The Simple Science Behind Why Introverts Need Time Alone

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I’m sure you’ve heard the term Dopamine before. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in how we feel pleasure or reward. Meaning the amount of satisfaction we get from doing certain activities. Now there is a system that controls the flood of this neurotransmitter through the four major pathways of our brains. Obviously, and like everything else in our bodies, this system is made of genes. 

But what does this have to do with our need for alone time? 

The Introvert Overstimulation…


Do you recall those times in school when the teacher asked you to answer a question in front of the whole class and you pretended you didn’t know the answer just to draw away the attention from you? Or how spending more than a couple of hours in a party or any other social gathering makes you drained, cranky, and wanting out!

Don’t you think there is something in your nature that made you avoid attention in class when other students thrive in that attention and literally jump in their seats asking for permission to answer? you’re obviously different from those who party hard all night and manage to keep bubbly and energetic the morning after. 

Yes, we introverts are naturally different from our fellow extroverts and it goes all way to our genes. 

Researchers found that extroverts have an A1 allele on the D2 receptor gene in the dopamine system (mentioned above) that introverts don’t have, this slight change in the dopamine system resulted in introverts being sensitive to dopamine, meaning we are easily stimulated by smaller doses of dopamine, unlike extroverts who require larger doses of dopamine to be stimulated.

Extroverts also feel more pleasure from external stimulants than introverts due to this genetic difference in the dopamine reward system. So it goes this way, the more extroverts are exposed to external stimulants ( like social gatherings, outgoing sports ..etc) the more pleasure they get. While introverts will only get overly stimulated as time goes by, and the overflood of dopamine in our brains will often result in mental and physical exhaustion, inability to concentrate, and increased anxiety. I’m sure you’re familiar with these symptoms when you get overstimulated.

Hence Our Need For “Introvert Alone Time”


In order for introverts to understimulate and recharge, we need to reduce the flood of dopamine in our brains by cutting off external stimulants and avoiding them. We manage to do this by seeking time alone reflecting inwardly and doing solitary activities like reading a book, going for a walk around the neighborhood, or in my case taking a long warm shower.

Planning for our alone time during the day or throughout the week is crucial for us introverts to create a balanced lifestyle and avoid being overstimulated as much as possible. And it won’t be that hard. Most of us enjoy doing solitary or indoor activities anyway. 

I hope this article helped you understand introverts’ need for time alone, this article answers some other questions related to the introvert alone time, I suggest you take a look at it. Any comments or feedback are always welcome!

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Sarra is a behavioral science student and HS science teacher ( also a cat mom! ) who obsesses over typing people but can't seem to type her own self. Let's just say that for the time being, she's a cross between an INFJ and INFP!

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