Living a Quiet Life Without Guilt

January 5, 2024

I'm Jess. This blog is a collection of everything I've learned as I rebuilt my self-image from a burned-out-extrovert-wannabe to an at-ease-introvert-bookworm.
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In our extra extroverted world, living a quiet life can feel… strange. You may wonder if it’s wrong to want a simpler life. After all, society projects the idea that living loudly is the best way to exist. You may even feel guilty or ashamed for not wanting what everyone else does. Well, I’m here to tell you: There is nothing wrong with wanting to lead a quiet life in a noisy world. In fact, it can be the best thing you do for your mental health as an introvert.  In this post, I’m going to share how you can start living a quiet life without guilt.

We’ll cover:

  • What living a quiet life means (what it is and isn’t)
  • Why quiet living may make you feel guilty (and why it shouldn’t)
  • Practical tips to ditch guilt and shame for wanting a quiet life.
  • How to start living a quiet life (without overwhelm)

What Does It Mean To Live A Quiet Life?

At its core, quiet living is about making a conscious effort to simplify life. It involves tuning out distractions and noise (literally and metaphorically). It’s the opposite of hustle culture which glorified being overbooked and overworked.

At first glance, this might seem impossible.

We’re shown, time and time again, that being loud, “out there,” and always engaged is the best way to be. For example, Influencers rake up millions of followers (and dollars) by being the life of the proverbial and literal party. It’s easy to see why quiet living can feel weird and even wrong in our society.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s actually weird or wrong. It’s just how our society perceives it.

Living a quiet life can seem like an impossible dream in our fast-paced society. But it’s possible to do so without guilt. Keep reading for practical ways to start today.

Just to set the record straight, quiet living is not:

  • Isolating yourself
  • Shutting others out
  • Closing the door on opportunities
  • Saying “no” to creativity, joy, or excitement
  • Restricting yourself from living how you want
  • Skipping out on travel and adventure

Now, there is nothing wrong with living a low-key life that doesn’t involve much adventuring if that’s your preference. What I want to emphasize is that the real goal of quiet living isn’t to shut out the world and live in a bubble.

Instead, it’s to prioritize what matters most and solely focus on caring for yourself and those you love. It’s about tuning out anything that doesn’t benefit your energy so you can achieve inner peace.

A quiet life is choosing what’s worth “listening to.” This includes what you want to do, participate in, engage in, give mental space/emotional energy to. It’s also about learning to tune out unnecessary noise that shows up as:

  • Thoughts/mindsets
  • People
  • Events
  • Habits & routines
  • Expenses
  • Clutter
  • Media/content

What A Quiet Life Looks Like

Living a quiet life looks different for anyone. It might entail some or all of these actions:

  • Choosing more supportive thoughts
  • Redefining what concepts like productivity, hard work, and success mean to us
  • Setting boundaries with friends or loved ones that drain us
  • Skipping events
  • Stopping behaviors or habits that drain us
  • Creating new behaviors or habits that nurture us
  • Less screen time and/or less exposure to social media
  • Cutting down on our expenses
  • Reducing our material possessions and being selective about what’s brought into our homes
  • Consuming less media and content, or choosing content that supports our well-being over trending or salacious content

For me, a quiet life means a peaceful existence with limited exposure to social media and the news. It includes:

  • Spending less time online and more time engaging with hobbies that bring me joy (like reading).
  • spending more time with close friends instead of going out in large groups.
  • Focusing on the most important actions for my business rather than trying to do it all.

Take a moment to reflect on what a quiet life looks like for you. What would you prioritize, and what would you pay less attention to?  

What Are The Benefits Of A Quiet Life?

On the surface, the benefits of living a quiet life seem wonderful. Who doesn’t want less stress, less anxiety, and a shorter to-do list, right?

But there is even more to quiet living than meets the eye.

By taking a softer approach to living, you can focus more on your internal happiness, building your emotional health, and building stronger relationships with people you care about.

Another great benefit of a quiet life is increased space for creativity. Because you free up so much emotional capacity with a quiet life, you have more potential to explore, create, and do things you love.

Common Sources Of Guilt And Shame

By this point, you’re either thinking:

“Jess, this is great — why wouldn’t I want this?”


 “Jess, there’s NO way I can do this!”

