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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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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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