud daily until we believe them to be true.

Read More| Generate Positivity with Affirmations

Boundaries

Boundaries are guidelines used to communicate what we need to feel safe, comfortable, supported and respected. Boundaries help us navigate our relationships by giving us the knowledge and ability to say yes and no to protect our well-being. There are seven types of boundaries: physical, emotional/mental, spiritual, financial, sexual, time and non-negotiables. Boundaries can change as relationships evolve.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Psych Central – 7 Types of Boundaries You May Need

Calm

Calm is a generally positive term meaning a state when we are not experiencing strong, negative feelings. This could mean we are free of anger, sadness, anxiety or agitation. Most coping strategies aim to “re-establish calm” or release negative thoughts and emotions.

Comfort Zone

A comfort zone is a physical or mental space in which we feel safe, secure, content and comfortable. A mental comfort zone will dissuade us from partaking in activities that may be mentally or emotionally harmful. A portion of our growth journey may involve expanding our comfort zones. This work will allow us to practice “scary” activities in small doses to redefine what our comfort zones look like.

Read More| 10 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Comforting Activities

Comforting activities are any enjoyable activity that brings us focus, calm, relaxation and comfort. Many disorders will wear on the mind and body, leaving us exhausted. Comforting activities distract our minds in order to provide much-needed relief. A comforting activity may be sleeping, watching a movie, pursuing a hobby, taking a walk, etc.

Cope/Coping

Courtesy of Oxford Languages: coping means to “deal effectively with something difficult.” The key to coping is finding an effective strategy to manage our symptoms, provide comfort and work on healing. A worthy goal of our journey may be finding coping strategies to control and heal effectively.

Read More| 7 Strategies for Coping With Morning Anxiety

Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

Emotional intelligence is a psychological theory focusing on skills to identify, understand, control and successfully express our emotions. Most studies and books on EQ focus on the workplace, but the skills are helpful for all interpersonal relationships. Within a mental health journey, practicing EQ skills can help us better understand ourselves and the roots of our negative feelings and mindsets.

Empowerment

Empowerment is all about having control and power over our mental health journey. This includes access to support networks and resources that will aid and encourage us to grow strength, confidence and authority over our lives.

Personal Empowerment

Personal empowerment is the ability to be our personal source of encouragement and support for our mental health journey. It involves taking responsibility for our journey and holding ourselves accountable to do the work, make positive choices and track our progress.

(Mental) Energy

Courtesy of Healthline: mental energy is “a mood state where you feel productive, motivated, and prepared to get things done.” Low mental energy may present as boredom, inability to focus or frequently zoning out. Feeling mentally drained may or may not cause us to also feel physically exhausted. Some mental health disorders claim a lot of our mental energy, whether we are aware of it or not.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Healthline – 8 Tips to Boost Mental Energy, in the Moment and in the Future

Growth

Growth refers to gaining knowledge and abilities to support and improve our mental health.  Growth can be measured by tracking goals or keeping a journal that can show how our mindset has changed. Growth can also be detected as we start recognizing when we are better capable of handling difficult situations than we had been at the beginning of our journey.

Read More| Why You Should Start Journaling

Personal Growth

Personal growth is also referred to as personal development or self-improvement. Personal growth is about developing positive behaviours, habits, mindsets, and skills to improve our mental, physical and emotional health.

Read More| 5 Personality Quizzes for Personal Growth

Healing

Unlike physical health, mental health does not have cures. Healing involves growing by learning how to cope and live with a mental health condition. A healing process begins with the desire to improve ourselves and includes seeking help, whether it be understanding our condition or pursuing therapy.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Psych Central – Can You Cure or Heal the Mind?

Journey

Journey is another word for the process of learning about and taking care of our mental health. We can consider it a journey as there will be a start but no definite ending. There will also be many ups and downs, comprising bright days and challenging experiences. The journey is a worthwhile endeavour to benefit our overall happiness and well-being.

Limiting Beliefs

A limiting belief is a belief or state of mind that limits or prevents us from pursuing and achieving our goals. Limiting beliefs often present themselves as fears or in I can’t/I don’t have/I’m not statements. Affirmations help identify and minimize our limiting beliefs.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Happier Human – 15 Limiting Beliefs Examples That Hold You Back in Life

Mental Focus

Mental focus involves making a conscious effort to concentrate on and work towards achieving our goals. Developing and improving mental focus takes time and practice. It will require us to limit distractions, create time for ourselves, take breaks for comforting activities and to practice mindfulness.

Mental Health

Mental health refers to the health of our thoughts, behaviours and emotions. We can have good mental health or poor mental health. Our mental well-being can influence our relationships, decision-making skills and how we experience the world. It can also simultaneously impact our physical health for better or worse. Poor mental health is not the same as mental illness.

Mental Health Glossary. Learn the terms you will encounter on your mental health journey.

Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness aims to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and mental illness. It provides a greater understanding of mental health to reduce misconceptions and increase acceptance. Awareness and acceptance offer greater access to information, diagnoses, treatments and support.

Read More| 5 Steps to Create A Safe Space to Discuss Mental Health

Mental Health Strategies

Mental health strategies are actions used to achieve our mental health goals. These strategies may include long-term and short-term plans or practical coping activities. Practicing mental health strategies is helpful for everyone to support good mental health or treat a mental illness.

Mental Illness

Mental illness is a mental health condition that negatively disrupts or changes our thoughts, behaviours and feelings. It can make functioning in daily activities and maintaining relationships difficult. It is an umbrella term to refer to all diagnosable mental disorders. Mental illness is treatable.

Read more (I have no affiliation with these websites):

American Psychiatric Association – What is Mental Illness?

Health Direct – Types of Mental Illness

Mindfulness

Courtesy of Greater Good Magazine: “Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.” It is about focusing our attention on acknowledging and accepting our present thoughts and emotions without judgement. Mindfulness provides an opportunity to understand ourselves and our needs better.

Mindset

Mindset is our mental attitude that determines our ideas, beliefs, values, philosophy and worldview. Our mindset is typically established through our social and cultural settings. In some cases, our communities may lead our mindset to perceive mental health practices in a negative light.

Shifting Mindset

A mindset shift is a shift or change of our minds. It allows us to be more critical of our current beliefs and accept different philosophies to support, manage and heal our mental health. A shift in mindset is required for mental health awareness.

Read More| 5 Steps to Create A Safe Space to Discuss Mental Health

Motivation

Motivation is the driving force behind setting goals and persevering through the necessary work to achieve them. Beyond having a major end goal, motivation can be maintained by setting and achieving small goals along our journey. Being able to track improvements and using personal rewards are effective motivators.

Process

The process is a sequence of steps and stages we follow to achieve our goal of overall improved mental health. Some steps of the process will be difficult (mentally, emotionally and possibly physically). And some stages will feel frustratingly stagnant as if we are not improving or healing. Trust the process, as every bit of work we put into our journey will pay off at some point.

Safe Space

A safe space is an area (whether a physical or social environment) in which a person feels free to be themselves. This means the space is welcoming, accepting, and free from bias, criticisms and risks of physical or emotional harm. And can include acceptance of different values, sexualities, mental health, etc. 

Read More| 5 Steps to Create a Safe Space to Discuss Mental Health

Self-Care

Self-care is literally caring for the self. It is a combination of activities we follow to support our good physical, mental (or psychological), emotional and spiritual (religious or not) health. Self-care requires positive daily habits to establish a healthy environment and lifestyle. And includes activities to help us handle stressors.

Self-Discovery

Self-discovery allows us to learn about who we are, separate from the opinions and values of our family, peer groups and culture, in order to follow our own path. The process will allow us to understand our personal feelings, thoughts, needs and priorities to become who we want to be. Self-discovery can include learning about our personality, identifying our strengths and weaknesses, unlearning limiting beliefs and behaviours, and growing self-confidence.

Read More| 5 Personality Quizzes for Personal Growth

Self-Love

Courtesy of Brain & Behavior: “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.” At its core, self-love means showing kindness to ourselves. It encourages us to prioritize our happiness and well-being rather than be lost in the needs and expectations of others. Self-love involves using positive inner thoughts, setting boundaries, treating ourselves respectfully, and nurturing our growth. It is neither selfish nor vain as prioritizing ourselves leaves us with a better capacity to support others.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Brain & Behavior – Self-Love and What It Means

Self-Work

Self-work is the work and effort we dedicate to improving ourselves. From setting goals to developing mental health strategies to seeking professional assistance, we must hold ourselves accountable to do the work before receiving the reward.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Hello Giggles – Here’s How You Can Start Your Self-Work Journey

Soothing

Soothing relieves pain or discomfort to create a feeling of calm. Different soothing methods may be used to target physical, mental, emotional or spiritual pain. Effective soothing techniques will differ from person to person, so it may be helpful to test multiple options and suggestions.

