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Feel Anxious in Social Situations? Try These Methods

Feel Anxious in Social Situations? Try These Methods

I entered the restaurant and immediately felt as if everyone is staring at me, judging me and do not approve of my appearance. I sat at the table, which I reserved earlier, thinking I might feel safer, but my paranoia did not stop. My every movement felt awkward. I was praying for my friends to get to the place faster and “protect” me.

These kind of feelings are frequent visitors in my head every time I go to the mall/restaurant/any place full of people. I start thinking that I’m wearing wrong clothes, walk in a funny way, and behave hideously. Next emotions are sadness, depression and a strong desire to get under the blanket and cry my eyes out.

Scientists Define Two Types of Social Anxiety

Scientists say that there are two types of social anxieties:

  • people who fear most social situations (like in my own example above), or
  • people who fear situations where they have to perform (for example job interviews, public speaking etc.).

Both situations may feel like you are having a panic attack: “racing” heart, feeling weak and dizzy, breathing difficulties, feeling sweaty or having chills.

Social Anxiety Hinders Your Life

Social anxiety is underestimated very frequently. However, it can damage a person’s private, work and family life significantly, and should be taken seriously.

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For people who suffer from social anxiety, it is hard to communicate with colleagues, present your work, attend parties and work-related events, and socialize with other parents during school activities.

The list can go on. Hence, the damage can spread around as well.

It should be clear now: this kind of issue should not be ignored and avoided.

How to Get over Social Anxiety

The good news is that we live in a very progressive time, and people with social anxieties can get different kind of help when they just don’t know how to get over social anxiety.

It is important to understand this issue even for those, who does not experience it, because one day they might be faced with a situation where their knowledge might be useful.

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There was a situation not so long ago when I’ve had one of the worst social anxieties in my life, supported by one of the worst panic attacks as well. A friend of mine, who had to deal with this situation, had no idea that this happens to me from time-to-time.

You will be surprised when I say that I felt bad for him more than I did for myself. He had to figure out what to do right there on the spot. Him and I were saved only becasue unconciously he made a few good decisions, and we were able to avoid the more dramatic ending.

There are many well-known ways on how to deal with this kind of issues, and people must be encouraged to try different ways, and practice whichever is more suitable for them.

Yoga

This may sound like a cliché, but yoga helps. Especially the breathing exercises, which is an absolute must when you are doing yoga, have a good long-term impact.

Even if you do not have time to attend yoga classes, there are other convenient alternatives. There are plenty of awesome videos online and you can pick the one with the right duration and right pace.

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Be realistic

Accept the fact that this kind of issue exists in your life.

Many people prefer to suffer and be in denial, making an issue worse day by day.

Do not be afraid of whatever may come next, after your acceptance. No matter what, after you make peace with it, it will only start getting better afterwards. You will be faced with understanding from yourself and from others too.

Practice

Practice facing your fear. Afraid of public speaking? Try it in front of the mirror, and be judgements like to yourself, challenge yourself.

Afraid of interviews? Ask a friend to challenge you with difficult and tricky questions.

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Practice whatever you fear.

Predict

Try to predict your reaction in different situations and how could you handle them right there on the spot.

Keep in mind what kind of thoughts make you calmer. Keep in storage a few happy stories, which happened to you, and which make you smile.

Practice and practice predictions of your emotions.

Therapy

For some people this is a very scary word. Some might think that they are putting in doubt their sanity and reputation. However, we are living in the 21st century and thankfully we come across some very open-minded people.

Nowadays going to therapy is just like going for a walk in the park: relaxing activity, which will give some clarity in your head.

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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