Finding Balance within our First and Second Natures
We’re all familiar with the extroverts in the room: outgoing, love stimulation, curious and expressive. Where do they get their energy?! And we all know a few introverts too: reserved, thinking before they speak, observant. Do they need to come out of their shell?
Nah! Most of us are somewhere on that continuum between Introvert and Extrovert. We know ourselves well enough to manage the optimal level of stimulation: too much creates anxiety for the introvert, and too little creates boredom for the extrovert.
It’s good to stretch out of our comfort zone regularly, AS LONG AS we build back in equal parts of restoration.
And the truth is, most of us can’t spend all our time in our first nature, whether it leans more toward intro- or extroversion. Case in point, I’m more of an introvert by nature yet I teach and speak for a living, behaving in a more extroverted manner. And extroverts often have to spend time in quiet in study, analysis, thinking in order to have knowledge and perspective to speak out (as an example).
Is it wrong to spend time in your ‘second nature’?
Not at all! It’s good to stretch out of our comfort zone regularly, AS LONG AS we build back in equal parts of restoration. We need to know and respect our need for restorative niches.
For the extrovert, after a time of study or silence, they may need to go to a party to get back in balance. And the introvert may need to spend time in nature in order to feel grounded again.
Finding Balance Between Negative and Positive
Barbara Fredrickson defined this as the Positivity Ratio.
We all have negative aspects in our lives, things we may not be able to change quickly like illness, work demands, difficult relationships, financial difficulties, etc.
We do, however, have control over many of the positive aspects. These are choices, big and small, that we make moment by moment. The more positive choices we add to our life, the more they ‘weigh’ and counter-balance the negative. Positive Psychologists call these Boosters and Enablers.
Enablers allow us to make the most of what we have, things like Sleep, Exercise, Nutrition, Self Care, Time Affluence, Relationships. Boosters are the fuel that sustains us: Humour and Laughter, Rituals, Physical Contact, Gratitude, Faith, Dreams and Aspirations.
With the holiday season upon us, it’s easy for the positivity ratio to become unbalanced, spread ourselves too thin, limiting our Enablers and short changing our Boosters. We encourage you to try to pace yourself, incorporate more restorative practices to bring you back into balance!