If you’re in the second camp, I completely understand. It’s hard to detach from a busy life when you’ve made it such a fundamental part of your identity. We can get so attached to our jobs and stereotypes about who we think we should be that living the life we actually want feels terrifying.

You may be feeling some resistance when it comes to start living slowly. There are some common reasons why people feel hesitant to make a chance:

  • You have a “strong work ethic” (aka you’re an over-worker)
  • You are a high-achiever & choosing “quiet” seems like choosing failure (or refusing success)
  • You’ve learned to associate a loud and fast-paced life with success
  • “Being busy” is seen as a virtue
  • You’ve embraced hustle or grind culture
  • The more you do, the better you feel about yourself
  • It might create distance between you and your friends who don’t want a slow life

Why You Should Reframe Your Mindset To Reduce Guilt And Shame

The truth is that our culture places a huge emphasis on always striving to be successful, going out, doing more, and never “settling.” But what’s wrong with that? If you find what you want in life, and you know what makes you happy, there’s no reason to try and constantly meet society’s expectations.

For introverts, the guilt and shame of wanting a slow life can be compounded by the fact we’re usually told quiet is wrong. Phrases like, “You shouldn’t be so shy,” or, “Why are being you so quiet?” can take a toll on our self-esteem and make it feel like we’re wrong for not being more extroverted.

If you’ve been conditioned to think that quiet = boring or wrong, then it’s natural to feel like living a slow life could be wrong, too. But trust me, one of the best things you can do to counteract these feelings is to recognize that choosing what’s right for you is really the greatest act of self-care you can perform.

“Right, so how do I do that?” Let’s move onto my top tips for overcoming guilt and shame, so you can start living the life you deserve.

Wanting to live a quiet life can sometimes lead to feelings of guilt or shame because society implies a loud life is best. But living a quiet life without guilt is possible. The most important step is a mindset shift.

Tips For Getting Over Guilt From Wanting A Quiet Life

The first thing you want to do is acknowledge your feelings and their source. It’s so easy to push down our tough feelings, but it’s really important that you are honest with yourself. You can’t overcome guilt by feeling more guilty about your feelings.

Embrace Your Emotions

Start by assessing your emotions and just acknowledging them for what they are. Then, dig a little deeper and try to figure out where these sources of guilt and shame come from. You aren’t choosing them on purpose — so where did you pick them up?

Remind yourself that it’s okay to have wants and needs. Your idea of a good life doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.

Do a Reality Check

It’s also a good idea to compare your thoughts and feelings to the context of reality. Sometimes, our brains play tricks on us. We can get so caught up in hypotheticals and overthinking that we wind up being distressed over a non-issue.

Ask yourself, “What would really happen if I embraced a quiet life?”

For every negative outcome, ask yourself the odds of that actually happening and how you’d address it. More often than not, we are able to come up with more realistic scenarios and/or realize that we are capable of handling difficult things.

Journal Through It

Another great tip to try is journaling. Journaling is a simple but powerful tool for examining and processing our  and feelings. Whenever guilt or shame come up, ask yourself questions like:

  • What am I feeling?
  • Is there evidence to support it?
  • Is there evidence to deny it?
  • Is this something that is true, or am I choosing to believe it?

Tap Into Peace and Harmony

You can also try EFT tapping — an acupressure treatment that helps relieve blocked energy and alleviate stress and anxiety. It may sound too good to be true, but EFT — aka emotional freedom technique — is backed by science and tons of clinical psychology. It effectively helps people activate the brain and reprogram it to believe more positive thoughts and beliefs while letting go of old ones.

Practice Making Your Actions Tiny

If the prospect of simplifying your life makes you feel tense, frantic, or overwhelmed, try starting with small steps.

You don’t need to transform your life overnight. Instead, think of the tiniest step you could take and go from there.

For example, instead of pressuring yourself to create the perfect morning routine, add one tiny step (like starting your day with a positive affirmation or thinking of one thing you’re grateful for) to your existing one.

Accept That Your Feelings Are More Important Than What Others Think Of You

Laura Garnett, Performance Strategist and creator of the Zone of Genius, always talks about the importance of honoring your own feelings. Her work has helped me recognize the importance of listening to my heart and going with what feels right for me rather than what I think is best for everyone else.

The key to living a quiet life without guilt is accepting that the most important opinion about your life is your own.

