There’s a common misconception about introverts and that is they’re anti-social. While this could not be further from the truth, some introverts are naturally socially anxious. Not every introvert has social anxiety, a lot of introverts don’t have social anxiety and some extroverts even have social anxiety. But there are some that fall into both categories and trying to live day-to-day can be a challenge where you feel like the whole world is constantly judging you.
I still get nervous whenever I have to leave my house to do something as simple as ordering coffee or buying groceries whenever you leave an interaction with someone else your mind is racing, constantly pestering you about the interaction you just had. This is a common problem people with social anxiety face on a daily basis. This is a crushing feeling that weighs heavy on your mind as you feel like you can’t just be yourself and enjoy conversations with people.
Fortunately, over the years I’ve found a few ways to help manage social anxiety and help manage it so you can enjoy relationships in your personal and work life.
What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is described by having one or more of the following symptoms.
- A marked fear of being perceived as awkward or weird in social settings
- Fear of being rejected because of perceived awkwardness
- Fear or anxiety causes a significant amount of emotional turmoil
People who have these signs have some amount of social anxiety and it keeps them from living life in its fullness. You could be fine socializing with friends you’ve known for years but when they suggest you all go to a party you can feel tense up and your heart starts racing at the possibility that you might make a fool of yourself in front of your friends and any party-goers there.
Signs You Have Social Anxiety
There are a few telling signs that you can look for that show you are socially anxious. You could be fine around friends and loved ones you’ve known for years but still clam up whenever it’s time to talk to someone new or you’re in a social setting where you feel uncomfortable. These signs include:
- You tense up whenever going outside
- You avoid going out
- You need alcohol to get through social situations
- You leave parties/events early
As you can see the symptoms of having social anxiety are pervasive in an individual’s life and can get worse if not dealt with. This creates a vicious cycle where you don’t go out and get depressed about not being able to socialize so that keeps you from meeting new people and eventually this problem goes unsolved for years on end.
This was me for a long time it felt awful. You feel like you’re missing out on life because of your own fear and there’s seemingly nothing you can do about it. After years of this, I found a few ways you manage your social anxiety if you’re naturally introverted.
4 ways to manage social anxiety
One way to help ease the anxiety and racing thoughts that come with it is to take a few minutes every day to sit down and be mindful of your thoughts. Meditating has helped tremendously to help ease anxiety and thoughts of not being good enough. When you take time to watch slow your mind down and watch your thoughts you realize that those negative thoughts aren’t you and they’re just your fear in the form of a negative thought feedback loop.
If you really think about it the fear you experience is a good thing because it shows you really want to be the social butterfly you know you are at heart and share your gifts with everyone around you. If you meditate you see that you attach your perception of yourself is sometimes tied to your thoughts and when reality doesn’t match up with what you think of yourself you beat yourself up for it.
If this sounds like you it might be a good idea to try meditating. If you don’t know how that’s ok there is a ton of great resources for meditation. An oversimplified version of meditation is to find someplace quiet where you won’t be bothered by noise. Sit or lie down in a way that is most comfortable for you and breathe in slowly through the nostrils and exhale slowly out the mouth. As you do this watch your thoughts drift by like they’re clouds in the sky. As you do this you might have thoughts come up that make you sad, angry fearful, etc. When thoughts like these pop up it’s important not to judge them. Feel whatever emotion that comes up but doesn’t attach yourself with the thought simply feels the emotion that needs to be felt, accept it and move on.
This might sound weird if you’ve never meditated but it’s ultimately a process of watching your thoughts and being mindful of how they impact you and your life. I’ve been meditating for years now and I wouldn’t be where I am today without daily meditation.
- Take Kratom to Naturally Curb Anxiety
I’m a huge fan of taking Kratom to help calm my nerves and help me unwind around my friends and people I’m just meeting for the first time. Unlike alcohol, taking kratom and other supplements that promote brain health gives your brain and body the nutrients it needs to function properly.
One of the effects is reducing anxiety present in the brain by calming it down and making you more relaxed in social settings. A study showed that taking a few key nootropics over a period of two weeks showed a marked decrease in anxiety.
If you’ve never heard of Kratom you go can go here to see how Kratom helps anxiety or other resources online that are experts in what kind of Kratom you can take that naturally decrease your anxiety whenever you start to become nervous.
- Don’t Get Caught in Negative Feed-back loop
This is just a fancy way of saying don’t let negative thoughts overwhelm you. Sometimes that’s easier said than done but it’s important if you have social anxiety to not get bogged down by negative thoughts. This goes back to mediation and watching your thoughts, whenever you start to feel certain thoughts come up like:
“I’m not good enough”
“People think I’m weird”
“I should be talking more”
Whatever thought comes up don’t chase it, when you do this you’re chasing yourself deeper down the rabbit hole, so to speak. Whenever you give the thought energy by reacting to it you’re producing more negative thoughts that take a toll on your mental state over time.
Whenever you’re in a situation where you can’t seem to get your thoughts under control, go outside and take deep breaths and calm yourself down and say a few affirmations that empower you. These are things you KNOW about yourself that are grounded in reality. Say things like “I’m a good friend and people value my input”. Anything like this as long as it helps you break that negative thought pattern.
- Put Yourself around people you feel comfortable with
You notice if you go out with friends you feel less anxious around friends you’ve known for a while. Being around close friends is where an introvert naturally shines, when you know you’re around people that won’t judge you or you know have your back it really puts you at ease.
Whenever you’re going out to a party it really helps to have a friend you know there with you. This takes the pressure off by having a friend you open up it naturally makes it easier to open up to other people you run into and you and really be yourself around them.
Next time there’s an outing where you can bring a friend consider taking someone you’re really close to, it really makes a difference. If you regularly deal with anxiety check out this list of the best nootropics for anxiety. They’ve worked wonders for me and can help you naturally decrease anxiety.