Introverts may seem like a rare breed, but they're actually just hard to find. They tend to enjoy living and working in their own soft, secluded ways.
Extroverts, on the other hand, enjoy the spotlight. They tend to voice their opinions louder and more frequently, which can make it hard for introverts to see their own strengths.
So how can introverts optimize their positive quiet traits while excelling in our extrovert-centered world? Some brain-boosting nootropics for introverts may help, and in this article we are going to discuss the best of them. Let's get to it.
What are the Differences Between Introverts and Extroverts?
The introvert and extrovert labels describe two opposite personality types. They exist on a spectrum from very introverted to very extroverted, with ambiversion in the middle.
The spectrum looks something like this:
Introverts are generally known as quiet, good listeners who enjoy their alone time. Extroverts are known as the complete opposite. They tend to be more vocal and confident in social settings: feeding off of attention, exciting new experiences and meeting new people.
However, no person is strictly introverted or extroverted, according to psychologist Carl Jung. We mostly fall somewhere between both ends of the spectrum. But if you have a pretty equal mixture of introverted and extroverted tendencies, you might be an ambivert.
Ambiverts may enjoy going to a party for a while or staying home to read a book, instead of avoiding one or the other altogether. Our individual preferences just depend on our brain's reaction to various stimuli. And, as it turns out, we all react differently to different stimuli depending on our unique brain functions.`
The Extrovert Ideal
Society tends to position extroverts as the more attractive personality type. This is called the extrovert ideal.<1> It happens because we associate extroverts with confident, outgoing personalities and introverts with reserved, quiet ones. We also associate quietness with shyness, while they are actually very different.
Our seemingly negative associations for introverts lead us to believe we should strive to be extroverted. After all, being quiet won't get us to the top, right? At least that's what society leads us to believe: introverts aren't good enough the way they are.
As a result, introverts often end up striving relentlessly to be more like extroverts instead of cultivating their own unique traits. They assume extroverts are more productive and successful, so they exhaust themselves to become someone they're not.
Here's the truth: Introverts are just as capable of success as extroverts. They just achieve it using a different set of cognitive tools.
Believe it or not, some of the biggest names in history were and are introverts. Think about Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Bill Gates. They're all famous introverts who managed to become leaders and icons in various arenas -- in part, by optimizing and leveraging their introspective habits.
Research even shows introverts are capable of being more proactive leaders than extroverts, specifically for groups containing more proactive members. Apparently, it's because extroverts tend to stick with their own opinions instead of consulting the group. Thus, they often lack proactivity.<2>
Social Anxiety is Not the Same as Introversion
You see, being an introvert is not the same as being shy. In fact, shyness is a symptom of social anxiety, which is an anxiety disorder, not a personality type.
Extroverts can be shy or socially anxious too.<3> However, introverts do tend to be more quiet and subdued overall, which can be confused with social anxiety symptoms. So, what's the difference between social anxiety and shyness vs. preferring to be quiet?
Introversion and shyness associated with social anxiety have one key differentiator: fear. Introverts are not afraid of socializing or meeting new people. They would just prefer to be alone or in a one-on-one setting. It's a preference built by our individual reactions to stimuli.
Introverts gain energy from inside of themselves, which is why they prefer quiet and solitude. This doesn't equate to shyness; it's just being introspective. Being introspective fuels the introvert's fire; whereas external excitement and experiences fuel the extrovert's. Here's how it works.
The Introvert Brain Breakdown
Introverts lose energy quickly in overstimulating environments like big parties or concerts. That's why they often prefer to skip these events. On the other hand, extroverts are known to become energized by such events. So, what gives?
Technically, all human brains the produce reward chemicals dopamine and acetylcholine in reaction to internal and external reward experiences, or stimuli. Reward chemicals are meant to energize us in reaction to certain stimuli, to keep us going back for more.
Introverts Brains Prefer Acetylcholine, Not Dopamine
However, certain types of stimuli activate certain reward chemicals quicker and slower for introverts vs. extroverts. For example, studies show introverted brains produce dopamine much slower than extroverts in reaction to external stimuli like chaotic parties and loud music.<4>
That's why introverts tend to burn out faster in such settings; there's not enough reward. Similarly, extrovert brains produce less acetylcholine than introverts in reaction to internal stimuli like reading and introspection.<5>
In other words, introvert brains have a preference for acetylcholine, which is produced in reaction to internal stimuli like quiet introspection. This is what truly energizes introverts. This is also why they have different preferences when it comes to socializing.
It's All About Preference
Introvert and extrovert labels, then, really just allude to our preferences based on "how sensitive we are to incentives and rewards."<6> According to author Susan Caine in an NPR interview on Quiet, her famous book discussing research on the power of introverts:
"Introversion is really about having a preference for lower stimulation environments. So it's just a preference for quiet, for less noise, for less action."
Can We Optimize Introversion?
Optimizing introversion starts with getting to know our brains better. The first step is to identify and understand our thresholds for internal and external stimulation. This can make room for us to stop worrying so much about whether our behavior is socially acceptable.
