- Introverts and extroverts have different brain chemistry ways of functioning.
- Introverts often need to take time out in an “introvert hangover.”
- This is where they spend time alone and recharge after a lot of social stimulation.
- But this isn’t a negative experience.
- In fact, introverts spend this time being creative and learning about themselves.
If you identify as more of an introvert than an extrovert, you’ll know that means you are more energised by spending time on your own, or in very small intimate groups of people you trust. It doesn’t mean you are a hermit or dislike social situations – you just often need time to recharge alone after them.
This time to regroup is sometimes called an “introvert hangover” because after a lot of social stimulation, whether that’s in a small group or a noisy overstimulated context, an introvert’s nervous system gets overwhelmed.
Essentially, an introvert brain functions differently than an extrovert brain. An extrovert has a very high threshold for dopamine, so they require constant stimulation. An introvert has a very low threshold, so they reach their limit much sooner.
Also, while an extrovert can approach an event objectively, an introvert has a lot more going on internally. For example, they notice all sorts of details, are self-conscious about themselves and the mistakes they are making, and draw a lot from their long-term memory bank when speaking. All of this is emotionally exhausting, so it’s no surprise they need to take some time to regroup afterwards.
But an introvert hangover isn’t exactly a bad thing. For most, it means curling up with a book or a film, or doing a relaxing hobby like drawing.
“During introvert hangover you can use this time to explore who you are,” Perpetua Neo, a doctor of psychology, told Business Insider. “You can accelerate your professional and personal growth… And the more comfortable you are with telling people I have an introvert hangover, this is the time for myself, I’m blocking these chunks of time dedicated to me, the more you are able to own yourself as an introvert.”
Introvert hangovers are a good time to reflect on yourself and how much you have achieved. For those who never take this time out, they may not realise the progress they have made. So although it’s a requirement for introverts to take time to themselves, it can also be of great benefit to them.
For some introverts, a hangover means sleeping for long periods of time, and Neo said that’s fine too.
“When you sleep, you are actually integrating all your memories, discarding all the things you don’t need, and your body is detoxing,” she said. “It also helps you to be wise, to be creative, to spend time on your own projects… It’s really about all the resources you’re going to carve out for that.”