Emotional Energy: Are You An “Innie” or An “Outie”? Take the quiz to find out your personal energy type.
We all know the boundless energy our children have each and every day, and if we don’t have similar energy levels ourselves, it’s not long before we’re running ragged trying to keep up. While most people tend to think this kind of energy comes from physical stamina, research shows that 70% of our overall energy level comes from emotional energy—how positive, engaged, resilient and happy we feel.
While there certainly are one-size-fits-all strategies for increasing emotional energy, one of the most powerful ways we can boost this feel-good fuel as parents is by understanding personal energy types—the unique way we derive emotional energy from the world…
According to psychological theory, there are two ways people prefer to get emotional energy—either by engaging in the outer world of people and activities or by engaging in their inner world of ideas and experiences. Those who are more outward-focused are “outies”—they get their energy by being with other people and by engaging in a lot of activity. When outies have time alone or do not have the opportunity to interact with others, they can get quite irritable and restless because they quickly run out of steam.
“Innies,” on the other hand, tend to prefer time alone or with one or two special people. They benefit from reflecting on thoughts and ideas and need time alone to recharge their batteries. Too many external demands and a lot of social interaction (especially with those who are not close friends) can overwhelm innies and drain their emotional energy.
Whether you’re an innie or an outie is very much like right- and left-handedness—there isn’t a right or wrong preference. Life just tends to go more smoothly and efficiently when you can engage in your preferred way of doing things. In this way, knowing your emotional energy type will go a long way in helping you understand and manage your energy levels on an regular basis. To determine your personal energy type, respond to each of the following questions…
For each statement, select the preference that reflects “the real you.” Which would be your first choice based on what feels most comfortable to you, not what you think you should be or want to be?
- Do you consider yourself:
- a good listener
- a good conversationalist
- At a social gathering, do you tend to:
- interact with a few friends
- interact with many, even strangers
- When volunteering at your child’s school, do you prefer:
- a position where you can do your own thing
- working on a committee
- Do you find being on-the-go a lot with your kids:
- On a Friday night, would you prefer to:
- spend time with your family
- invite friends and neighbors over
- Do you prefer to solve a problem by:
- thinking it through yourself first
- talking it through with someone else
- Your ideal way to unwind at the end of a long day is:
- a bubble bath and a good book
- going out with some friends
Count how many (a) statements and how many (b) statements you selected in total. If you chose more (a) statements, you are an “innie” and tend to get your energy from internal sources. If you chose more (b) statements, you are an “outie” who gets your energy from external sources.
Once you have determined your personal energy type, you can better understand your reactions to your children and begin building a “match” into your schedule. If you are an innie, for example, it’s very easy to become overwhelmed and drained when being around your children for extended periods of time. You likely get upset when your children vie for your attention, hang onto you, stick their face in yours—you need your space! It’s important, then, to let your family know that you need your space and to find alone time for yourself where you can unwind and recharge. Go for a walk, take a 10-minute time-out to have a cup of tea before picking up your kids from daycare, have a bubble bath—even if it means the laundry doesn’t get put away or you’re eating soup and grilled cheese for dinner!
If you’re an outie, on the other hand, you likely find it very taxing to be at home isolated with your children for extended periods of time. As much as you love being with your children, you need adult stimulation and interaction! Be sure to go on outings with other Moms, chat on the phone with a friend instead of emptying the dishwasher, plan a night out with some friends or other couples. Whatever you need to do—connect with others and re-energize.
As you begin to recognize the differences between innies and outies, it will become much easier to accept and respect your personal type, as well as those of others—including your children. You can replenish your emotional energy more readily; you’ll feel far less guilty about your own needs; and you’ll be able to maintain higher energy levels for the things that matter most.
Dr. Kelly Pryde is a parenting and self-development expert and the founder of DreamKids. A speaker, author and mother of two, Kelly holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and offers today’s Moms inspiring and practical ideas for living with more energy, inner wisdom, purpose, love and joy. You can visit Kelly on the web at www.drkellypryde.com