Cultivate Your Preferences
Then, we can start to cultivate our preferences for ultimate productivity. For example, introverts may want to choose their jobs wisely. The best jobs for introverts likely require less socializing and more solemn task-completion.
In contrast, if you're an introvert working in a chaotic environment, you'll have to find a way to be productive. Finding a restorative niche is a great way to reenergize when you're feeling burnt out. However, brain-boosting nootropics may be a solid solution to your troubles. They may be able to optimize your natural responses.
Tune Your Introvert Brain with Nootropics
Certain Mind Lab Pro® natural nootropics may help introverts produce more dopamine and/or acetylcholine in reaction to internal and external stimuli. Similarly, some are well-known to reduce stress and induce focused relaxation. This may be exactly what an introvert trapped in an open office plan needs to stay productive through a noisy day.
It may also benefit introverted writers, readers, musicians, and students trying to ignore societal expectations and pursue their preferences. Below, we'll go through which nootropics do so and how they might propel your introverted personality to ultimate productivity.
Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Introverts
Below, we've created a list of Mind Lab Pro®'s all natural nootropics that may specifically help introverts cultivate their quiet preferences.
Every Mind Lab Pro® ingredient is caffeine and stimulant-free, to ensure none of the jitters, anxiousness or other negative side effects that can throw introvert brains off balance.
Citicoline is a natural, neuroprotective nootropic known to support the production of brain chemicals like acetylcholine and dopamine. It may also help with concentration and recall by cultivating neural impulses. This is important for introverts trying to write a manuscript, complete a tedious art project, etc.
Acetylcholine is associated with:
- cognitive processing
Since acetylcholine production tends to decrease with age, citicoline may work best for aging introverts. It can help keep them energized and optimized for introspection despite age-associated imbalances. Its additional dopamine support may also help introverts struggling to get by in extroverted environments by inhibiting dopamine production.
L-Theanine is a calming, natural brain booster found in green tea. It's one of the most research-backed nootropics known to reduce anxious feelings and raise alpha wave activity in the brain. But what does this mean for an introvert?
- Alpha wave activation produces a calm, focused state, which is known to help with creativity and reflection.
- L-Theanine is also known to increase concentration during tasks that require elongated focus.
These effects may help a secluded introvert focus on introspection and creativity without feeling guilty about isolating themselves. Thus, L-Theanine may be the perfect nootropic for introverted students trying to study, artists trying to finish a project, or writers working on a manuscript.
Bacopa Monnieri is an Ayurvedic herb that may inhibit acetylcholine production and reduce oxidative stress. This can be great for introverts looking to stay energized and moderate anxious thoughts during introspective tasks.
Furthermore, Bacopa Monnieri contains bacosides that may strengthen an introvert's resistance to stress. Therefore, it may reduce stress associated with societal expectations.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Maritime Pine Bark Extract may help introverts reduce the effects of oxidative stress associated with societal expectations. It can also help with mental focus despite any stressors by supporting blood flow to the brain. It does so by providing a natural stack of proanthocyanidin brain boosters.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine supports dopamine production and may reduce the production of stress hormones in introverts trying to focus on secluded tasks. Specifically, it may help increase memory while multitasking. Since it supports dopamine production, it may also help introverts struggling to stay energized in an extrovert environment.
NALT has the potential to reduce stress in introverts by balancing out catecholamine and L-Tyrosine levels that are naturally depleted by stress in the brain. Low catecholamine levels can result in issues with concentrating, which is why NALT can be helpful for introverted students and the like.
Last but not least, Rhodiola Rosea is an herbal supplement that may reduce stress in introverts by increasing their resistance to it. It may also help them think more clearly and calmly, especially under stressful circumstances. This could be perfect for introverts working on a writing assignment on a deadline or something similar.
Rhodiola Rosea may create these effects by:
- moderating hormones that induce stress
- cultivating the production of dopamine and acetylcholine
- and providing neuroprotective support to the brain
It is specifically known to encourage a relaxed and harmonious emotional state. And, that's exactly the type of emotional state introverts should be interested in optimizing for ultimate productivity.
Mind Lab Pro® nootropics for introverts promote relaxation, mood balance and mental energy in response to internal and external stimuli.
Nootropics for introverts also have the potential to help ease anxious thoughts, enhance concentration and creativity, and sharpen mental clarity. Plus, Mind Lab Pro® is strictly stimulant free, so introverts can cultivate their quiet traits without any agitating side effects.
- Byrnes C. The Extrovert Ideal. Science Leadership Academy. 2016 Nov.
- Grant AM, Francesca, Gino F, Hofman DA. Reversing the Extraverted Leadership Advantage: The Role of Employee Proactivity.
- Baldasaro T. Embracing Introversion: Ways to Stimulate Reserved Students in the Classroom. Edutopia: Social and Emotional Learning. 2011 Sep.
- Cohen MX et al. Individual differences in extraversion and dopamine genetics predict neural reward responses. Cognitive Brain Research. doi: 25. 851-861. 2005 Nov.
- Fonseca C. Quiet Kids: Help Your Introverted Child Succeed in an Extroverted World. Print. 2001 Oct.
- Lang SS. Dopamine linked to a personality trait and happiness. Cornell Chronicle. 1996 Oct.