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22 Things Only People With Social Anxiety Would Understand

22 Things Only People With Social Anxiety Would Understand

You “know the drill.” People all around you are smiling, laughing, talking, and enjoying each other’s company, but you can’t force yourself to participate – you have social anxiety. But while you are feeling so alone, you should understand that your condition is shared by one out of every ten people in this country.

So, here’s a little exercise. As you walk down the street today or tomorrow, count off the first ten people you pass by; one of them probably has social anxiety too. The other thing you need to know is this: you are not crazy – some of your thoughts are irrational, yes, but so are the thoughts of impulsive people and billionaires at times. None of us is immune to them.

Nevertheless, you have specific issues that no one else can really understand, and here are the most common things.

1. Your idea of going out for dinner is to get takeout or go through the drive-thru.

You either bring the food home, or, in the case of the drive-thru, you eat in your car in the parking lot. You just don’t want to walk in, take a table, and be around all those people and that noise. You envy the pleasant interactions that others have with each other and even with strangers, but you cannot bring yourself to become the initiator of social conversation.

2. Your idea of a great evening is staying at home with television, a book, or the Internet.

You seem to be able to communicate on Facebook or Pinterest, but in person, you just can’t find the words. It’s so easy to communicate when you don’t have to do it face-to-face, and you do not understand why this is so.

3. You are always forced to attend a party.

You arrive, certain that everyone is judging and evaluating you, and find an excuse to leave early or, unable to do that, you find a corner where you can be by yourself. If you are introduced to someone, you cannot find the words to strike up a conversation with that person and if s/he attempts to, you respond with one-word or short phrase answers. That person soon leaves for more interesting conversation elsewhere, and you feel left out and shunned.

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4. You only have 1-2 friends, don’t really want any more, and do not seek new relationships of any kind.

You are fine if you don’t see those 1-2 friends often, even though you do enjoy them. They invite you to social gatherings, but you invent excuses for not being able to attend. You only want to be with them when it is just the few of you.

5. You take your lunch to work.

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    Not because it’s cheaper, but because you need an excuse not to go out to lunch with your co-workers. When you are invited to happy hour, you find an excuse not to be able to attend, and eventually they stop inviting you. People come to view you as anti-social when, in fact, you are really just fearful, and you cannot explain why.

    6. You are unable to contribute to conversations that are occurring around you.

    Even when you might have something good to add to the discussion, because you are afraid that someone will think your contribution unworthy or might criticize it.

    7. You seem to be tired all of the time.

    This is not because you have engaged in any strenuous activity, but, rather is a result of living in a continued stressful state. Chronic anxiety is exhausting, and soon you’ll see sleep as an escape.

    8. You experience rapid heartbeat, sweating, and heavy breathing when you are in uncomfortable social situations.

    These are physical reactions to your anxiety and you cannot control them. You are certain that everyone around you notices these physical responses, and that makes you want to remove yourself from a situation even more.

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    9. You are overwhelmed when there are more than just a few people in a room.

    Every noise, light, smell, and action is taken in, and you cannot process it all or filter things out. It is as if you are being bombarded by too much at once, and the result is that you go into “flight” mode and find any way to remove yourself from the situation.

    10. You tune out when several people are speaking.

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      You go into your comfort zone in which you are at least temporarily safe. You shut everything out, and people around you are confused by your behavior. Sometimes, they may think of you as aloof or rude, even though you have a strong desire to be a part of the social experience.

      11. You are overly concerned about your hair, your complexion, your dress and your look in general.

      Because you are certain that everyone is judging and evaluating you on these things. In fact, most people really do have their own issues, their own priorities, and their minds are not on you. It’s impossible for you to accept this, even though you actually realize that your thinking is irrational at that moment.

      12. You engage in bruxism.

      Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, and it is almost as if this is a completely unconscious behavior (and in many cases it is). You are unable to stop it, even though you know it is unhealthy, and you are certain that others are noticing and think there is something wrong with you. However, don’ t be depressed! You are not alone! What is more important – there is a way to bring some relief and make your life more comfortable.

      13. You lose sleep or daydream, imagining the worst possible scenarios.

      Even though you understand that those things will probably never happen. This activity only serves to increase your anxiety level and your continued need to isolate yourself. Again, you understand that your thinking is negative, but you don’t have the tools to turn it off and think of the positive things in your life.

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      14. You are prone to panic attacks.

      Events that immobilize you and cause you to seek medical help when the real culprit is just your anxiety. There is nothing physically wrong with you, but you are convinced there is. An astute medical professional will perhaps pick up on the issue and recommend a counselor or therapist who may be able to help you. Take this as a gesture of kindness, not as an affront.

