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The Most Common Misconceptions About People With Social Anxiety

The Most Common Misconceptions About People With Social Anxiety

As someone who used to suffer with social anxiety, I know first hand the struggles that come along with it and the misconceptions other people can have that make it all the harder to cope with. The more sufferers and others can learn about social anxiety, the better it will be for everyone.

1. It isn’t that common

Anxiety in all it’s forms is something that isn’t often talked about, but social anxiety is really common. It’s thought to affect around 7% of the population, according the The Social Anxiety Association.

In all the people that I’ve spoken to about social anxiety, knowing that they are not alone is one of the most important things to understand in order to start feeling better.

2. It’s just ‘shyness’

Saying social anxiety is just ‘shyness’ can massively downplay the effect it can have on peoples lives. It can cause a huge sense of dread for even the simplest of everyday activities such as going to the shops, meeting people, talking on the phone and going to work. It can affect work, relationships and almost any situation where other people are involved. Even if you feel a bit shy sometimes it doesn’t mean you have social anxiety.

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Letting people know the extent to which it affects you could help people to understand that it’s more than just shyness.

3. People can just snap out of it

Often people without social anxiety can’t understand or relate to people that do have it. They think you can just ‘snap out of it’ ‘be more confident’ or ‘stop worrying’ but it’s not that simple. If people could snap out of it, they would!

It’s really unhelpful to be told something like this when you’re really suffering and can’t find a way out of it. Try to be understanding and remember that as human beings, we all struggle with something.

Remembering that people often find it hard to relate to what anxiety feels like and sharing articles like this one with them can help them to get a better understanding of social anxiety.

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4. It’s a permanent condition

Social anxiety is not permanent, many types of therapy are effective including CBT. If you suffer with social anxiety, definitely seek some help from a therapist or your doctor and don’t suffer alone!

5. It’s caused by your genetics

Genetics can play a role however social anxiety can also be linked back to the way we are brought up be our parents. Being criticized a lot, having parents that worry too much or being told to ‘beware of strangers’ as children have all been linked to increased chances of social anxiety. Often it’s something that we learn as children, which means we can ‘unlearn’ it too and therefore social anxiety is treatable.

Thinking about things that you might have been told as a child can be helpful in aiding you to understand where your thoughts and feelings came from.

6. They’re being rude

Those with social anxiety often want to make friends and have social connections but they fear criticism or making a mistake and therefore hold themselves back and can sometimes appear rude or aloof.

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Practice being friendly with other people and reach out to them to let them know that you do want their friendship.

7. They have a fear of public speaking

Many people with social anxiety would fear public speaking but it encompasses much more than that, making it difficult for individuals to do simple things like going shopping or going to work.

If you fear public speaking start off with something very small and supportive and build you way up to bigger talks. Remember at least that most people can relate to a fear of public speaking and that people are often very understanding, even if things don’t go exactly as you would want.

8. They need to go on medication

Sometimes medication may be helpful and it is always best to speak to your doctor before embarking on any kind of treatment. The doctor will also be able to rule out any other possible health problems or other kinds of anxiety.

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9. If you have social anxiety, you’re weak

Social anxiety is incredibly common and does not make you any less of a person. Social anxiety can happen to anyone and does to people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.You are not ‘broken’, you are still good enough. It’s just that this is something that you are working through at the moment.

Remind yourself of all the challenges that you’ve overcome in your life, the things you have achieved and the times you have helped other people. Doing this helps you to remember that you are a valuable and worthwhile and capable human being.

10. You should avoid social situations if you have social anxiety

In fact, the opposite can be true. Often when we avoid things, the anxiety becomes worse when we eventually have to face them. When we do things we are anxious about and prove to ourselves that we can survive and cope with them, we increase our confidence and often reduce the levels of anxiety. This should be done with the help of a therapist however.

I hope this has busted some myths about social anxiety for you. If you have social anxiety remember than you are not alone and this issue is treatable. Please don’t suffer in silence.

Featured photo credit: 123 RFStock photo via calmer-you.com

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The Most Common Misconceptions About People With Social Anxiety

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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