Tips To Embrace A Quiet Life

Now that you’re working through guilt and shame, it’s important to start moving toward the life you actually want. Here are my top suggestions on how to start living slowly:

  • Make a list of what (and who) doesn’t serve you (drains your energy, overwhelms you, frustrates you, etc.) – things you’d be willing to change or let go of
  • Make a vision board for your quiet life
  • Write a journal entry as if you’ve spent the day living a quiet life – what did you do, how did it feel, what did you think… then try it for a day!
  • Seek out content creators that encourage a quiet life (and unfollow those who don’t)
  • Ask yourself (or your friend) to help you brainstorm ideas of what you might do on evenings or weekends that is more aligned with a quiet life
  • Examine your home: which areas feel aligned, and which don’t?
  • Accept the importance of self-acceptance and self-compassion in achieving a quiet life:
    • It might feel boring or counterproductive at first
    • You might itch to stop because change is hard
    • But if this is something that interests you, take small steps to move toward it!

Practical Steps For Living Quietly

In general, it’s easier to start with small, simple changes than tackling big ones. So, makeover your room before breaking up with your partner or quitting your job. These are huge life changes that have long-term impacts.

Even if they may benefit you more in the long run, you’ll feel more confident in addressing those things when the rest of your life is already aligned with a quieter existence.

Plus, if you start living a quiet life, you may be surprised that things you thought were huge issues actually aren’t. It may have just been the way you approached them.

As you start to shift into a more intentional, quiet way of living, things that bothered you may disappear on their own. Or you’ll be so much more focused on your own inner peace that you don’t focus on things that don’t really matter.

Change Your Environment

Make changes to your environment to make it more cozy and serene.

Move the TV out of your bedroom, test putting your phone on a schedule, or turn off your phone for a few hours. At night, consider leaving your phone in another room.

By limiting technology at home, you can create more space to do things that bring you joy without the endless distractions.

Make Small Adjustments To Your Routines

Add a moment of meditation to your day, or a minute or two of EFT tapping.

Write one thing you’re grateful for each morning or night. And when it comes to texts and emails, don’t respond right away.

Create space to start living more quietly.

Practice Saying “No” In Small Ways

Don’t engage in gossip or inflammatory conversations. Just change the topic.

When invitations come your way, say “no” because you want to! You don’t need lots of excuses, either. Just letting someone know you appreciate the invite but aren’t going to attend is enough.

When it comes to work, avoid back-to-back meetings or explore tailoring your approach to demanding scenarios, like networking, so your well-being is first. Schedule your time wisely so you don’t always find yourself feeling burned out.

Of course, you may not always have the ability to choose meeting times. This is why checking in with your manager can be helpful. Review expectations, priorities, and time spent in meetings (often way too much!), so you can get greater balance throughout your day.

There are some high-stress jobs out there that require being on high alert. But for those of us who have more wiggle room, how much of the pressure and noise is self-imposed? Think about this the next time you’re thinking about working overtime or frantically trying to get something done ahead of the deadline.

Track Your Energy And Moods

Record how you feel daily as you make changes to your life.

What felt good, and what didn’t? What changes do you want to keep, and which ones may you modify some more?

Celebrate Yourself For Making Progress

Even if it’s just an experiment, make sure you praise yourself for making an effort to live more closely in alignment with your values!

Communicate Your Wants and Needs To Friends And Family

Other people won’t know that you prefer quiet living if you don’t tell them. It’s important to be courageous and have the confidence to voice your boundaries.

Keep an eye on who does and doesn’t support you — this can help you know which relationships to prioritize and which ones to let go of in the future.


Getting rid of items that are taking up space in your home can make life feel a lot easier. Don’t try to throw everything out at once — just make little adjustments here and there that make your space feel more relaxing and purposeful.


Slow living, quiet living, or low-key living: they’re all about taking life on your own terms and learning to prioritize self-care. Even though we may often be told that being extroverted is the best way to live, introverts have their own way of being that is equally valid.

With small steps and practical changes, you can start enjoying a more vibrant, less chaotic life. I know it’s hard, but I believe in you.

Even though it takes time to make long-lasting change, just one small thing each day can put you closer toward your goal. Even by reading this post, you’ve made a huge step toward living a quieter life.

Do you have any tips for living a quiet life? How did you start prioritizing your peace? Let me know in the comments!

Liked this article? Check out How to Slow Down Life in 2024: 100 Tips for Introverts.

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