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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 July 8, 2020

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

1. Understand Yourself Better

Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

2. Keep Track of Small Changes

I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

3. Become Aware of What Matters

As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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4. Boost Creativity

The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

6. Process Life Experiences

When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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7. Stress Relief

In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

8. Provide Direction

Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

9. Solve Problems

Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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10. Find Relief From Fighting

Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

11. Find Meaning in Life

Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

12. Allow Yourself to Focus

Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

14. Let the Past Go

I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

15. Allow Freedom

Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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16. Enhance Your Career

Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

18. Catalog Your Life for Others

No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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