I am one of the people who overthinks everything. And when I say everything, I really mean everything. Getting dressed is hell. Walking out the door nearly 30 minutes late and realizing you should be wearing the black pumps instead of the boots with the gold heel feels as if Satan is screwing with your mind while he’s getting off as you burn in hell.
Example: I once ordered a latte, gave it to a homeless man and drove to a Starbucks nearly 10 minutes away so I didn’t have to order from the same barista. I go into Starbucks nearly everyday and I have never ordered anything besides black coffee. Nevertheless, every single time I stare at the drinks menu, occasionally letting people go in front of me while I pretend to read it. I only enjoy the first 2 sips of pumpkin spice latte but is it enough for me to buy one? I don’t fucking know. Maybe I’ll figure it out after another 600 visits.
I’m an introvert; I am one of the shyest people you’ll ever meet and although half the time I’m trying really hard to “keep it cool” (24 years of practice has really paid off) my mind is actually going a million miles a minute. Can anyone relate?
I’ve read countless articles on how to overcome shyness and how to be a “better” you. I have held a few conversation with people with completely different personalities than my own and few other with people just like me. Similarly, I’ve tried to make my own assumptions and listed the why’s, how’s, pro’s, and con’s of being an introvert. In other words, I’ve spent hours on end overthinking my situation. Over the years, however, I’ve changed. I worked my way to manage my anxiety, steer away from absolute shyness, and learned to stand up for myself. How?
5 WAYS TO HELP DEAL WITH SHYNESS AND ANXIETY:
SPEECH CLASS AND COLLEGE
Well if you’re not going to college join a free course or Toastmasters!
One of my biggest fears was presenting. Someone once told me that getting nervous was a good thing because it was a sign that you were excited to do your best. He’s fucking crazy because this has never been the case for me. I hated my speech class more than I hate the color purple. Just like the class, I could’ve avoided wearing it all together but finding the perfect purple platforms convinced me otherwise. Speech was my first big step. Focusing on my grades and studying to always being ready to answer any questions during my presentations gave me the boost of confidence I needed.
I once talked to a therapist that told me anxiety came from fear. He asked me why I felt so threatened by presentations, confrontations, and every other social scenario. After 500 “I don’t know’s” I told him that I felt like I knew nothing. It was such a relief to be so aware that having more confidence (or at least just pretending to) could help ease my stress over having to deal with presentations and social interactions.
PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Constantly putting yourself in situations you’d normally find too uncomfortable is the best medicine to fight those intolerable nerves. My last year in college I began volunteering to present even though I hated every minute of it. Although it can be difficult, making yourself do something you’re uncomfortable with, you’ll slowly grow courage to do it more often without feeling threatened. This probably makes me sound as if I always take the lead. I don’t. It’s 4 out 10 times I take those chances because the other 60% is to scared to even consider.
STOP JUDGING YOURSELF
You know when you’re having a good day and then you’re reminded of you of something stupid and embarrassing you decide to hide instead? I’d beat myself down and get angry for nearly every situation. Forcing yourself to forget about it is a terrible habit. What should you do instead? Every time you catch yourself criticizing yourself, stop and ask yourself why and list all the reasons why it shouldn’t bother you. Just breathe. Trust me, if you’re generally nervous, coping with judging yourself or comparing yourself to others can definitely help fight the anxiety.
Truthfully, it doesn’t have to be blogging. It can be anything from writing a short story, taking dance classes, or making YouTube videos. Having something as intimate – as blogging – go live and being able to live through the embarrassment, anxiety, or judgement, is one of the biggest accomplishments that will help you lose your fear.
It started as a hobby and slowly turned into an outlet where I could explore my writing, storytelling, and application of all the marketing and business tools I learned in college. The anxiety I got from finally hitting the “publish” button was unnerving. In these two years, I’ve written things I would have probably never shown anyone. Truthfully, I couldn’t bear my own sister reading my writing and blushed even when I wrote my boyfriend a letter but it has definitely gotten better.
The biggest issue, which I always associated with being too nervous, is overthinking. Egregious, is what it is and I’m still trying to overcome this unnecessary habit. When things are going well, overthinking becomes less of a priority than when things are going bad. There are moments in my life where my anxiety gets the best of me that I even forget to eat. I left my keys in my car all day, with the engine running, TWICE.
When life gets rough, write a list of every possible thing that is going wrong and worry about it until you calm myself down. Then, restrict yourself from thinking about it until your next “worry session“. Don’t forget to list the possible solutions to every problem. Ask yourself if it is even your fault and how you can fix it.
If things are going fine you should still practice this worry session. As an over-thinker, you never know when anxiety can come busting in.