Read More| How to Self-Soothe During A Panic Attack

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Positive Psychology – 24 Best Self-Soothing Techniques and Strategies for Adults

Stigma

Courtesy of Better Health: “stigma is when someone sees you in a negative way because of your mental illness.” Stigma involves prejudice and discrimination that is often the result of misinformation, disinformation and deception. It may prevent people from seeking help, which will, in turn, cause mental illness to worsen. Always remember that mental illness is only one aspect of our identity, and everyone has a right to strive for good mental health.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Better Health – Stigma, discrimination and mental illness

Therapy

Therapy or counselling is the process of meeting with a trained and licensed mental health provider in a series of sessions. Sessions may be completed privately, as a couple or in a group as needed. The term “therapy” is surrounded by stigma. However, therapy is a very healthy activity for our mental well-being and is similar to seeking physical healthcare. Therapy benefits everyone, whether seeking treatment for a mental illness or looking to improve their overall mental health.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is therapy more specifically aimed at treating mental illness. A trained mental health professional may assist us in learning the cause of our condition and how to cope effectively. Psychotherapy is a clinical term we may choose to use while searching for an appropriate therapist. However, it is acceptable to refer to any form of therapy as therapy.

Glossary for Mental Health

Trauma

Courtesy of American Psychology Association: “trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event.” Physical or psychological symptoms may present immediately after the event or arise years later. Sometimes the traumatic response will be to forget specific details of the event, but our mind will still remember the danger. Psychotherapy can help unearth the details of the traumatic event to provide treatment.

Trigger

Courtesy of Healthline: “triggers are anything that might cause a person to recall a traumatic experience they’ve had.” Anything may trigger a memory of the event, including images, scents, sounds or someone discussing a similar experience. The trigger may cause minor to dangerous emotional or psychological pain. A minor reaction may be soothed with self-care and mental health strategies. However, a strong reaction may be dangerous to our safety and require help from a professional mental healthcare provider.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with this website):

Healthline – What It Really Means to Be Triggered

Trigger Warning (TW)

A trigger warning is often used on social media to indicate the content may be triggering. TW will be included at the top of the post and should be followed by the topic (i.e. TW: violence). The increasing use of trigger warnings is an example of the benefits of mental health awareness.

What other words should I add? Let me know in the comments below!

60 Hobbies For Introverts Seeking Calm and Focus

Introduction

During the pandemic, I was still living in South Korea. I had a small group of friends that I was very close with. But through 2021, restrictions got tight, and I went months without seeing them.

It was a bit of a bittersweet period to be an introvert. I could fully enjoy a level of alone time that I had always craved. But at some point, it also got to be super dull. Back then, I only had about four hobbies/pastimes, one of which was travelling and exploring new areas of Korea. Therefore, it was an exciting opportunity to learn and dedicate real time to developing new skills.

And I still feel inspired by that time to continue seeking new interests. Which brings me to this list of perfect pastimes, activities and hobbies for introverts. The list is a combination of hobbies I have tried and some still on my to-do list.

But why do we need a separate list of hobbies for introverts? Well, introverts can partake in any activity, sport or crowded event. But this list is intended for those hours when introverts need the calm and focus that solo hobbies offer.

Some of the suggested hobbies will require a class to start. I tried to narrow the list to pursuits that typically offer small group classes for beginners and may be done alone after that. Depending on your introversion level, this may either encourage or dissuade you from trying these hobbies.

| Read More: 10 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Pinterest Image: 60 Hobbies For Introverts

The list is split into themes so you can quickly skip to the category that interests you. Each hobby has a brief description and details of the cost, interactions and learning methods.

Explanation of the cost, interactions and learn classifications.

Cost: This considers initial costs to get started and how expensive the hobby can be over time. Some hobbies offer a price range to let you choose the best option for your wallet.

  • $: Free to <$300
  • $$: $300 to <$1,000
  • $$$: $1,000+

Interactions: This indicates the estimated level of face-to-face interactions associated with this hobby. Many will have an optional level of interaction (indicated by “or”) so you can choose what you are comfortable with. Some will depend on whether a beginner’s class is required (indicated by “,”).

  • Solo: A solo hobby
  • Limited: Some interactions including quiet classes or occasionally visiting shops
  • Heavy: Many interactions including heavily interactive classes or often visiting shops

Learn: Suggestions of various venues and mediums where you may learn the hobby.

Craft image displaying ribbon, scissors, thread, bows and clothes pins
© Pixelshot via Canva.com

Art, Crafts and DIY

This selection of introverted hobbies may also allow you to sell your products. At first glance, that may seem like an awful idea as it will require a lot of interactions. However, most sales may be made online, so it will only require communication via email. You may also try to sell items through an online shop like Etsy or Shopify to create a third-party barrier should that aid your comfort level.

1.    Photography

There are many branches of photography that may interest you. For example a photography hobby may include fashion, architecture, travel, landscape, portraits, and many more. I prefer nature photography, which is why every post on my website includes one of my nature photos. It may be done at home, around your town or in the wilderness. You may invest in a professional camera or take photos on your phone. You may also work alone or include friends or subjects.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Articles, Books

2.    Painting

Whether you want to paint murals, abstract pictures or graffiti, painting is incredibly relaxing. If you are curious about trying it for the first time but don’t want to spend much money, paint-by-number is very popular once again. Or, if you already enjoy painting but feel like you’re in a slump, a motivating painter challenge is to recreate a famous painting in your style. Or try experimenting with new techniques. The expense of painting will depend on your chosen medium. Online painting classes and tutorials are widely available. One option to keep your painting hobby inexpensive would be to paint on sketch paper before painting on canvas.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Online or In-Person Class, Instagram

3.    Ceramics

Pottery is a difficult art form for first timers to attempt solo. This mainly has to do with the equipment (the cost of the wheel and kiln alone are hefty); therefore, a ceramics class will be the best option to get you started. Once you know the basics, try to find a local community kiln that you may use. My city has a ceramics shop open to all ceramicists/potters/throwers to pay a monthly fee and use their facilities. But they do require a class to be completed before a membership will be issued. If you really enjoy this hobby, you may invest in the equipment and be able to do create at home.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: In-Person Class, YouTube

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Pottery Crafters – Is Pottery An Expensive Hobby?

4.    Calligraphy

Calligraphy or lettering is art created with decorative handwriting. It may be practiced following YouTube tutorials, and free worksheets are available online. The cost of this hobby will depend on the pens you choose to use: felt tip pens, fountain pens or dip pens. To experiment before you buy, hacks on YouTube can teach you how to do lettering with just a regular marker. With practice, you can make artistic signs, creative bullet journals, and write letters with your calligraphy skills.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Tutorials, YouTube, Instagram, Worksheets

5.    Perfume Making

Perfume making is a diverse hobby. Perhaps you may be interested in learning the history of perfume making and the science behind fragrance mixing. Or maybe you are allergic to scents (as I am) and want to DIY a natural perfume that won’t trigger your allergies. Using essential oils, natural fragrances and a little experimentation, you can create unique scents. There are kits to get you started on your new hobby and various websites that provide tips and tricks. The expense of this hobby will depend on how far you decide to dive in. And this hobby may be learned in total seclusion or with a friend.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Reddit, Blogs

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Hobby Know How – Complete Guide To Perfume Making As A Hobby

6.    Soap Making

A popular pastime for those looking for natural soaps or who have sensitive skin. This hobby will allow you to experiment with the ingredients, fragrances and soap making process. You can also be creative with various soap moulds and designs. How you create your soap will vary, so it’s possible to keep this a cheap hobby. The ingredients for making soap are also readily available at many craft stores. You can begin with kits before investing in the ingredients. Soap making will require the use of caustic substances so be careful.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Reddit, Blogs, YouTube

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Discover A Hobby – Learn About Soap Making

| Learn More: Crafts Bliss – Is Soap Making An Expensive Hobby

7.    Candle Making

The process of candle making may help you to re-establish your calm, while lighting the candle can help you to unwind. Even the learning process is beneficial as candle-making videos are very relaxing. Once you begin, you may learn to create various designs, sizes and wax melt. Or perhaps you are interested in experimenting with scents and different wicks. The materials for this hobby are available in hobby shops and craft stores. Please keep in mind that you will be dealing with hot wax on a stove so take proper precautions not to injure yourself.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Reddit, Blogs, YouTube, Books

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Pro Flowers – How To Make Candles In 8 Easy Steps

8.    Knitting And Crochet

Knitting and crochet are hobbies for the young and old alike. I often hear that crochet is easier than knitting, but as is my lot in life, I have found the complete opposite to be true. This means that either option is a great place to start. Learn from your grandparents, parents, friends, a book or a YouTube video. Patterns and yarn are readily available in stores and online. A downside to this hobby is that you will need various needle and hook sizes for different projects, which can add up quite quickly. Before committing to an array of sizes, try a US size 8 needle or 5 mm hook. You will be able to create a variety of designs with this size while deciding if the hobby is for you. I would also recommend buying yarn in person to ensure you like the colour and feel.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Books, Tutorials

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Knitting Knowledge – Knitting Vs Crochet