      15. You cannot think of anything to say on a date.

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        And you do not get asked out again because that person assumes you are just not interested. You really would like to have a relationship, but you cannot bring yourself to talk about your social anxiety and begin to think that you will simply not have a romantic relationship. This thinking creates more anxiety, and perhaps depression. Fortunately, if you find the right doctor, there are medications available that may help. You have to find the courage to seek help, however, even that is difficult because you are so certain that you will be judged for your “weakness.”

        16. You panic when your phone rings at odd hours.

        The same goes when there is a knock on your door and you are not yet dressed for the day. While others would just laugh such a thing off, you go into a tailspin because you are certain you are being judged for the way you look or for being so lazy that you are not “prepared” for your day yet.

        17. You do want others to understand your anxiety, but you have a difficult time explaining it to them.

        You don’t want to show that kind of weakness for fear you will be judged or quietly criticized. In fact, most people are empathetic and understanding if you would give them the chance, but your fear always seems to get in the way.

        18. You can’t explain why you want to be alone, even though others keep asking you or pressuring to engage in social activities with them.

        Eventually, they stop asking you to join in, and this reinforces your belief that you are not liked. When you go to a restaurant by yourself, you take a book, or “work,” or your laptop in with you, so that people will “think” you are busy and will thus not “disturb” you by striking up a conversation. Even the waitress/waiter will quickly take your order and retreat. This isolation is preferable to you, because your social anxiety will not show – everyone will simply think you are a very busy person who must have a “working” lunch or dinner.

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        19. You build your “social” life around family members, because they are “safe.”

        They know you, and because you have grown up among them, you can actually converse. If a sister brings a boyfriend, however, you will avoid him and spend more time in the kitchen with your mom or other siblings.

        20. You tend to have a pet, usually a dog or a cat.

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          You can safely care for that animal, talk to it, cuddle it, and have an emotional attachment that you are unable to have with people.

          21. You rarely travel for pleasure, unless it is with a family or 1-2 of those really close friends.

          And, though you enjoy the experience with these people, if strangers insert themselves in hotels, on the beach or at the pool, or any other time, you “clam up,” unable to enjoy their company. You will avoid vacations that involve cruises, tours, and other things that will “throw you in” with others.

          22. You may see an acquaintance from a distance, and, because you do not know what to say, you go out of your way to not be seen.

          If you are seen, and that person comes up to you, you have a very short conversation and indicate that you have an appointment and must go.

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          Elena Prokopets

          Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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          Last Updated on March 25, 2020

          How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

          How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

          How many times have you not achieved your goals and let yourself down due to your lack of motivation? When you’re not wallowing in sadness and self-pity, you are too busy procrastinating till you can’t anymore and before you know it, you are part of vicious cycle of anxiety and stress.

          Whether it’s losing weight or bringing your business to fruition – motivation is essential for growth and success in every sphere of our lives.

          That said, it is not easy staying motivated. In order to constantly stay motivated, you need to take ownership of your life and consciously make efforts in that direction.

          Well, it’s never too late to take matters in your hands and change the course of your life. Here are 11 effective ways to crush your lack of motivation and always stay motivated:

          1. Write Your Goals

          The power of writing goals down has always been underestimated. Why write when you can remember, right? Wrong.

          Our thoughts are all over the place and the first step to achieve your goals is to organize your thoughts. So, write your goals down, however big or small they might be. Make them as specific as possible and assign deadlines to each of them.

          As you write them down and revisit them regularly, they get further drilled in your head, taking you closer to your goals. Doing this small exercise helps you to remain focused, motivated and lets you track your progress with ease.

          Start today – take to your laptop or a diary and get down to writing what you wish to achieve in life.

          2. Beat Procrastination

          Your lack of motivation and procrastination go hand in hand. Every time you procrastinate, your motivation levels take a greater hit. The only way to bring an end to this loop is to stop procrastinating.

          Next time you find yourself putting off something for ‘later’, stop and assess the reasons behind it. Get to the root of the cause and eliminate it in order to overcome this poor habit of procrastinating which is sabotaging your life and mental health.

          Take a look at this guide and learn how to beat procrastination:

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          What Is Procrastination (And the Complete Guide to Stop Procrastinating)

          When you finally overcome procrastination, you will realize the positive impact it has on your mood and motivation levels.

          3. Celebrate Small Wins

          In the quest to achieve the bigger goals in life, we often forget to celebrate the smaller wins along the way. An achievement is an achievement – be it big or small, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

          Finished a project on time? Reward yourself. Managed to run on the treadmill for a good one hour? Pat yourself on the back. Found time to meditate? Celebrate it.

