Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Is It Anxiety, Or Am I Just Overthinking?

I felt the blood rushing to my head. 
My neck felt pins and needles, and I was feeling like my loose tee shirt was too warm. 

It was my first time entering a store I'd never been to before, and I didn't know what to expect. 
There was a water fountain at the entrance, and I wasn't sure if that meant I should have a drink, or if I was allowed to give some to my son. 

Then he began screaming. 
He too saw the water and insisted on drinking it. 

What if he spills it?
What if I spill it?
What if he spills it on something, and it's a $400 painting. 

My hands are sweating. 
My heart is racing. 
My child is crying and tears well up in my eyes too. 

I'm overthinking. 

The fear-filled emotions and negative feelings anxiety forces into your brain is the root of all of it. 
They're linked for sure, but overthinking is absolutely not social anxiety. Let's walk through it together. 

Shyness and Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is pretty all-encompassing. There are a lot of symptoms of social anxiety, but each of those symptoms on their own is not social anxiety. 

First, we will talk about shyness. 

You can be shy, or suffer from shyness and social anxiety but they can also happen separately. The difference is a bit tricky. Shyness is more about being and feeling vulnerable around new people and eventually opening up. Or you could feel fine being around people, but you don't have to talk to them. 

Anxiety is fear. Social interactions are hard, even something as simple as asking if the water at the front of the store is for everyone. With social anxiety, it's not talking to people it's being around them at all. 

What is Overthinking?

It's incredibly common to have social anxiety and overthink. I would even say most people with social anxiety do overthink. 

Some people overthink things but can calm themselves down enough to handle social situations. 

With anxiety, it's much more difficult to handle even if you aren't overthinking too much. Your thoughts get the better of you with overthinking and you get wrapped up in what could happen and then those feelings lead you down the anxiety rabbit hole. 

When you can identify how it's starting, you can find a way to reduce your anxiety. 

How Anxiety and Overthinking Can Be Related

Overthinking can lead to worsened social anxiety symptoms so easily. This generalized fear of being around large groups of people can be exacerbated quickly with this overthinking mindset. Worrying about what others say, think, or do can be debilitating. This is where panic attacks start. 

I like to take deep breaths and try to ground myself to the situation. 
This works sometimes. 

At the store that day, I focused on my son and repeating his feelings back to him. He simply wanted to be in the cart, and I was asking him to walk.

By focusing on the things you have control over you have a much better chance of working through it. 

On days when it's too much, it's okay to walk right out of that store and return another day. 

What ways do you overthink?

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

You Don't Have to Struggle to Make Decisions Anymore

inside: Make It A Habit – The Benefit Of A Routine & Habit Filled Day 

It's 4pm. I have no idea what to cook for dinner, or if tonight should be bath night. 
The little one is stinky, but he's always stinky. And sticky. 

My feet ache from carting children around, and I just want to sit down and zone out on my phone. 

I'm tired of all the decisions I've made today, and I don't want to make any more. 

Disconnecting from my life and my responsibilities appear to be the easiest path. 
My brain is exhausted from all this decision-ing. 

Did you know that's common? Because I didn't. 

We have a limited amount of willpower every day to make decisions, and at the end of the day, our brains are like puddles on the floor because of all the work they've done today. 

No wonder deciding what movie to watch on Netflix is so difficult. 

There IS a way around this. 
Habits and routines. 

Just think: If you don't have to decide whether to make coffee before or after dropping off your children at school, that's another decision you can use later. 

This knowledge can help you prioritize. If you want to cut out a lot of the decision making in your day, implement habits and routines so you can save your decisions for the important stuff (like watching Game of Thrones or that new "Lorena" special on Amazon Prime). 

You can free up your brain space for important things.

Routines are a great tool that encourages simplification of our lives and cuts out so much daily stress.

We all already have a morning routine. Get up, get coffee, read the paper or check our email and stumbling into the shower before hastily getting dressed and running out the door. Hopefully, we don't forget anything important!

Related: How To Create the Perfect Morning Routine For Your Life.

Let's make your day better by planning it out.

If you create a "uniform" for yourself, you don't have to think about what to wear. You just grab a pair of pants and a shirt and whatever else and off you go. draw diagrams of the outfits you'd like to wear and put them up in your closet or fold those clothes together so you know your favorite outfits is always together.

Implement routines whenever you possibly can.
Meal planning is such an amazing tool for reducing everyday stress.
It helps you know what to buy at the grocery store -- saving you money and helps you know exactly what to pull out of the fridge and cook every evening.

A cleaning schedule ensures you stay on track with your household chores without wasting time deciding what to clean today.

I even go as far as to have a laundry schedule. Each day is a different type of laundry, and diapers always have priority over all. This way we don't run out of underwear, jeans, or someone's very favorite PJ Mask pajamas.

