What Makes Introverts Happy: Real-Life Examples

Updated 14 August 2019

hugo huyer author of tracking happiness small

by Hugo: Founder of Tracking Happiness, marathon runner, data junkie and happiness tracker for almost 6 years.

Introverts are generally conceived as shy people who'd rather be alone than with others. While this might be true sometimes, it's still a common misconception, or a stereotype, which causes people to make the mistake that introverts don't like to be around others. But I'm not here to talk about what I think is a good description of an introvert. No, I want to focus on what makes introverts happy.

I've asked 8 introverts and asked them this simple question: "what makes you happy?" Here's what makes these introverts happy:

  • Writing
  • Watching movies
  • Creative journaling
  • Traveling the world
  • Walking outside in nature
  • Going to music shows alone
  • Meditating
  • Bird-watching
  • Etc

This article consists of 8 real-life stories of how introverts around the world are living a happy life. I've asked for stories that are very specific, in order to show you what we introverts do in order to be happy.

Rules to live by for a happier life

Table of contents

Now, as a disclaimer, I want to say that this list is not exclusively made for introverts. If you consider yourself to be an extravert, then don't leave just yet! You might find some things that you'd wanna try as well.

So whether it's going on long walks by ourselves, or going to concerts alone, here are some real-life examples of how introverts like you and me are actively choosing to be happy.

Let's get started with the first one!

Writing and watching movies alone

As an introvert, I need some time alone to recharge. Here are my favorite things to do to recharge:

  • Writing – A year or so ago I stumbled upon Bullet Journaling. It has changed my life. Putting my thoughts down on paper helps me process them. It helps to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Some of my most creative ideas have come to me when I was just writing about my day.
  • Movies alone – I love movies. I like watching them with people. But I also love watching them alone. When I go to a movie on my own, my thoughts can go wherever they go. I don’t have to worry about other people. I can just think my own thoughts.

There’s a common thread here. I’m very lucky to have an amazing family and wonderful friends. And I love spending time with them. But when I’m with people, I want to focus on them. It takes a lot of mental energy. When I’m alone, I can think my own thoughts, without having to worry about the people around me. In those moments, it’s very freeing.

This story comes from Jory, a food safety lawyer at Make Food Safe.

You don't necessarily need others to be happy when you have a Positive Mental Attitude

Going to music shows alone

As an introvert, it is difficult for me to be in crowds of people without getting drained. This is a bummer if you love live music like I do! In college, I used to go to shows every weekend with friends, until I got tickets to a Gorillaz show and no one could go with me.

I went by myself and almost immediately made friends with people in line, and then later with people in various parts of the venue, just by wandering around. When I would feel myself getting drained, I would excuse myself and go dance by myself. I discovered that it was far less draining to exist in a crowd without having to interact with anyone in particular, so I started going to shows by myself, and still do to this day! The best part is, I can leave whenever I want without anyone complaining that we're leaving too early/late.

This story comes from Morgan Balavage, a yoga teacher and wellness coach at Splendid Yoga.

Writing and creative journaling

Want to know what's been a huge game-changer in my happiness and well-being? Writing in a journal. It's a practice I took up about three years ago and it has made incredible impacts on my life. Compared to my extroverted counterparts, I find that I can't quite articulate my thoughts to other people. Writing in a journal has helped me gain perspective, make tough decisions, and create happy and positive self-talk.

It might be a little tough to get started, but don't get discouraged. Start with writing three daily gratitudes and your feelings about the upcoming day. In no time you'll discover a groove that works for you in cultivating happiness.

This story comes from Maryna, who considers herself to be a certified nerd in all things communication.

Traveling the world alone

What made me happy as an introvert: As an introvert I have found that I really enjoy traveling internationally by myself. I can pick what I would like to do without consulting with or telling another person. I went on a trip to Milan by myself and after exploring the city by foot I found that I was bored so I booked a day trip to Switzerland. It was perfect for an introvert. Everyone else on the tour had a significant other so they did not reach out to me and it was great. I explored to my heart’s content and genuinely enjoyed being alone. It was a perfect activity for an introvert.

This story comes from Alisha Powell, who is a therapist and social worker that enjoys international travel and discovering great restaurants.

Walking outside in nature

I’ve always been a big fan of simply going outside, and preferably in nature. I need it. When I lived in downtown Portland, I mapped out my own personal urban hike that I loved. It took me from downtown through the International Rose Test Garden to a bark chip trail that peeked over the Japanese Gardens, and into the Hoyt Arboretum. On my way back, I passed a playground on a west hill peak that overlooked the city. There was one swingset with a particularly wide seat. If time allowed, I would always treat myself to a swing at this almost-always deserted but beautiful hilltop. Swinging, by the way, is also an awesome outdoor workout. If done early in the morning, like me, you usually have the entire place to yourself. Another introvert's dream.

