How to Overcome Social Anxiety

What is the root cause of social anxiety and self-doubt?

Without a doubt, it’s a lack of self-esteem and unwillingness to accept yourself as you are – flaws and all.

In order to be confident around people, you have to OWN your personality, the way you look and what makes you … you. If you are an introvert, or on the shy end of the spectrum, that is okay. But in your mind, you make it not okay. You isolate yourself and feel awkward around others, because you strongly fear their judgement.

What I have learned, after years of struggling with this stuff, is that:

  1. Most people don’t judge you nearly as harshly as you would imagine
  2. You create the reactions you get by the vibe you put out – they are probably looking at you weirdly becauseĀ you are looking at them weirdly!
  3. It doesn’t matter if people like you. If you are not causing harm to others, then you are a decent human being, and you need to lay off yourself.

I made a YouTube video to emphasize these points, so be sure to check that out right here:

I actually set up a separate channel for High Sensitivity, but given that my existing channel already has a subscriber-base, you are more likely to see me creating content there – so be sure to Subscribe if you want to see more!

I’ll catch you in the next post šŸ™‚

~ Stefan

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I’m an INFJ.

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Hello again.

I hope you are having a nice day.

As well as being a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I am also an INFJ. If you are not familiar with the term or the Myers-Briggs personality test, I highly recommend you give it a go yourself here. I have found it to be very helpful in understanding myself.

I expect it is somewhat common among HSPs to also be INFJs but, out of the 16 personalities, this is said to be the most rare – especially for men. Also known as “The Advocate” or “The Romantic”, INFJs account for less than 1% of the population.

This might explain why I nearly always feel like the odd one out. Like I don’t fit in anywhere. Like I am different.

But maybe being different is okay – good, even.

Because is the average person happy? Does the average person drink and smoke to deal with their problems in life? Do they find fulfillment and connection or are they merely a consumer of the media and over-priced clothing and material objects, chasing status or fame?

As an INFJ, I have a very high sense of morality and am extremely idealistic. Think of Gandhi, who was thrown into this category. On the positive side, we see what is lacking and what needs to be changed – we want to make the World better. But our desires for change can be met by much resistance, as many people would prefer to do things the way they have always been done. Some people don’t think there is anything wrong with this World…

It isn’t a coincidence that I found Veganism – but I will save the talk on this topic for another, more in-depth post.

At the core of the INFJ is a desire to make a difference to this World. To spread happiness and kindness. Hostile environments make us tense and we feel the need to leave those situations so we don’t become overwhelmed with negative energy, which is hard to absorb. People beeping at each other in traffic can make us feel on edge. An argument with a spouse can leave us feeling drained of energy. We have a ‘Can’t we all just get along?’ mentality, which could be considered naive given the state of our World.

We should probably recognise that most other people aren’t born with the same set of values as us. But it can be hard to have any empathy for those who chase money and power while hurting thoseĀ who stand in their way. Or for those who cheat on their partners, or manipulate them for their own gain.

Speaking from my own experience, I very much lack empathy for those who act selfishly and hurt others in order to get what they want. Relating this to being Vegan, I can feel extremely angry if I see a video of someone hurting an animal ‘for fun’. And while this is the natural reaction that many other people would share, I find it hard to let go as I want so much to see justice and retribution. I sometimes create fantasies in my mind where I catch the perpetrator and torture them in painful ways. I mean, I seriously beat the fucking shit out of those horrible bullies!

In reality, this isn’t useful as I have yet to find myself in a position where I can carry out such acts. And who is to say I would be able to in reality? But seriously – hurt an animal and I will go Liam Neeson on your ass.

INFJs are known for their creativity. The ‘I’ stands for introverted, so we spend a lot of our time turning inwards and thinking. This can be great, but if we are in the wrong environment, we can become chronically stressed and negative. Anxiety and Depression are common, because there is always a need for improvement – in ourselves and in the outer World. We are very perfectionistic and expect far too much of ourselves. We focus on what went wrong instead of what went well. Something often feels missing and so – most of the time – we feel discontent.

Personally, I find it incredibly difficult to conform to rules and one-way approaches too. My current job in Car Insurance is unfulfilling to me, because it doesn’t offer me the opportunity to be creative. Everything is rigid and lacking in any personality. I don’t like to use technical jargon like ‘on a without prejudice basis’ or ‘knock for knock’. I would prefer to speak in real, animated ways. Just speak plain fucking English! Every now and then I will get a letter from a ‘third party’ solicitor and they really can talk some old bollocks.

INFJs – as well as HSPs – are prone to becoming overwhelmed and burned out, because things are rarely ‘good enough’ and so much needs to be sorted out. Being an introvert in itself can be challenging given the work-structures of nearly every company, but combined with the high expectations and over-stimulation we face in crowds or when in a situation we feel trapped by, one can sink into some very low moods. This is likely why I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which I am still very hopeful to resolve.