9.    Pyrography (Wood Burning)

Pyrography or wood burning is an art form. You can burn portraits, designs and letters onto wood using specialized tools. It is a very slow hobby requiring patience and a steady hand to create the designs. But it is will also allow you to challenge your artistic side and craft cool gifts for special occasions. There are books and YouTube videos to get you started. The cost of the hobby is dependent on both the tools and wood. A beginner’s kit should include the pyrography pen. A class is not required, but be cautious when handling and storing the pen.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Kits, Books, Tutorials

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: M. M. Newman – Essential Wood Burning Tool Tips For Your Next Pyrography Project

10.  Scrapbooking and Card Making

Paper crafts will always be popular, ensuring the tools and materials will always be available. Scrapbooking makes an excellent keepsake for all your interests and adventures. It doesn’t only have to be for personal photos as you may also scrapbook for your favourite band, book or TV show. And card making will allow you to donate cards to charities such as assisted living facilities and military service members. Free videos and paid classes are available online. This is an expensive hobby. Aside from the cost of paper are all the stamps, stencils, die cuts, and tools you will need. However, some companies offer kits with all the materials you may need to create a few designs.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Kits, Online Class

11.  Quilting

Quilting is an excellent enterprise for anyone interested in sewing. You can start with small projects and progress into creating quilted blankets and wall hangings. It will require time and patience to complete your projects, so it is not a desirable hobby for anyone who needs quick results. Quilting is an expensive hobby as material, thread, a sewing machine and accessories are required. Also, a long-arm quilting machine may be required for more elaborate designs. Some companies in Canada provide long-arm quilting services, so check if similar services are offered near you.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Online Class, Books, Reddit

12.  3D Printing

If you’re looking for a technical hobby that will provide both fun and practical results, 3D printing is it! You can create projects for your fandom or everyday household items. There is a learning curve that will keep the hobby interesting. This hobby will require many skills and a lot of trial and error. The cost varies greatly depending on the material and design being printed, and the type of 3D printer if you choose to purchase one. The hobby will require limited interactions if you do not purchase your own printer. Please be aware that the machines can be dangerous if not handled and cleaned correctly.

Cost: $$$-$$$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: Books, Blogs, YouTube

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Printing It 3D – Is 3D Printing A Fun Hobby?

| Learn More: Printing It 3D – How Hard is 3D Printing?

13.  Repairing Items

Here is another worthwhile hobby for anyone who enjoys taking things apart to understand how they work. Taking apart electronics to clean or replace parts and then rebuild them is a popular hobby. The objects that you want or need to repair can be found around your home, borrowed from your friends’ homes or purchased from thrift stores. Therefore the cost of the hobby is relatively manageable aside from the tools you will need (predominantly screwdrivers and cleaning materials) plus the replacement parts. Repairing electronics is also a hobby that can earn you money. The level of interactions will depend on where and how you find objects to repair.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Books, Reddit

14.  Furniture Restoration

Taking drabby-looking furniture and giving it a new life is both fascinating and creative. Restoring furniture requires a lot of tough hands-on work. Perhaps you will be stripping paint, sanding wood or reupholstering chairs. YouTube is an excellent resource for seeing step-by-step tutorials for repairing furniture. When considering the cost of this hobby, it is essential to factor in the materials needed to make the repairs and how much you could sell the refurbished furniture for. Many people will sell old furniture for significantly reduced costs depending on its condition. And once you’ve made it beautiful again, you may increase the value of that piece. To accumulate furniture and materials will require many in-person interactions. However, the restoration work may be completed solo.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo, Heavy

Learn: YouTube, Books, Reddit

15.  Homebrew Wine and Beer

Kits to create your own wine and beer can be found in many specialty shops. Starter kits include all the equipment, ingredients and instructions you need to start brewing. And after you get familiar with the craft, you can leap into creating your signature brews. You can also be creative with designing labels for your bottled product. Remember that you cannot legally sell homemade wine or beer in Canada, but you may gift it.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kit, Books

16.  Thrifting and Upcycling

If you are interested in helping the planet, ending fast fashion and reducing items sent to landfills, upcycling is the perfect hobby for you! Yes, you will need to leave your house to venture out to a thrift store. However, thrift stores are an excellent place to shop with limited interactions. You will want to look closely through every item available at a thrift store, which takes time. Therefore the staff will usually leave you alone to search through the shelves and racks. Try to look for the potential behind each item, whether you want to refurbish it or create a new art project. Thrifting is a low-cost hobby unless you are looking for vintage pieces.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Tutorials

17.  Special Effects (SFX) Make-Up

Ideas and inspiration for make-up can be found everywhere. Whether you are interested in the artistry of make-up or are a movie fan, learning how to create SFX is a mesmerizing hobby. You can use books and online tutorials to apply make-up to your face and body or purchase a practice head. Everyday make-up is not cheap, so you will find SFX make-up some of the most expensive on the market. However, face and body paint kits for beginners are available. Materials are available online.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Tutorials, Books

18.  Musical Instrument

Assuming you are patient and willing to practice, learning to play a musical instrument is one of the most relaxing hobbies you can try. Most beginner sets will come with a music book and guide for learning the notes. Depending on your chosen instrument, you may also find music pages online for your favourite songs. The cost of this hobby will depend on which instrument you choose. Some appealing instruments to try if you are anxious are piano/keyboard, kalimba, ukulele and steel tongue drum. You may choose to learn alone or take private lessons.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: By Doing, Online/In-Person Class, Books

Laptop with floating icons demonstrating learning
© Anyaberkut via Canva.com

Education

Some of the educational hobbies I will mention will take you into exploring nature and ecosystems. To ensure such pursuits are not damaging to the environment, please ensure you stick to observing rather than collecting samples or removing animals from their natural habitats.

19.  Language Learning

Depending on your goals, you cannot learn a new language entirely alone. To practice your pronunciation and communication skills (listening and speaking), you should practice with another student or native speaker. That being said, the basics can be learned alone so you can become proficient in reading and writing. Learning the alphabet, vocabulary, grammar and simple expressions can be done with a good textbook. For tips and tricks for learning a new language, try to find some polyglots (multilingual people) to follow online and ask questions on a site like Quora. Some interesting languages to try as a native English speaker are French, Spanish, Korean, and American Sign Language.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Textbooks, Online/In-Person Class, Quora, YouTube

20.  Genealogy or Ancestry

Genealogy and ancestry are the studies of family history and lineage. These are excellent hobbies for researchers and anyone interested in learning about their heritage or tracing the lineage of a famous family. As a hobby, genealogy does not require DNA testing. Instead, it can be accomplished through reading old letters and diaries, searching for images and videos, and collecting family records. The information could be used to create a family tree or a history book to share with your family. This will remain an inexpensive hobby unless you seek professional help, including subscription websites and DNA testing.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Books, Websites, Blogs, Subscriptions

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

|Learn More: Smarter Hobby – Genealogy for Beginners

21.  Amateur Astronomy

I think it’s part of human nature to be fascinated by the sky and the space beyond. An amateur astronomist can study the sky to learn more about what’s out there. Stargazing may be done with a dark sky and binoculars or a telescope. As most cities have too much light pollution to see the stars, this hobby will also give you an excellent excuse to get out of town. Along with researching NASA’s website, you can learn about astronomy by joining online groups. Perhaps you’ll even make a discovery and get to name it! Astronomy is a low-cost hobby to start and will depend on how much you are willing to invest in stargazing materials.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Websites, Books, Blogs, Reddit

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Sky And Telescope – Astronomy for Beginners

22.  Botany

Botany is a branch of science dedicated to studying plants (my apologies to any botanists for oversimplifying their area of study). However, botany can also be a hobby. From reading various plant books, keeping photographs, maps, and diagrams, to partaking in botanical expeditions, a botany hobby can allow you to learn and explore flora from around the world. I will encourage anyone exploring this hobby to leave their collections as photographs and hand-drawn diagrams rather than taking samples. Perhaps you may also be interested in creating a journal with images and notes of your observations to make this a creative hobby. For beginners, a lot of free information for your research may be found online.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Websites, Books, Blogs, Reddit

23.  Birdwatching

Classic and simple. Birdwatching can be done from home or out in nature. It is a very quiet and patient hobby. Start with birds around your area. Purchase a book because it’s a faster and more portable resource than searching online. Most birding books will include a reference guide with excellent pictures, details of the birds, areas they can be found and other interesting information. You may choose to purchase binoculars or a camera with a high-powered lens. Or you may simply sit and document your observations.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Books, Online Live Feeds, Forums

24.  Herping

If you are someone who likes snakes, lizards, frogs, salamanders, turtles, etc., this is right up your alley! Herping will take you outside in search of reptiles and amphibians. Start by learning about these creatures in your area, and perhaps, one day, it will give you an excuse to trek around the world. It is relatively cost-effective as you don’t require many materials. And there is a strong online community for herpetology and herping.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Websites, Books, Reddit

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Cornell Wildlife Health Lab – What The Heck Is Herping?