Now, living in a quickly growing chunk of suburbia that still toes the line between the suburbs and rural farmland, I’ve discovered a little wooded trail that I include in my hour-long walks. The forest, the woods, they heal. There’s something in humans that crave it and need it. Unfortunately, we aren’t all able to easily access it.

However, if we live in a safe neighborhood or can get to one, we all have access to simply being outside. It doesn’t have to be gardening or hiking. It can be playing hop scotch with your kids at a tucked away park, cycling, skateboarding, or, hell, even Pokemon Go. You just go.

This is the story of how Jessica Mehta finds happiness as an introvert.

sunny weather in the forest february 2019.png

Meditating every day on your own

I began my journey into meditation by attending a retreat in northern Thailand. I spent seven nights there, and didn't say a word (aside from our morning and evening chanting) to anyone the entire time. It was glorious.

As an introvert, I felt like I was totally free - not bound by the necessity to explain myself, not incumbered by the tedium of small talk. After the retreat, I took up meditation as a daily practice. I meditate for twenty-one minutes each morning, no matter where I am. Those moments with myself are some of my favorite moments of my entire day.

This story comes from Jordan Bishop, founder of How I Travel.

Watching birds with a close friend

Once, along with a friend of mined (closed one), I went into nearby woodlands to watch birds. And let me tell you, it was one of the most blissful moments. We both watched birds from a distance through binoculars, discussed various species, their habits; this one on one conversation with a best friend in a silent environment was very soul soothing.

The reason I loved it was I got to learn more about birds, the environment was silent, and I got to share my own thoughts very clearly. It's a very amazing activity for introverts, as you get away from the loud noises and crowd, and feel connected with yourself.

This story comes from Ketan Pande, founder at Good Vitae.

Going on long walks alone

When I lived in Denmark for a few years, I was fortunate enough to live very close to a small lake. In the beginning, I didn't realize how good this would be. As time passed and I had to deal with high-stress projects and assignments quite frequently, this really took a toll on my overall happiness.

One day I was working from home and really needed a break to get out of the house. Since the weather was nice, I decided to go for a walk to the lake. Turns out, there was a groomed walking path around the entire perimeter which only took slightly more than half an hour to complete!

I remember the stress being lifted off my shoulders the further I walked along. There was just something about the water, the trees, and the sense of tranquility that felt very calming. I hadn't realized how much I needed the time to myself - to recharge and to let my mind wander. During the time I lived there, I walked the trail probably over 50 times and it definitely affected my happiness in a positive way.

This last story comes from Lisa, who blogs at Board & Life.

I'm an introvert and this is what makes me happy!

Yes, it might not come as a surprise, but I consider myself to be an introvert as well! Nice to meet you.

Now, what makes me happy as an introvert? Here's a couple of things that come to mind:

  • Spending quality time with my girlfriend.
  • Enjoying time out with friends (as long as it's not at a crowded and loud bar!)
  • Running long-distances
  • Making music
  • Working quietly on this website!
  • Watching Game of Thrones and rewatching the Office
  • Playing Battlefield on my Playstation
  • Journaling about my boring and happy life 🙂
  • Going on long walks when the weather is nice, like this:
Enjoying the beautiful autumn 2018 november
Enjoying a silent moment of peace amidst a busy month

Again, these are not things that exclusively introverts might enjoy doing. I love spending time with other people. I just need a little more alone time after being social.

You can put me in a room with just a guitar and chances are you can leave me there for a good part of the day without any complaints.

The thing is, I'm pretty good at managing myself. I know what I need in order to be happy. I've getting to know myself - and what my happiness formula is - for the last 5+ years. I track my happiness every single day and want to show you how much you can learn with this simple method.

It's why I created Tracking Happiness.

You can be happier. Discover how with my free template!

  • Track your happiness every day
  • Learn more about what makes you happy
  • Receive my custom template for free

Who runs Tracking Happiness?

My name is Hugo, and I'm from the Netherlands. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering, a passion for data and statistical analysis and am an expert in happiness.

I've tracked my happiness every day for 5 years in a row. And I'm now using my knowledge to inspire you to prioritize your happiness. You see, I'm a strong believer in what gets measured gets managed. I want to show you what I - and many others - have learned while tracking our happiness.

My Happiness Essays have reached thousands of people around the world and have been shared in many places.

With my data, I have inspired hundreds of others to also track their happiness. And I'm hoping this number will only grow more!

Hugo Tracking Happiness Snapshot

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