Despite the difficulties I face on a daily basis, this way of being has made me very spiritual and – in the good moments – I feel very connected and at one with the Universe. I must monitor my energy levels – physically, mentally and socially – so I do not become ‘that guy’ who I don’t like so much. All of this is a journey and the more we understand our needs and meet them, the happier we can be. Whatever our personality type, we need to understand ourselves as best we can so we can make the right decisions in life – whether that revolves around Career, Hobbies or Relationships.

You can read all about INFJs in more detail here.

Thank you again for taking the time out of your day to read my thoughts. Please do follow me for further posts on being a Highly Sensitive DUDEEEEEEE. Don’t forget to like the new Facebook page for updates > BOOBIES!!!

I will try to make time to record some more videos for the YouTube channel soon.

Peace.

~ Alex.

 

For those who haven’t achieved anything…

I, too, have got into the mindset where I feel I have done nothing of value with my life.

That if I died tomorrow, I would die without having anything to show for it.

And maybe that’s because we idolize Film Stars and Musicians, who have a a host of glamorized achievements under their belt. Or maybe we see inventors like Steve Jobs, or authors like J.K Rowling and we just cannot live up that level of success and contribution.

And, of course it is extremely unlikely than anyone can! Let’s be real for a minute.

But just because you haven’t walked down the red carpet to screaming fans, or got a number 1 record, doesn’t mean your life is meaningless. It doesn’t mean you never achieved anything.

For example, you might drive a car. That’s impressive – even though some driver’s make me wonder if the test is still too easy. But really, something as simple as passing a driving test shows what can be achieved with practice and dedication. I passed my test on my forth attempt. That sounds bad, and I used to get really nervous because I don’t do well in situations where I am being observed closely, but I have never had an accident in the almost 7 years I have been driving. And hey, I could have quit after 3 fails – But I got there in my own time.

Some people might pass their test first time round, but then rush into a sense of immortality and invincibility. And then they have an accident or, worse yet, die.

This has gotten a little dark, as is usual for me.

But let’s think about something else you might have achieved. How about passing your exams in School? Sure, maybe you weren’t a straight A student. But if you tried your best and didn’t end up unemployable afterwards, that’s worthy of a pat on the back.

And maybe you think your job is a bit shit. Maybe it’s dull, or a monkey could do it. Maybe you are right. But, in time, you can get where you want to be.

Also, we don’t need to see success in the same way we always have. Maybe success is being a good person who does good things selflessly. Maybe someone who looks after the sick and vulnerable is the real success. Maybe that’s what should be valued, instead of good looking people on the TV.

Because there are a lot of rich and famous people in the World who are fucking assholes. They have betrayed people, or maybe exploited people/animals to get where they are now. Like, there are a lot of rich farmers. And Steve Jobs is responsible, in part, for slavery and human rights violations. Think of all the overworked people in China, getting paid fuck all so Apple can reap ridiculous amounts of profit. And I might be a hypocrite for saying that, because (like most people) I own an iPhone. Though I didn’t actually buy it. It was a hand-me-down.

But maybe we should look beneath the surface instead of focusing on the iceberg (or Success) that we usually zone in on.. Maybe some people’sĀ success is a veneer of shit, decorated in some shiny glitter. Maybe all that money is the product of blood, sweat and tears.

And, ultimately, whether you die a Millionaire or a struggling single Mum on benefits, you still die. Your body still gets buried in a hole or burnt to ash (pretty nice thought, isn’t it?).

So, if you want to achieve more, be reasonable. Life gets in the way and we are all trying the best we can (well, not everyone is, but those reading this Blog are the one’s who are in touch with their desires). If you want something bad enough, I believe you can get it. Refuse to quit and don’t give up when success doesn’t come quickly.

But also remember to take a chill pill and lay off the pressure sometimes.

~ Alex.

P.S. I set up a Facebook page, so give it a LIKE šŸ˜‰

 

How To Deal With Anxiety (HSPs).

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This follows on from my last post, where I talked about why anxiety is common among Highly Sensitive People.

You can read that post HERE.

After living with Anxiety (and Depression) on and off for 10 years, I wanted to share what I have learned and how I deal with my crazy little mind.

I spent a lot of money on supplements for a long time, because I was convinced my anxiety and depression were related to a physical problem. I’m not talking about serotonin – I am talking about the negative side-effects I experienced following treatment with Accutane (as previously discussed). I figured I was only depressed and anxious because I felt weak and tired a lot of the time. Or that my body was over-run by toxic medicine residue.

Did any of those supplements help? No. I literally pissed away thousands of pounds and noticed absolutely NO changes. And when I say supplements, I mean I tried like everything. Ancient Chinese herbs, multi-minerals, other herbal remedies (specifically made for me by a Herbalist). All kinds of nasty stuff, like ‘Chinese Bitters’. Holy cow, they were bad!

At one point, I literally put Coffee up my ass!