Wrapping your day up with a great bedtime routine will help you make the best decisions when you're tired and fall asleep easier.

Those articles you read about getting your toddler to sleep?
They work for you too.

Deciding to brush teeth, moisturize your skin and rub some Magnesium on your legs and feet before bed will help you sleep soundly. I've linked what I personally use above, but you can also click here.

I always start by completing a few chores to make my morning easier.
I have a certain counter I use all morning, and it brings me a lot of joy to start my day with it already cleaned off and ready for me to make lunches on.

Another great example is making sure everyone has all their school things ready. Do they need to bring their library book back? Make sure it's in their backpack for them.

Sit down with a pen and paper and think about what parts of your day and week you can turn into routines and habits. Write them all down and create daily to-do lists for yourself until you've established these new habits and routines.

I love lists, we have them all over the house. 

Spending time creating routines and habits will make your day run smoother. You'll also reduce your stress and get so much more done during your productive hours. 

So go ahead, give that little stinky one a bath, and decide what days to give him a bath each week so you won't have to face this stress anymore. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

How To Create a Journal to Help Your Mental Health

inside: beginner tips for starting a journal to help your mental health journey. 

There's nothing quite like a new notebook. 

The fresh sheets, with endless opportunity. 
I love running my hand across a smooth, perfect first sheet of paper in a new notebook. It sends a wave of excitement up my arms and down my back. 

A new notebook is my jam. 

I want everyone to feel this happiness, so I'm putting together this guide to help you get started. 

Maybe you already feel the excitement, but you're not sure how to keep it going and make a lasting commitment, or maybe you don't know how beneficial journaling is for your brain's health. 

How do I Start Writing a Journal?

We have a lot of things on our minds, yet we don't put it down on paper

These ideas and thoughts bouncing around in your head can start to feel overwhelming quickly. You may have secret hopes, dreams, love interests, failures or ups and downs going through your head. 

It's impossible to remember each one without writing them somewhere. It's even harder when you want to organize your thoughts at all. 

What was I doing when I had my panic attack last week? 
What about the one two months ago?

A great way to fix this problem is to have a journal. 
You can clear your mind, you can keep track of important thoughts, and you can have it all in one place. 

I truly believe journaling is for everyone and is an amazing way to express yourself without fear of judgment. 

But how do you start?

1. Protect Your Privacy

The first step is always protecting your privacy. 

Always reserve the first page of your journal for your name and phone number or email address. 

If you lose your journal or leave it somewhere, you have a better chance of getting lucky and having it returned to you. 

Online writers can get a personal email set aside just for journal entries, or investing in a flash drive to keep entries on, and keeping them password protected.  

You may also like: The Ultimate Guide to Social Anxiety

2. Date Your Entries

If this entire post only encourages you to establish one habit while writing in your journal, make it adding dates to all your entries. 

This allows you to reconstruct your entries chronologically by dates. 

It can also help you notice trends of behavior or thoughts. 
I find it especially helpful when looking back to find my last panic attack or anxiety attack. 

3. Keep and Read What You Write

The majority of journal writers don't go back and read what they have written. 

You might be surprised at how much you've grown, or even how much you knew before. 

I have always loved going back and reading things I've written before about the struggles I've faced and overcome. 

4. Write Thoughts Down Quickly

I'm talking about the "journal block". Journal writers know all about it and hate it. 

It's the same as writer's block, where you lose your train of thought and potentially an awesome few sentences if you don't pull it out of your brain on time. 

My tip for outsmarting this block is what I call "word vomit". 
Get it all out. Write or type as fast as you can and as soon as you have a thought come to mind.

Don't allow yourself to write it down late, because you might miss your chance. 

5. Be Truthful

Your journal is your personal space for your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. 

This journal is for you, so being deceitful will not serve you. 
No one has to see the words you write.

Your truth is not your enemy. 

6. Write Naturally

The coolest part about keeping a journal is no rules. 
You don't have to use all the new techniques if you don't like them. You don't have to write about anything you aren't interested in. 

Everything about your journal is to serve you. 

Try not to overthink what you're writing and how you are writing. Writing naturally and enjoying the process will help you gain more from writing. 

7. When You Start, Don't Stop

I start new entries with the present moment. Whatever is going on in my brain comes out. 

It might be the weather, or what's going on this week at my kid's school, or how much I hate Wednesdays with every fiber of my being. 

Keep those thoughts and ideas flowing.
Add how you're feeling about these things also. 

When you come back and read old entries, you will find it easier to relive the moment if you are more descriptive about how you're feeling as things are happening. 

Avoid editing and rewriting anything while you're writing. Let everything flow naturally. 

8. Start with A Quick Meditation Moment

A good way to get ready for writing is to take deep breaths and meditate. Find what works for you to get you in the mood for journaling by trying different things. 