Roast chicken potatoes and greens being removed from an oven
© Nerudol via Canva.com

Food

Everyone loves food! Whether you wish to share your culinary skills or horde them, these hobbies are fun, delicious and practical.

25.  Baking

Baking is comforting, from mixing ingredients to the smell wafting from the oven to eating the goodies while they’re still warm. Is there anything better? Many YouTube channels show the step-by-step baking process for those learning to bake for the first time. Follow the tutorials and see where your new passion will take you! If you’re an avid baker, try to give yourself a challenge, such as baking your way through a recipe book or doing theme baking. What could you bake for an adventure theme?

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Recipe Books, Kits, YouTube, Pinterest, Blogs, In-Person or Online Classes

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: This Is Money – The Great Bargain Bake Off

26.  Cooking

I am not a good cook. I cook to keep myself alive, but I neither enjoy it nor make mouth-watering meals. However, I have a desire to get better. And knowing myself, a cooking class will serve me best as it will hold me accountable. For others who are not oversized children, you may find a world of recipes and tutorials online to get you started on your cooking hobby. Similar to baking, you could challenge yourself to cook your way through a recipe book, try a 30-day, 30 meals challenge or seek new prep meal ideas. This hobby’s expense will depend on the cost of ingredients and cooking equipment. When choosing your equipment, consider what you are paying for and how often you will use it. The most expensive equipment is not always the best so do your research.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: Cookbooks, YouTube, Blogs, In-Person or Online Classes

27.  Grilling

Contrary to popular opinion, grilling can be done year-round if you are dedicated enough. Even in the freezing depths of winter, an avid griller may be willing to spark up their grill. Take ideas from grilling websites and cookbooks and try experimenting with different types of food to create your own specialties. Grilling allows you to make a small amount of food, so it is an excellent hobby to feed one person. It is also mindful and educational. An electric grill is very affordable, but meat can be expensive. Take proper safety precautions and do not use an outdoor grill inside. 

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Cookbooks, YouTube, Blogs, Reddit

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: ATGrills – Can Grilling Be A Hobby?

| Learn More: BBQ Reboot – Grilling! The Best Hobby You Can Have

28.  Can and Preserve Food

Preserving food is valuable for areas where certain foods are only available seasonally. Preserves also make excellent gifts. To begin preserving and canning food, you will want to invest in the appropriate recipe books. Materials for canning can be found in your kitchen or purchased at a grocery store. The cost of the hobby is offset by the savings you will accrue for not having to buy imported fruits and vegetables or toss spoiled produce.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Cookbooks, YouTube, Blogs, Podcasts

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Money Crashers – Home Canning 101

Man taking a rest from backpacking, sitting on a rock and looking into the distance
© Pexels–2286921 via Canva.com

Nature and Trekking

Yes, trekking offers many hobbies for introverts. However, if you are trekking alone, be sure to give your route and location to someone, check in with a park ranger (or similar), follow trails and have some form of tracking or emergency device. Put safety first, and then have fun! Also, please leave nature as undisturbed as possible so that your hobby does not negatively impact the environment. 

29.  Gardening

I live in Canada, so it can feel like gardening is a limited-time activity, but not necessarily. Aside from creating a beautiful garden outdoors, you may also wish to venture into creating your own greenhouse or an indoor garden. Having a lot of thriving green around the house can lighten the spirit. And should you choose to grow vegetables or herbs, you may save a little on your grocery bill. I will warn that if you have pets or young children in your home, give special attention to the types of plants you grow. This hobby has a lot of front-end costs that pay off as you go so I consider it to be inexpensive. You may need to interact with nursery staff to learn about and purchase materials for your plants.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: YouTube, Blogs, TikTok, Podcasts

30.  Tree Shaping

Tree shaping is a slow hobby that will allow you to grow trees into artistic shapes. It is also called arborsculpture. Research and practice will be needed to learn how to graft, bend and shape the tree into your desired shape. It can take years to realize your design fully. Young trees and simple gardening tools are required for this art form. I was not able to find clear details on how expensive this hobby may be. However, as it requires regular gardening tools, it appears to be low-cost.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo, Limited

Learn: Books, Blogs

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Gardening Know How – Arborsculpture Gardens

31.  Beekeeping

This is a hobby I am fascinated by but cannot partake in due to a phobia and my allergy to beeswax. Beekeeping involves creating a hive and caring for a honeybee colony. Apart from producing honey, beekeeping is educational, rewarding for the environment, and is described as incredibly calming. As you will be caring for other creatures, I strongly advise you to get in touch with a local beekeeper to learn everything you must do. The materials needed for beekeeping will be an investment so they may also give advice on where to get the best items for your money. Fair warning, stings will happen, but maybe consider them lovebites.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Limited

Learn: Blogs, Articles, Books, Local Beekeepers

32.  Geocaching

Geocaching is a modern-day treasure hunt that allows you to belong to a community without interacting with others face-to-face. A cache is a waterproof container with either a logbook or a trinket inside. You will need a navigation system (like a GPS or compass) to locate the geocache and good walking or hiking shoes. Many websites allow you to purchase the map to their geocache or log the geocaches you find. You also have the option of creating a geocache for others to find. All interactions may be done online unless you choose to invite friends along.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Blogs, Websites, Reddit

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Human Kinetics – Learn About The Benefits of Geocaching

33.  Benchmarking

A benchmark is any kind of reference marker used to indicate an elevation. As a hobby, people will search for and record these benchmarks. Benchmarking is a geocaching branch requiring similar items (GPS, map, compass, etc.). Information for finding benchmarks is readily available online with websites dedicated to the hobby. It is low-cost and allows you to venture around your country.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Blogs, Websites, Reddit

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Coast Defense – The Benchmark Hunting Hobby

| Learn More: Geocaching – Benchmark Hunting

34.  Hiking and Snowshoeing

Hiking may be accomplished on any trails that are available near you. Sometimes hiking trails can take you around the outskirts of your city, or you may pursue challenging courses across your country. Snowshoeing is a similar hobby, except it may be done anywhere there is snow. Both are incredibly mindful activities that provide a challenge and sense of accomplishment. Equipment includes boots, snowshoes, backpack, walking poles (optional), comfortable clothes and a first aid kit.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, Instagram, Books, YouTube

35.  Camping

Whether for a day, week, month or longer, camping in the woods is a great experience. Nothing beats the relaxation of rain dripping on the tent (assuming it’s a good waterproof tent). Plus, you can enjoy other camping activities, including swimming, hiking and a campfire. Camping is not a cheap hobby and requires a lot of equipment. Ask to borrow from friends for your first excursion. You may also try camping in your backyard before planning an overnight trip.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Blogs, Instagram, Podcasts

36.  Foraging

This hobby will take a lot of careful research. Some plants are very poisonous, and you must pay special attention to ensure they are correctly identified. You will need an excellent reference book and may learn how and where to forage by researching local websites. Part of foraging is learning how to cook what you find, which is another fun aspect of the hobby. Other foragers may give you tips on YouTube and Instagram. The hobby is cheap. But again, remember that many people have died because they misidentified something, so I urge you to be very careful about anything you put in your body.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Books, Blogs, YouTube, Instagram

37.  Fishing

Fishing requires quiet and calm whether you fish alone or with others. It comes with many costs. First, you will need a permit to fish in most regions. Then you also need a rod and tackle. And a fishing boat is optional to buy or rent. Fishing may also be done off a pier or dock. If you are an avid fisherman, you may also be interested in flyfishing and ice fishing.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Instagram, Books

38.  Backpacking

Backpacking is a multi-day hike involving camping. Backpacking is different from camping as the number of supplies you may bring is greatly limited to what you can carry. You will find great tips online for what you should bring and do during a backpacking trip, including basic survival skills. If you are an avid backpacker and enjoy learning how to live off the land, perhaps you may also explore bushcraft skills. Backpacking materials can be costly, but it’s also a hobby that you don’t want to cheap out on.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Blogs, Books, Instagram

Woman tying shoelace before going for a run
© Rattanakun via Canva.com

Sport and Fitness

You may wish to hire a trainer to become familiar with the equipment and proper movements needed for your pastime. And please know that your trainer may touch you to adjust your positions. The cost of your classes will depend on whether you choose private lessons or small group classes. It can be a little scary to join a class, but it may be an activity to help expand your comfort zone. Please consult your doctor before beginning a new fitness regimen.

39.  Chess

Chess is a sport that provides a venue for research, focus, strategizing and competition. And it can be learned and played in total solitude. You may play chess against yourself or a computer. Should you choose to participate in chess games, they can be played in total silence with the interaction strictly kept on the board. If you are a complete beginner, start learning the different chess pieces and how they may move across the board. Chat on forums to help you grow your skills.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Books, Apps, YouTube, Blogs

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Wargamer – How To Play Chess For Beginners

40.  Dancing

I think everyone dances regardless of skill level, and that’s a great thing! Put on your favourite music and give in to it. It’s a great exercise if you just need an excuse to get up and move. Or you can learn actual routines. Multiple YouTube channels break down routines into easy-to-follow tutorials. Or, if you are interested in truly learning to dance, look for adult dance classes in your town.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Online or In-Person Classes

41.  Skipping/Jumping Rope

Exercise is a beneficial pastime for your body and mind. Skipping is relatively easy to start considering the rope’s low cost. With jumping rope, you can create routines, try setting records and learn tricks. If you’ve never skipped rope before, have no fear! You may get hit with the rope a few times, but once you get the rhythm, it’s fun!