Don’t judge me! I was super desperateĀ to feel better and even though I knew it seemed like a long shot, I was advised that it’d help cleanse my liver of toxins. To be honest, it felt quite nice (haha) though those days are now ‘behind’ me.

Get it? ‘Behind me’ … like my butt.

Anyway … it’s totally true that there is a mind and body connection. Stress can literally kill you if you don’t take it seriously. At times, I wonder how the f*ck I’m still alive. Like, I’ve been through some deep shit, man. How has my body not just given up? How have I not got cancer?

Despite some ongoing health issues – which I will touch upon in a future post about Health and High Sensitivity – I am very lucky to have not been struck down with anything life threatening.

But if you lack energy, motivation and generally feel a bit naff, it could be that your mind is having an effect on your body. Just in case anyone is still in doubt or somehow thinks this sounds New-agey, it is pure science. The placebo effect has proven how our mind can influence our body. There are plenty of metaphysical books out there about healing. People claim to have beaten Cancer and other incurable diseases by changing their lifestyles and their minds. I for one believe them, because life is too bizarre to be a mistake.

I don’t think we are supposed to just die for no reason, having not achieved the things we are capable of. Although, having said that, this World is obviously very mysterious and, at times, frustrating and brutal. People die because of other road users, or terrorist attacks, or sociopath cannibals. It is hard to give meaning to some things.

Can you tell I am just writing without a thought? This post may seem a little all-over-the-place, but I’m in the zone!

Let’s get to the point though. Anxiety is a big problem. If you are anxious (or depressed, or just generally feeling like crap) a lot of the time, your body is in fight, flight or freeze mode. I’m sure you have heard this before. The whole Caveman thing, where we are faced with a Lion and our adrenal glands are put to work. Everything is put on hold, resulting in susceptibility to illness, a low sex drive, digestive problems and a bunch of other weird stuff. Your heart might race. You get a throbbing headache. Maybe you feel dizzy.

Here is what I can tell you …

  • The more you fight to change the anxiety response, the worse you feel. Because it doesn’t work like that. You are anxious because you are stressed out and resisting what is your current reality. Continuing to fight, while seemingly noble, will not change anything. If you enter a situation where you feel fear, do not try to change your reaction. You can’t! Allow the anxiety to remain there and slow down. Focus on your breathing and allow yourself to just stop caring for a minute. I mean, Jesus, you can’t carry on living like this all the time, right? It can be hard when you are stuck in a rut. Sometimes you need to get away from the situation that’s bringing you down. But sometimes, you need to accept your limitations and shift your focus.
  • The more grateful you are – for the things that are awesome about your life – the better you will feel. There are some Millionaires who are less satisfied with their lives than those who can’t even meet their basic needs in Eastern Countries, stuck in poverty. Often, what we focus on is what we feel. So choose to be grateful for the things that are good in your life. I guarantee you have plenty to be grateful for. Your current mindset may say otherwise. Don’t believe a word. It’s easy to keep saying you will be happy when you quit your job, you find a loving partner, you go on holiday or whatever. But sometimes things are complicated. Sometimes dreams remain dreams. Sometimes a holiday is not forthcoming. So look around at what you have now, in the present. Nothing can last forever, so remember to enjoy the things that surround you at this moment in time.
  • Exercise is so important for the following reason. Anxiety and stress cause your adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and cortisol (hormones). This is okay in moderation, but if it keeps happening you wind up feeling like a deflated bag of potatoes. Exhausted. The best way to release that pent up tension is through exercise. Like, for me, I do get stressed more easily than some people. If I don’t get away from the office during my lunch break, I can start to feel more and more pissed off. I need to have some alone time and space from people. I need to get away from buildings and cars. I get to a spot of nature and it helps. Maybe I still feel fed up afterwards, and want to go home, but it’s the best thing I can do. Combine nature with exercise and you’re onto something good. For me, gyms are ugly factories filled with steroid-injecting, mouth breathing meat-heads, so I avoid them.
  • Anxiety is normal. We can’t feel great and relaxed all the time. And our World promotes anxiety through the negative stories in the news – and there is always a new one. The trashy magazines that tell you how you should look are nothing but poison. People on Social Media can seem so happy and all-together. Remember to keep a realistic perspective. Some people like to make our they are fine when they are really not fine. Not everyone in the streets is a murderer. Celebrities aren’t flawless and pictures are heavily edited. Most of all, accept that with this life (that we have been GIVEN) we can’t always have it our way. Appreciate the good times and carry on when things are hard.

Because I guarantee you, if you feel beaten up at the moment, you will feel better and will have a smile on your face again soon. Anxiety cannot survive if you have hope and love in your heart. So choose to believe there is a reason for all of this. Look for the good in things and if something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to take the reigns and create change.

I wish you all a wonderful week.

Please share this blog post if you enjoyed it. It isn’t easy trying to reach people when you are only just starting out.

I would love to hear from you. What makes you feel most relaxed? What are your anti-anxiety tips?

Peace and love,

~ Alex.