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The Complete Guide to Happiness for Introverts

Is it true that extroverting will make you happier?

Kate Jones
Jun 21, 2017 · 10 min read
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  • Can this reported unhappiness be attributed to an extroversion bias in research methodology?
  • If not, is there any truth in the idea that an introvert’s unhappiness can be cured with a prescription of extroversion?

What is Happiness?

Definitions of happiness can be broadly grouped into three categories:

  • Life satisfaction (a feeling that life is good, worthwhile and meaningful).
  • Eudaimonic happiness (living a virtuous life and realizing our potential).

The Happiness Set-Point.

One hypothesis that aims to explain the extroversion-happiness correlation comes from research which suggests that each of us has a happiness set-point, driven by our personality and inherited genetics, and that extroverts are naturally happier.

Is There an Extroversion Bias in Happiness Research?

There is clear evidence that certain happiness measures overlap with extroversion measures (Yik & Russell 2001). Most significantly, the definition of positive affect (the extent to which an individual subjectively experiences positive moods — arguably a measure of hedonic happiness) is often almost identical to the definition of extroversion, i.e. optimism, activity, and excitement.

The Life Satisfaction Question.

So, we can conclude that the measure of hedonic happiness prevalent within most research studies is potentially biased towards extroverts. Is this also true of life satisfaction measures?

Should We Act Extroverted?

There appears to be evidence to suggest that introverts are happier during times when they act extroverted, leading to statements such as the one presented at the beginning of this article. In a study Fleeson conducted in 2002, it was found that introverts reported higher levels of positive affect (hedonic happiness) at times when they were acting extroverted compared with the times when they acted introverted.

How To Be Happier.

Returning to Lyubomirsky’s work regarding the factors that determine happiness, there is something to be said for shifting focus away from our psychological set-point, i.e. our preference for introversion or extroversion, and instead towards the 40 percent of our happiness level that we can actually engineer; our intentional activity.

The Secret to Introverted Happiness.

As Lyubomirsky aptly puts it, the secret to happiness can be found in establishing which happiness strategies suit you best. Kozak adds to this by suggesting mindfulness practice as a means to finding a deeper connection with our feelings and emotions. He presents a technique for introverts to appraise the likelihood of an extroverted situation being of value to them, by reflecting on the feelings the event evokes before making a decision as to whether to participate. This approach allows us to weigh up the costs and benefits of extroverting in a given moment.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Thanks to Terrie Schweitzer

Kate Jones

Written by

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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