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Instagram

42.  Roller Skating

Perhaps roller skating is becoming popular again due to nostalgia or because it’s a ton of fun! You will be able to get exercise, learn tricks and take green transportation. For those who are already avid ice and inline skaters, you may consider adding this hobby to your skill set. For new roller skaters, start with a helmet and all the necessary guards and padding. You will fall, and it will hurt, but there’s no other way to learn. Before you learn tricks, check YouTube to figure out how to move forward, backward and, most importantly, stop! The cost of the hobby will depend on the skates you purchase. There may be limited interactions if you choose to skate outside, and potentially heavier interactions if you use a skate park.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo or Limited or Heavy

Learn: By Doing, YouTube, Instagram

43.  Yoga

Yoga is an excellent means of self-care; it creates a sense of calm and overall feels therapeutic. And you can start with 1 of 7 popular branches of yoga, depending on your goals and interests. Yoga classes can be followed online. However, an in-person class is very beneficial for beginners to ensure you perform the poses correctly. During the class, everyone is quiet and you can choose to participate or not in small talk before or after class. The materials for yoga are relatively inexpensive. You can get by with just a mat and some loose clothing.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: YouTube, In-Person or Online Classes, Books

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Live Science – 7 Most Popular Types Of Yoga

44.  Pilates

Pilates provides a means to relax tense muscles and strengthen your body. It is a great exercise that you will feel the next day. Pilates exercises may be found on YouTube, and most will not require equipment besides a yoga mat. Pilates machines are also available for those dedicated to this exercise but are not necessary for beginners.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: YouTube, In-Person or Online Classes, Books

45.  Swimming

Swimming is a very solitary activity. I have always found being in water relieves a lot of anxiety. Apart from swimming laps, you may also challenge yourself to learn different strokes or set time goals. If you have never swam before, try taking a class. Swimming classes are still very solitary aside from interacting with the trainer. Once you finish your swimming classes, you can leave the pool and start swimming in lakes and the ocean. Expenses include your bathing suit and access to a pool.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: In-Person Classes

46.  Archery

Archery is an excellent sport that provides introverts with focus and solitude. Before taking a class, you may study archery and learn about the equipment online. Archery ranges are available in many cities and provide classes, rental gear and space to practice. It may be possible to practice archery at home, but you will need to check the regulations in your region and ensure you create a safe practice area. Archery can be a solo activity, or you may choose to join a club or team. Archery requires a fair amount of equipment, but you may choose whether to buy or rent.

Cost: $$

Interactions: Solo or Limited or Heavy

Learn: In-Person Classes, Books, Reddit

I have no affiliation with these websites, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Complete Guide To Archery – Archery For Beginners

| Learn More: Archers Hub – Practicing Archery At Home Or Indoors

47.  Walking, Jogging or Running

A free and semi-easy hobby to get into, you can choose the best cardio exercise for your health and ability. I walk as I have a bad knee. To pursue this hobby, you may choose to set goals for a certain number of steps or distances. There are also online distance competitions where you can track your exercise and win medals. It is important to be aware of your surroundings, stay safe and try not to do these exercises alone at night. This is a completely solo activity. The expense depends on the price of the shoes and clothing, including a good hat for sunny days.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing

48.  Fantasy Sports

For anyone who wants to share their love of sports but would rather watch games alone, this one’s for you! Fantasy sports leagues are available online. A fantasy sport allows you to invent a team full of your favourite, real athletes. Your team will then compete to earn points based on the real-world statistics of those players throughout their season. Assuming you partake in this hobby strictly online, you do not need to interact physically with anyone. Though some leagues do meet in person. The cost will depend on the league and sport you choose. Many leagues require a buy-in fee.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo or Heavy

Learn: Reddit, Websites

Close up of a microphone with a laptop, notebook and desk in the background
© Luza Studios via Canva.com

Niche Interests

This collection of hobbies are any that I felt did not fit the other categories. Part of this is because diverse interests may spur any of these activities.

49.  Puzzles

My favourite occupation when recovering from an introvert hangover is listening to an audiobook while doing a puzzle. The options for puzzles are quite extensive between themes, the number of pieces and varying skill levels. You can find 3D puzzles, shape puzzles and story puzzles. There is also a wide price range, but the majority are low cost. Try searching for a group that does puzzle swaps to help save you some money.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: By Doing, TikTok

50.  Blogging

Blogging is an excellent resource for introverts who have trouble articulating their thoughts into speech. It allows you to reach out and find others who share your interests (comic books, cooking, fashion, journaling, etc.). You can start a free WordPress blog for fun. Or pay for a domain and hosting to try to monetize your hobby, but know that it can get expensive. If you have some ideas and stories to share, give it a try.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Tutorials, Online Classes, Facebook Groups

51.  Gaming

This option is going to be all-inclusive. Whether you enjoy online gaming, board games, puzzle games or role-playing games, you can make it into a proper hobby. Yes, you will need at least one partner for some of these. However, you can also play all of these almost entirely online. Find a group of online friends you can play with and schedule game breaks. Sometimes the best friends we will ever have are those we meet online. But I must caution you not to give any personal information (including birthdate, full name, address or banking details) to anyone you meet online.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo or Limited

Learn: Discord, Forums, Apps, Reddit, By Doing

52.  Tarot Reading

Tarot has always been popular but unfortunately not well-respected. That feeling seems to be changing as tarot decks become more readily available and tarot readers have books, podcasts and YouTube channels. The basis of tarot is to ask a question, draw a card, and interpret its meaning. For some people, it’s just a bit of fun; for others, it provides excellent insight and aids in their decision-making. Your hobby could be learning how to interpret the cards, collecting tarot decks or appreciating the art history of tarot. It’s a fascinating and welcoming community to get involved in, should this pique your interest. any tarot decks include a book explaining each card. And depending on the deck(s) you purchase, it can be inexpensive.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Instagram, Podcasts, Books

53.  Podcast Hosting

As blogging serves introverts who are better in writing, podcasts serve verbal storytellers who have a limited social battery. It’s a long-standing misconception that introverts do not like to speak. They do. A lot. But they need to have a particular topic they are interested in to get going. A podcast is perfect for this effort. Once you find your niche, you can share your passion and knowledge with anyone interested enough to listen and subscribe. Getting started has a few upfront costs, including a good microphone and editing software. But everything else you want to know about creating a podcast can be found online. You also have the option of hosting solo or with an online partner.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Podcasts, Books, Blogs, YouTube

54.  Book Club

Book lovers unite separately and in your own homes. Book clubs can be hosted online. You can find and create book clubs for any genre and age group. Online book clubs also allow you to opt-out of the reading for that week or month if you are too busy or not interested in the book. It will help you to tackle your TBR and give you a group of people to gush over or bash a book with. Joining a book club should always be free, though I understand a read-along may be hosted on Patreon for a fee. The cost of this hobby will depend on whether you have a library card or prefer hardcover over paperback.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Reddit, YouTube, TikTok

55.  Lockpicking

If you enjoy challenging puzzles, lockpicking is a useful hobby to pick up. Keep in mind that you must use your new hobby for good! Some activities within lockpicking that may pique your interest are learning how to pick everyday locks, completing timed challenges and competing in lockpicking competitions. The required skills may be learned with videos online. It is a solitary hobby that doesn’t require any interaction with others. The tools needed for lockpicking are cheap.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: YouTube, Books, By Doing

56.  Building A PC

You may be under the assumption that building your PC is too tricky. However, it is so popular that many YouTube videos and blogs provide step-by-step instructions for building an assortment of PCs. Think about what you want your PC for and begin your search. This hobby will require patience, focus and time. It is not cheap, with the combined price of parts totalling anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. You may try to reduce the costs by waiting for parts to go on sale. Aside from interacting in online forums, this hobby can be pursued alone.

Cost: $$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Books

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Tech Radar – How To Build A PC

57.  Remote Control Cars

RC cars are not just for children. You may buy a kit with instructions and parts to build your RC car. Many kits also come with customized features to suit your style. After making your car, you may create tracks to race on. RC cars are large, so you will want to ensure you also have space to display them. There is a good price range per car, so you may find a few options to suit your wallet. You may join an online community, a club or just enjoy the hobby alone.