Maybe you need to meditate, take a shower, or watch a motivational clip on YouTube. 

What are the Benefits of Journaling?

Journaling has long been thought of as assignments in high school English class, and not for much more. 

Most don't think of journaling as a tool for helping your outlook and your health. Perhaps you've been told by friends or a therapist about how it can help your current mood. 

Tension Release

Your children are driving you crazy, and you want to vent your frustrations. 

Instead of sending your husband or BFF yet another long text about how much you hate your life, write it down. 

We all need to vent. 

Get all of your thoughts out without interruption, and get to the root of your problem. When we write about the issues, we can keep asking ourselves why do we feel that way until we get to the real reason for the tension. 

Start with your feelings and keep writing why until you make it to the root. The core of your problem won't have blame. 

You may start with "I hate my children today", but widdle that pain away until you get to the real reason for your tension and anger. You may find you're upset because you haven't been able to get a shower in three days. 

There is your solution. 
Put another episode of "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" on, lock all your outdoor doors, and go take a shower. 

Reduced Anxiety

Anxiety can be triggered by so many different things. For me, it's driving someplace new, meeting new people, or forgetting to make muffins on Sunday. 

Journaling is a game changer when it comes to finding what's causing your anxiety. 

You can work through the anxiety through journaling. 
Follow the patterns to show what your trigger is. 

For some, knowing your trigger is enough to have an anxiety proof day. 

Reduced Negativity

Oh yeah, we're reducing all that negativity. 

Remember when I told you about telling my husband I hate my children? I worked through it and realized I was most negative on Wednesdays and Fridays when both of my sons were home all day.

Through venting my feelings, I found the root of my anger, and how to fix it. They were bored, and they took it out on each other. 

Venting out your issues will help you see what people, places or events are triggering your negative reactions in your life. 

This means you can focus on how to fix them. 
Changing events in your life, changing your outlook or removing negative people from your life. 

Increased Positivity

Ousting the negative will leave you with space to grow your positivity. 

A positive view will lead to less stress, less anxiety, and less wanting to throw your children out the window. 

These benefits represent only a few of the overall benefits routine journaling can have on your health. 

You will discover other benefits that are more specific to your needs. As you discover these benefits, you can expand on your journaling to become even more personal and beneficial. 

How Do You Create a Successful Journal?

Success depends on the person, doesn't it? I find something successful if it changes my life for the better. 

How can journaling change your life?

Whether you're dealing with anxiety or simply going through a rough patch in life, journaling can be your free and self-managed form of therapy. 

Journaling is always there for you when you need it. 
Even when you've managed to reach a state of emotional balance and mental peace, there's still room for journaling in your life. 

Evoke A Sense of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is so important in today's society. People move from day to day without ever stopping to smell those roses. They're failing to feel or express gratitude for the countless wonderful things happening in their lives. 

Writing a journal forces you to stop and reflect on what seems like a minor even that might go overlooked otherwise. 

It's not just about noticing the positive either. 

During the process of writing about your day and your interactions, you may notice some negative patterns repeating themselves. 

Problems in your personal relationships, or personal needs you haven't been paying attention to. 

Writing them down will help you find alternative ways of responding to both internal and external stress you haven't been using. 

Establish a Positive Mindset

Positivity sure is an elusive thing, isn't it?

I have such a hard time with positivity on those hard days. I can't see the blessing of my life, and I get caught up in the negativity. 

Spending time to reflect on the small blessings in life can automatically spring me from negativity into a positive and proactive mindset. 

You may have every reason to be angry or upset, but you also have a million blessings, like your health, or your happy dog at home who would love to go on a long walk with you. 

You have another day to affect change in your life. 

Listing out things that establish you as stronger, smarter, and more enduring than the problems you're facing at the moment will give you strength, and the right attitude to keep pushing forward. 

Start Forming New Goals

Journals are a great first step towards life planning.

You can sift through all your thoughts and find what you think is important and worth pursuing. 

Bounce ideas around and see what sticks as something you want to follow. Once you are ready for something more formal, you can draft ideas in your journal about what you hope to achieve and why. 

Enhance Your Creative Potential

Writing every day is such a cool way to boost your creative juices. 

You're not writing a news report about what happened, but you're writing about your feelings, and how you want things to be. 

Dreaming about your future flexes your imagination and enhances your creative skills.

Journaling can lead to even more writing. If you aspire to be a writer, journaling gives you a private space to write without fear of judgment. 

Build Better Communication Skills

Think about it. 
If you're writing your thoughts regularly, you're being thoughtful regularly. 

This can help you in debates with friends and family about social issues, or expressing your feelings adequately to your spouse and even giving you better tools to talk to your children about their feelings. 