          It is these small achievements that reinstate that we are on the right path and take us one step closer to the bigger goals.

          So, get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating small wins. You will be surprised to see how this practice helps you stay motivated.

          4. Practice Gratitude

          It’s easier to whine about what we don’t have rather than counting our blessings. Isn’t it?

          Making gratefulness a part of your life is a very important step to retain high motivational levels. It revitalizes our spirits and renews our enthusiasm for life.

          So, how do you practice gratitude? For starters, keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you are grateful for, express your gratitude to people you love and spread positivity wherever you go. If you need some inspiration to be thankful for, here it is:

          60 Things To Be Thankful For In Life

          By doing so, you begin to focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t and that is a great start to stay motivated.

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          5. Be Optimistic

          Life is not always hunky dory. There will be bad days when things aren’t going in your favor, when you feel lost and all you want to do is give up.

          At such times, instead of letting negativity take over your life, adopt an optimistic approach to life. Quit overthinking, ask the right questions and focus on finding solutions.

          Yes, there will be hurdles along the way but if you hang on to positive affirmations and hopes, the journey will be a lot smoother. So, with every passing day, sow the seeds of positivity and you are sure to build a positive environment around you.

          6. Don’t Dwell on the Past

          A lot of times, our lack of motivation stems from the habit of dwelling on the past. This gives rise to fear and regrets, preventing us from making progress in the present day.

          Dwelling on the past is nothing but a waste of time. Understand that the past is long gone, and you cannot do anything to change that.

          What you can do is make your present day worthwhile. Instead of looking back and having regrets, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

          So, the next time you find your mind wandering off to the past, be determined to change the way you think and consciously concentrate on living in the present. This guide can help you:

          10 Simple Steps To Let Go Of The Past

          7. Face your Fears

          You can never find motivation where there is fear. Identify the fear that is pulling you back and tackle it.

          If you don’t face your fear head on, you cannot expect to conquer it and renew your motivation.

          Ask yourself: What is stopping you? What are you scared of?

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          Once you accept your fear, you can work on an action plan and think of solutions to overcome it. This article will give you some effective tips on conquering your fears:

          How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

          Seek external help if required but don’t choose to turn a blind eye over your fears – it will only aggravate matters.

          8. Visualize your Success

          You must have heard the famous quote, ‘see it to believe it’. That is exactly what visualization is about.

          One of the most effective self-motivation techniques, visualizing the process to your desired outcome helps you move in a positive direction and achieve your goal.

          Close your eyes and focus all your energies on the minutest of details that will take you where you want to reach. Doing this exercise everyday inspires you to keep going and not lose hope. The vision of attaining success will drive you to do better while instilling belief and confidence.

          9. Find Inspiration

          Can’t seem to find inspiration inwards? Don’t panic. There are plenty of external sources to gain inspiration from.

          From motivational books and quotes to speeches, films and apps – it is a good idea to take help from motivational material to rekindle your spirits and regain your motivation.

          Everyone is wired differently. For instance, a self-help book might work for your friend, but it might do nothing to move you. So, find what inspires you and turn to it when you are in desperate need for motivation.

          Finding inspiration externally fills you with hope and sometimes that is all you need.

          10. Enjoy Downtime

          You are clearly exhausted with all the running you’re doing in life. So much, that you don’t even have time to stop and think what’s causing you so much unhappiness. All you know is that you are lacking motivation and everyday seems to have become a struggle.

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          Now, that’s certainly not how you should live the rest of your life.

          You need to schedule downtime for yourself, relax and give your mind and body some rest. Take a vacation, indulge in hobbies, meet some friends, put your hair down and stop with all the overthinking. It is important to do things that make you happy in order to think clearly and stay motivated.

          11. Meditate Regularly

          Meditation lets you take control of your mind. It improves focus and concentration while helping you relax.

          Whenever you have had a tough day or find your thoughts going places, the best way to calm yourself down is by closing your eyes and meditating. It helps you to remove all the unnecessary frills in life and keeps you on the right track.

          Include meditation in your daily schedule and you are sure to see an improvement in your productivity and motivation.

          The Bottom Line

          Practicing these simple exercises isn’t the tough part, what’s tough is religiously doing them every day.

          However, don’t expect to get rid of your lack of motivation overnight. There will still be days when you will be low on energy but by making these conscious efforts to stay motivated, you are sure to see a vast change in your perspective and your response to bad days.

          So, start today and be committed to making a positive change in your life.

          More Tips About Staying Motivated

          Featured photo credit: Sonnie Hiles via unsplash.com

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