Cost: $$-$$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Kits, YouTube, Books

I have no affiliation with this YouTube channel, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: RCDriver_Online – You Should Build An RC Car Kit (YouTube)

58.  Letter Writing

For those born after 1995, the chances that you have ever sent or received a letter are reasonably small. And I think that actually makes letter writing a fascinating niche hobby. Receiving a physical letter that someone took time and care to craft is incredible. And it becomes a keepsake. Letter writing provides you with a chance to be mindful and meditative. You may write letters to friends and family, find a pen pal or send letters to assisted living facilities and military personnel. Everything you need to know about the format of a letter and prompts to get you started can be found online. This is a cheap hobby to start but can quickly become expensive depending on how many pens, stationery sets and accessories you choose to buy. Interaction solely takes place through the letters.

Cost: $-$$

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Pinterest

I have no affiliation with this website, but found the information they provide to be useful.

| Learn More: Introvert Dear – Why Letter Writing Is An Ideal Introvert Hobby

59.  Collection

Whatever you are interested in, collect it. Your collection can be anything from figures to books to purses to sets to albums to anything you choose. You are guaranteed to find other collectors through a quick search on Google or Reddit. Collectibles may be found in local stores, online stores, auction sites, estate sales, through trades and at conventions. How much you spend will depend on what you collect, so it’s best to start with some research. Online interactions are possible and likely necessary. If you need to go to estate sales and conventions, my experience has been that people usually leave you alone to do your own thing.

Cost: $-$$$

Interactions: Solo or Limited or Heavy

Learn: YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Reddit, Forums, Blogs

60.  Creative Writing

Write a book, short story, poetry, play, children’s book, fan fiction, etc. Do you have to be a good writer? No. Do you have to share your stories? No. Is writing a gratifying and absorbing activity? Definitely, yes. Perhaps you will discover a real passion and talent for writing. There are also online shops that will print and bind a copy of your work so you can also display it on your shelf. Or, if you’re confident in your product, you can send it to a publisher and start a new career. Writing for fun is free and may be accomplished with the tools that most people already have (a computer, notebook and pen, printer, etc.). Writing is a solo activity with the option of sharing with others.

Cost: $

Interactions: Solo

Learn: Blogs, YouTube, Pinterest

Pinterest Image: 60 new hobbies for introverts to try

What are your favourite hobbies? Have you tried any that I mentioned? Share your experience in the comments below.

5 Personality Quizzes for Personal Growth

We all have a fascination with personality quizzes.

We enjoy measuring our compatibility, discovering our spirit animal, and finding our Hogwarts house (I’m Hufflepuff, y’all!). 

Regardless of the test, receiving a general assessment of our personality is incredibly interesting.

But their value goes beyond simple fun as they are a considerable resource for personal growth.

And the internet is awash with easy quizzes created by psychologists for this exact use.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, psychologist, therapist or similar. This blog offers ideas, tools, strategies and recommendations based on my experience with anxiety, panic attacks and mental health. I do not guarantee any results or outcomes as strategies that have worked for me may not work for you. For diagnosis and treatment of any physical and mental health condition, consult a licensed professional.

5 free personality quizzes to start your self-discovery

Quizzes to Support a Personal Growth Journey

Personality tests offer a unique outsider’s perspective to help us be introspective and self-analyze.

By answering a few questions at the start of our journey, we can discover strengths and weaknesses that we might not realize we have.

Once we identify the areas we want to focus on and improve, we can set our goals.

Then we can judge our progress by retaking the tests during the journey.

5 Free Personality Quizzes

Below is a list of 5 personality quizzes that I have found most informative on my journey.

(I have no affiliation with these websites. And please note that the links will take you away from the Introvert Proofing website, and you will be subject to the Privacy Policy of those individual websites.)

All the quizzes provide a test and free, basic results. However, I will indicate anywhere additional fees may be required for in-depth results.

I have ordered the list based on the amount of free information offered on each website.

Guidelines for Completing the Quizzes

The quizzes are all multiple choice, and there are no wrong answers. To get the best results:

  1. Answer honestly and with the first answer that comes to mind.
  2. Do not overthink your responses.
  3. Do not try to answer based on what you think you should choose.

Once you have your results, think about the traits you identify with—positive and negative. Again, these are general results, so some characteristics may not apply to you. Now you can begin to focus on those traits you want to improve.

How do personality quizzes support your journey? 1. A unique outsider's perspective. 2. Discover hidden strengths and weaknesses. 3. Provide focus to set goals. 4. Track progress.

Grab yourself a beverage and get comfy; it’s time to discover who you are.

1.      16Personalities

This quiz takes roughly 10 minutes to complete.

The amount of free information on the website is rather impressive. For example, each personality type includes data for the following categories: introduction, strengths and weaknesses, romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood, career paths, workplace habits, and conclusion. Some free articles and a newsletter subscription are also available.

For more detailed information, you may pay for a premium profile. There are 3 one-time payment options that all provide an e-book specific to your personality type and access to their web content for 1 year:

  1. Basic: $29.00
  2. Basic plus access to additional tests $49.00
  3. Basic plus access to additional tests and all 16 personality e-books $169.00.

With this quiz, I learned that I am an INFJ-T, a rare personality type. It explains many of my struggles and reveals some pretty impressive strengths!

2.      Interpersonal Skills Self-Assessment

This quiz from Skills You Need takes about 15 minutes to complete.

The results are completely free. You will have the option to receive the results via email, or you may skip that option and copy/paste the results into a saveable document.

Interpersonal skills are all about how we interact with other people. And this quiz provides our percentage scores in the following categories: listening skills, emotional intelligence, verbal communication, and communicating in groups.

The results provide links to their pages with further information on developing these skills.

This quiz was important for my journey as I am very introverted. And to have the experiences I always dreamed of, I needed to identify the skills I lack.

I ranked well in emotional intelligence but need to improve in group communication. I’m working on it.

| Read more: Are Introverts Rude?

3.      Who Am I? Visual DNA

This quiz takes 10 minutes to complete.

I find this quiz format quite interesting as it provides pictures for you to react, analyze and respond to.

The results are completely free. You will receive a printable PDF showing the percentages you scored under 5 categories. And each category then explains what this means about your personality.

Note: To keep this test free, they ask that you do a brand/advertising test. It is completely optional and can be skipped to take you directly to your results. But they are well-worth the support.

The website does not provide additional information beyond the PDF. However, I like it as an interesting assessment.

This quiz encouraged me to share my journey and start my blog.

4.      Enneagram

This quiz from Truity takes 10-15 minutes to complete.

The free results are presented in a pie chart showing which personality type you most identify with.

A full 18-page report of your test results is available for $29.00.

However, the website also provides information for all 9 enneagram personalities, including their personality types, core values, relationships, and tips for growth. Read more

Enneagram is also very trendy at the moment, so you may find additional information for your number through an online search.

I’ve taken this quiz twice over a several-month period. My initial result was a 9, and my second a 1.

5.      Emotional Intelligence Test

This quiz from Psychology Today takes 45 minutes to complete.

The test offers situations and asks how you would respond in order to assess your self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and social skills.

I am a firm believer that EQ is influential in personal growth, mental health, and relationships.

The results are provided with a rating out of 100 and one paragraph explaining if you’re doing well or not. So not a whole lot of free information.

However, a full report is available for $9.95.

I recently scored an 81 for my ability to read others’ emotions and understand myself. Unfortunately, I had taken this quiz earlier in my journey but did not document my results at that time. And I don’t want to speculate on a number. However, I do know that my score has improved!

Personality Quizzes for Personal Growth

Summary

I hope that you will find these quizzes fun and informative.

Maybe the results will surprise you, and you can better understand who you are.

As for your journey, I hope your results will help you to celebrate your strengths, identify your weaknesses and set your personal growth goals.

Have you used any personality quizzes during your journey? Please share them in the comments below!

Generate Positivity With Affirmations

What’s the state of your internal monologue? Are you encouraging? Or do you ridicule yourself?

Most of us use negative statements regularly:

  • I’m not good enough.
  • I can’t do it.
  • I suck.

Whether we say them out loud or in our heads, they do nothing but convince us that we are not worthy of our goals.

But we don’t deserve this negative narrative.

Start speaking to yourself with the same kindness you would offer to the people you cherish.

Affirming your positive life: The benefits of creating your own affirmations and the easy 4-step process to write positivity into your life

The Stigma of Affirmations

I didn’t use to believe in affirmations.

I was deterred by the stigma surrounding people who use words to bolster self-confidence.

Affirmations were often demonstrated by seemingly neurotic, low self-esteem people in movies and TV shows. It gave the impression that affirmations are silly. “A reasonable person would never look in a mirror and tell themselves how great they are”—wrong.

Such negative representations of effective mental health practices keep many people from seeking the help they need. And the support they deserve.

It coincides with the misconceptions that self-care is selfish and that we shouldn’t discuss mental health.

Affirmations are effective, and we should not be afraid to try them.

What is An Affirmation?

Affirmations are positive statements that we use to refresh our minds.

And just as negative talk can erode our self-image, the opposite is true.

  • I am good enough.
  • I can do it.
  • I’m great.

Affirmations can be used to target any part of your life or mentality that you want to change. Make a positive impact on your self-care, self-esteem, career, relationships, or mental health.

