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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 September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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