Benefits of Creating Your Affirmations

The process has its own benefits.

The internet has many examples of affirmations.  And they’re helpful if you connect with the statements.

However, I believe that the most effective affirmations are those you create for yourself.

Why is that?

Well, let me tell you.

The process has its own benefits.

First, creating affirmations requires self-reflection. Because as we start identifying what we want to change, we discover the root of the negativity.

Second, once we know the root, the positive statements can target those specific negative thoughts.

Last, what we target becomes our goal. Goals provide a means to judge our growth. And seeing our growth encourages us to continue on our journey.

Features of An Effective Affirmation

1.      Positive vibes only.

An affirmation should be positive.

Try not to include any statements that allude to the negative thoughts. This will only draw focus to the negative.

Try not to include words like don’t, won’t and can’t.

Examples of weak affirmations:

  • I don’t suck.
  • I won’t tell myself I can’t do it.
  • I can’t say I’m not worthy.

We want to rephrase the complete sentence into something positive.

2.      Be realistic.

Ensure your goal is believable and achievable. You may be discouraged if it is too far out of your grasp.

Don’t be afraid to set smaller goals while you progress to the big ones.

Say your goal is to get a promotion. That big goal is your endgame.

Set small goals to help get you there:

  • Grow your confidence.
  • Start telling yourself how well you do your job.
  • Start growing your leadership skills.
  • Identify your weaknesses and consider how you can turn them into strengths.

Create affirmations to support each of these goals.

You can also use affirmations to prepare for this journey. For example, use phrases like “I am open to…” and “I am in the process of…” to help you negotiate with your negative mind.

Use your affirmations to inspire: you may not be there yet, but you’re working on it.

3.      Stay in the present.

It is best to write in the present tense using I and my phrases like “I am…” or “I can…” or “My strengths….”

You want to influence your mind’s acceptance that you already possess these positive features.

4.      Focus on the self.

Use affirmations to positively change the things you can control.

Instead of affirming, “My co-workers will like me,” try, “I can accept if they don’t.”

You cannot control what other people think or do. But you can control your reaction.

This journey is about you. Accept yourself, love yourself and grow.

And understand that you may outgrow the negative influencers in your life.

5.      No deadlines.

A sure-fire way to disappoint yourself is to set a progress deadline.

Sometimes the negative thoughts have deep roots. They’ve had years to grow.

And while we can encourage change, we cannot force it. The change will come as you practice your affirmations and work towards your goals.

So try to keep your affirmations free from time expressions like “this time next year,” “by the end of the month,” or “in 30 days.”

6.      Short and sweet.

Keep the affirmation short and to the point. It should be memorable.

You will be repeating your affirmations multiple times a day. And you don’t want to get caught up in trying to remember the wording.

As you begin practicing your affirmations, you may decide to edit the phrasing. That’s great!

Adjust the statements to suit your needs.

Create An Affirmation in Four Steps

Creating an affirmation only takes a few steps.

1.      Set up your page.

(a)      Add a title.

The title is entirely optional but can help keep you organized. The title may be especially beneficial as your journey begins branching into different areas.

For example:

  • Affirmations for self-care
  • Affirmations for my career
  • Affirmations for emotional intelligence

(b)      Divide the page into two columns.

Either fold a page in half or draw a line down the center.

2.      List your negative qualities.

In the left column, write your negatives.

Try to be as specific as possible.

To help you create this list, you could refer to your journal entries, take time to self-reflect, or consider feedback from others.

I will use the example of “I feel uncomfortable standing in front of a class.” (I think first-time teachers and anyone who has hosted a meeting will understand.)

But this is very broad. Yes, I wish I was more comfortable, but what qualities hold me back?

I want to focus on what makes me feel uncomfortable by asking myself questions:

  • What is the cause?
  • Am I afraid?
  • What specifically am I afraid of?
  • Am I nervous about my skills as a teacher?
  • Am I nervous about how my students will behave?
  • Do I feel under-prepared?

Through this process, I may realize the problem stems from an old memory of tripping in class. (I move a lot while teaching, and I’ve bumped into everything!)

In my list, I will write: “I am afraid of making mistakes.”

3.      Write your affirmations.

In the right column, rephrase the negatives into positives.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the positive aspects of these qualities?
  • How might the “weaknesses” be useful?
  • How would you encourage your friends if they said these things about themselves?

Try to use strong words. A thesaurus helps change your wording from good to great.

Remember: you can edit the affirmation at any time.

Let’s write an affirmation for my “I am afraid of making mistakes” example.

Now, let’s figure out the perfect phrase:

  • Every mistake is a chance to learn.
    • Too many words.
  • My mistakes are learning opportunities.
    • I can get better wording.
  • My mistakes influence progress.
    • Perfect! (I used a thesaurus.)

This affirmation is positive, realistic, about me, has no deadlines and, most importantly, is short.

It also encourages my mind to forgive and view mistakes positively.

4.      Stay to the right.

After you write your affirmation, scratch out the negative thought.

It’s finished. Take it off your list and out of your mind.

And highlight the affirmation in a bright colour.

Practice Makes Impact

You want to remember to practice your affirmations daily.

Display the affirmation.

Don’t share it online. But put the affirmation somewhere you will see it.

I like to keep my affirmations on sticky notes, posted next to a mirror or on my closet door.

I use bright colours to connect my mind to the affirmation. For example, I may highlight my affirmation in orange. Then if I use my orange highlighter at work, I will say the affirmation. 

Say the affirmation.

Self-improvement is all about practice. And we practice positive thinking by affirming positive thoughts.

Speak the affirmation out loud for five minutes, three times a day. You can set the schedule, but the standard practice is morning, afternoon and evening.

Try saying the affirmations while looking in the mirror. Make eye contact with yourself. Don’t rush it. Let the phrases sink in.

Try to include your breathing exercise:

Deep breath in → Hold → Exhale slowly → Speak your affirmation

But what if you’re at work or out with friends? Try to write your affirmation multiple times in a notebook. You may also use the Notes app on your phone. This exercise reminds you to think of your affirmations.

Share the affirmation.

If you have a safe person supporting your journey, share your affirmations with them.

For one, they can provide feedback to make the affirmation stronger.

And for another, they can repeat your affirmation to you.

The purpose of an affirmation is to change your self-image. And some of the negative images we have about ourselves come from external factors. So having another person re-affirm that you have these positive qualities is invaluable.

Read more from the pros (I have no affiliation with these websites, but have found them useful on my journey):

Cleveland Clinic – Do Positive Affirmations Work? What Experts Say

Mind Tools – Using Affirmations

Psychology Today – Affirmations: The Why, What, How, and What If?

My First Affirmations

Most people who provide how-to lists don’t offer examples like this. Perhaps it’s because it’s terrifying to show our vulnerabilities. But this is the purpose of this blog. I hope you will find it helpful.

These were the first affirmations I ever wrote for myself. They took all night as I kept narrowing down the negative side. I really wanted a clear base to build from.

An example of my first affirmations, shown exactly as I described the 4 steps to create affirmations

Looking at these examples now, I think they could use some improvement. However, at the time, they felt right, and they supported me.

After writing these affirmations, I wrote them on a post-it and hung them next to my bedroom mirror.

I felt ridiculous when I started using them, as I still felt the stigma. But I wanted to make positive changes, and I trusted the judgement of my friends who used affirmations.

I started saying them when I was getting dressed, during my lunch break and through my nightly shower.

I did find six affirmations challenging to manage at first.

It was challenging to remember all six and their exact wording. Plus some of them are just too long.

I would start by creating only one or two at a time and slowly adding more.

And edit them as you need to.

Have you ever created an affirmation? What advice would you share?

10 Ways to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Does anyone else dislike the expression “get out of your comfort zone?”

I’d rather stay comfortable while I try new things.

Instead, I prefer the idea of expanding my comfort zone. I don’t want to break it, but I want to stretch my limit just a little to enable more experiences to feel comfortable.

10 Activities to Expand Your Comfort Zone

I learned the hard way to take baby steps in the expansion process after forcing myself into a panic attack—it wasn’t a great time.

It took practice to recognize what I could accomplish and when I needed to stop.

During the process, I reflected on the past events that produced my short limits and considered how I could let them go. And I discovered why certain activities made me feel more comfortable than others.

I am sharing this list of activities that I used in the hopes that it can inspire others to expand their comfort zones as well. Some of these activities are small steps, and others are giant leaps.

Deciding on the activities that are right for you will take a lot of self-reflection. Some things to consider are:

  • What are your goals?
  • What will make you uncomfortable in that situation?
  • What can you do to make the situation more comfortable for yourself?

Please read the list and consider an activity that serves your comfort zone.

Disclaimer: The activities on this list may result in interactions with strangers. Be careful and trust your instincts. Do not force yourself to remain in a situation that feels unsafe or uncomfortable. If your gut tells you to go home, go home and reflect on the interaction. You did not fail!

A residential street for a short walk
Gurye, South Korea, 2019

1. Go For A Walk

Can it be that simple? Well, yeah.

Exercise can help relieve some anxiety, and you won’t be stuck in one place for too long–unless you want to be.

Take a solo walk around your neighbourhood. Feel comfortable being alone outside of your home, in an area you are familiar with.

If you already walk regularly, try taking a different route. Follow the path to the left rather than the right and see where it leads you.

Along your walk, take some time to sit on a bench, relax and observe.

If someone greets you while walking by (which is very common where I’m from), decide if you’re comfortable with greeting them in return. If you’re unsure, wear earbuds without music playing to give yourself an excuse for not hearing (AKA ignoring) those people.

A selection of traditional Korean desserts
Seoul, South Korea, 2017

2. Dine Out Alone

This one can be somewhat scary, and I don’t recommend forcing yourself to start here.

But, if you love dining out and don’t want to wait for your support system to go with you, perhaps this could be your end goal.

At a restaurant, you can eat alone at a table. And the only people you need to talk to are the waitstaff.

If you are like me and get anxious about talking to waitstaff, practice and prepare before going to the restaurant. I practice a script in my mind about what they will likely ask me and how to answer.

I ook at the menu online to get an idea of what you would like to order. Pick three drinks, appetizers, entrées and desserts so you have a back-up plan in case they run out.

Also, prepare “I’ll just need another minute,” and don’t let them rush you.

Keep in mind that restaurants are typically full of people, which could mean a potential sensory overload if you are sensitive to sound and movement. Bring a book or plug into a podcast to establish a wall from the other restaurant patrons.

Woman holding a ukulele

3. Join A Class

Are you interested in learning ceramics, dance, martial arts, yoga, or another language? You can do it!

A class offers three core benefits while you expand your comfort zone.

First and foremost, you can learn or improve an activity that interests you.

Second, classes offer a safe social aspect.

When the class first begins, everyone starts as a stranger to each other (i.e., no scary cliques).

The class has also brought together a group of people who have similar interests, so you already know one thing you have in common.

And when you see the same people every week, you may slowly begin to form a bond, which has the potential to develop into close friendships.

Third, and best of all, if you do not enjoy your classmates, you won’t need to see them after class ends—there’s no commitment necessary.

There is nothing wrong with having an escape plan.

Image of a joined Facebook group page

4. Join An Online Group

Disclaimer: Do not provide personal or financial information to people you meet online. Should you decide to meet up one day, have a video call first and choose a public location. Also, tell a friend or family member who you’re meeting and where.

From the safety of your own home, unite with people from around the world who share your interests.

Social media, online games and forums provide a space to create meaningful friendships.

And even if you never meet these people in real life, online friends are significant and empowering.

The internet offers something for everyone, so finding potential groups you click with can be accomplished with a quick search.

Follow the topics that get you excited. Participate in discussions. Follow the people who post the content you like. Share, like and keep conversations going.

Remember to be respectful and that it’s okay to disagree with someone without being rude.

Close up image of a blue mug and the interior of a café in the background
Gurye, South Korea, 2020

5. Visit A Café

Get a change of scenery while doing something you like: read a book, work on some knitting, listen to a podcast, or update your blog.

As long as you order something, you can sit in a café.

Full of comfortable chairs, a few plants and a well-spaced seating arrangement, most cafés are designed to be a calm place for people to meet or work outside of the home.

If you’re lucky, they’ll have a window seat where you can enjoy the sun’s warmth and take breaks to people-watch.

It is customary to order a few drinks should you choose to remain there for a few hours, so take a gander at the menu before arriving and think of what you might enjoy.

If you visit a small café often, there’s a good chance that the baristas will remember you, and you can create a comforting friendship. Of course, it doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it feels great!

Cœur de pirate at the 2017 Regina Folk Festival
Cœur de pirate, Regina, Canada, 2017

6. Go To A Concert

You may be asking, why would I ever want to be squeezed together in a mob of strangers? It’s simple: you like the music.

I’ve seen my favourite band ten times, and while it can take a long, calming pep talk to get myself in the building, I’m always happier for it.

For me, the most awkward and anxiety-inducing moment of the night comes before the concert starts. This is the time when the lights are still up, and I’m standing alone, away from the crowd, scrolling social media and feigning confidence in my solo venture.

But once the lights go down and the music starts, the group comes together as one, and I’m no longer alone.

I’m not a fan of crowds, but in this setting, even though a horde of strangers will surround me, I barely notice them as I focus on my band and their music.

For those more interested in trying to ally with a new friend, this activity again allows you to be around people with similar interests. Try to strike up a conversation before the show starts, and maybe you can meet up after to talk about it.

Solo woman visiting light art installation
Yeosu, South Korea, 2022

7. Take A Tour

This is an excellent idea for the solo adventurer and history lover.

Tours can be of a single location or provide transportation to various places. It could be a famous landmark in your own city or a set of islands on the other side of the world.

In other words, a tour can give you a short or long time bunched together with a ragtag group of people.

Tours have allowed me time to become familiar with other people as well as time to venture out alone.

As they are full of solo travellers, it is understandable and expected to break off alone sometimes.

I also enjoy tours that provide transportation and accommodation as I will only have to talk to the tour guide to sort out any issues.

And with a tour guide, you can listen and follow along or participate and ask questions.

Never forget that when you pay for a tour, you have the right to ask many questions, so don’t be embarrassed—you’ll be giving the tour guide a chance to show off their knowledge.

Explore all the available options, and decide what will make you feel the most comfortable.

One green and one red mug at a Christkindlmarkt in Germany circa 2019
Germany, 2019

8. Visit A Street Fair Or Market

Perhaps this idea came to mind as the weather is getting warmer. Still, it allows you to flex a few of these suggested activities: walking, eating alone and playing tourist.

The market could be in your city or the next town over. It could be a farmer’s market or an artisan street fair.

During the spring and summer months, there are many markets displaying various wares that will likely meet your interest.

But don’t feel trapped inside during the colder months as winter markets can be overflowing with beautiful decorations and warm drinks.

When purchasing from a vendor, you can keep the conversation strictly to your purchase or ask them about their process and get into a deep discussion.

People who set up these booths are often very chatty because they are excited about what they do and want to share it with everyone.

Should the interaction become too much, you can say “thank you” and leave.

Don’t forget to bring cash along with your credit card for those few vendors without a machine.

Hearts and love locks in Busan, South Korea
Love locks in Busan, South Korea, 2020

9. Go On A Date

Disclaimer: Please be careful with online dating. Try to video chat with your match before the date, share their details with a family member or friend, and meet in a public space.

Yeah, I know, dating can bring the worst kind of judgemental behaviour against introverts for their limited social skills.

We must talk about ourselves and keep a conversation going to get to know a new person. It sounds awful!

But, if you really want to learn about someone, you won’t get stuck in small talk.

Deep conversations are often intoxicating for introverts.

A first, second or third date is a great place to get that fix.

And we live in a time when dating apps are the go-to place to meet a potential partner.

Checking a profile can tell you if they are physically and personably attractive to you.

With your conversation opener, the small talk can get out of the way very quickly or be ignored entirely if you ask a pointed question about their profile.

You don’t have to meet until you are ready, and by that time, they won’t be a perfect stranger anymore.

Lanterns in Jiufen, Taiwan
Jiufen, Taiwan, 2020

10. Take A Solo Trip

Disclaimer: I always share my itinerary with a family member or friend. Be safe and have fun!

It’s another scary one but beyond worth it if you’ve always wanted to travel.

When you are on a trip, you will interact with so many more people than you usually would in your daily life.

You’ll meet hotel staff, gas station attendants, bus drivers, flight attendants, restaurant staff, and tour guides. And they might also not speak English depending on where you want to go.

For your first adventure, I recommend taking a short trip to a nearby city or simply checking in to a hotel to explore your own city as a tourist.

I have found that many tourism experiences follow the same formula, so there is some comfort to be found in the routine.

Because travelling and experiencing the world is my dream, I have promised myself that I won’t waste my vacation time and money staying inside.

Instead, I plan a short itinerary for some activities to ensure I get out of the hotel.

Trust me, it’s easy to get comfortable in the solitude of a hotel, but remember that at the end of the day, you can retreat to that safe space to recharge.

On many of my solo trips, I would be out exploring from 8 to 5 (or whenever it started to get dark). I would then spend the remainder of the evening alone in my room.

The activities can be simple: go for a walk in a new city, read a book in an interesting café, try new foods, and take tours.

I admit that I have found a lot of comfort in being a stranger in a strange city.

That’s the list!

Once again, I don’t recommend forcing yourself to try something if it triggers any anxiety or negative thinking. Before most activities, I would need to give myself an encouraging pep talk. And sometimes I would last maybe 5 minutes before bailing.

After trying an activity, reflect on how it made you feel and why.

Find encouragement in every activity you have tried.

You are doing this for yourself, so be kind and set small goals to accomplish along the way.

If you have tried any of these activities or would like to recommend more, please share in the comments.

Expand your comfort Zone with 10 Activities