I had great luck with my children when I helped them name their feelings and thoughts so we could work through them. Knowing my own feelings better helped me help them. 

Your emotional intelligence dictates how you respond to the wants and needs of others with empathy. 

How Do You Maintain a Daily Journal?

When I struggle with motivation, it's important to remember why I started something. 

Scroll up to see some of the benefits and reasons why you would want to keep journaling. Aside from those, here are some tips to help you manage to keep your daily journal. 

You May Also Like: Daily Habits for Reducing Anxiety. 

Create Daily Prompts

Daily prompts are a great way to keep journaling when you're not sure what to write about. 

The important thing is you can't do it daily. 
You'll do this weekly for the week ahead, it will give you enough to keep busy, and have something to focus on. 

You can write out prompts that correspond with events you know you'll be attending later in the week, such as a birthday party for your daughter's friend, or goals you're trying to achieve. 

You could even make prompts about politics or sports. 
Make sure it's something you're interested in writing about, and get to it.

Don't Just Write

Every day doesn't have to be written. You can put in pictures, or drawings, or even print out your favorite meme. 

Keep your journal personal. If that means pressed flowers or a drawing from your child, then put them in. 

If it means something to you, it has a place in your journal. 

Don't just write. Feel instead. 

Decorate the Journal

It is yours on every page internally, so make it yours externally too. 

Make it a journal which represents you. 
If it invites you to write and brings you joy, you're doing it right. 

Share some Entries

Sometimes the motivation we need in life comes from other people. 

Sharing a few entries might help you keep your motivation. 

Choose something not too personal, such as a picture you drew or a poem you wrote. 

The positive feedback might be the motivation you need to keep going. 

Go Write 

You know now how to start journaling in eight simple steps, you know how to maintain your motivation, how to be successful, and how journaling helps your mindset. So get writing!

Comment below with some tips you have for journaling:

Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Self Care

inside: Beginner's Guide to self-care without feeling selfish. How to get started with self-care, and tips for success. 

We use affiliate links. That means when you click on links, sometimes I get a commission from it. It costs you nothing but helps support my family and this blog. Thank you! 

Self-care. What an elusive idea.

I have so many responsibilities at home, it's hard to carve out time for myself.

Dinner needs to be cooked, children need to be bathed, and all of their feelings need to be justified, as well as every. other. need. My palms are getting sweaty at the mere idea of all the things we need to do every day.

My cup is always empty, it seems.

Instead of loving on my children, I am angry. Angry about MY needs, and feeling frustrated when they won't listen.

Parenting without self-care is like trying to carefully perform brain surgery while your bladder to full to the breaking point. Heck, it's like trying to do anything when you have to pee.

Let it go.
Release the waste holding you back from being the best you.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is a broad term. Sometimes we call it self-love. 

In it's most basic form, it's taking care of yourself, and showing yourself compassion. In the same hand you would pick up the slack for your spouse so they can relax, you should try to take care of yourself also. 

Self-care is avoiding burn-out. 
Self-care is showing yourself compassion. 
Self-care is a healthy coping mechanism for everyday stress. 
Self-care is NOT selfish. 

Why is Self-Care Important?

Self-care is how you nourish yourself. It's also different for everyone. 

Leaving yourself last affects every aspect of your life. You get tired faster. 

You get overwhelmed daily. 

For me, my anxiety is almost always on overdrive, so if I'm not taking the time to fill my cup up, I'm quick to snap at my children. 

My anxiety turns into rage quickly if I'm not taking care of myself. It's not a risk I'm willing to take any more, now that I know the way to fix it. 

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Social Anxiety

Self Care is Not Selfish

This is such a common misconception with self-care.

We think taking time for ourselves takes time away from our children, or our chores, and that makes it selfish. 

How dare we do something for our own pleasure when there are dishes in the sink? 

Did you feel silly reading that?
The chores can wait. They'll still be there when you're done. 
The children can spend some time together, or spend time with their dad, neighbor, or the dust bunnies under their bed. 

It doesn't matter what they do (as long as they're safe, of course). They will all be better after you take care of yourself. 

Now we know what self-care is, why we should practice self-care, and we cleared up the most common misconception, let's talk about HOW. 

How do You Get Started with Self-Care?

Whew. We got through all that, now what? How do you make time for yourself when your time is permanently booked?

Well. You make it. 

You say, "hey, I need to have some me time now." and then you go someplace, and you have yourself some me time. 

Your husband won't mind. He will figure it out. No, really. He will. He can figure out how to take care of his own children for an hour or two. 

He might do it his own way or do something you don't approve of, like put the TV on. But that doesn't matter, because you are on your own time now. 

Let go of the control you want to have over everything for an hour and take a bath. 

Don't have a tub? Get a bucket, fill it with warm water, add some epsom salt, and soak your feet. 

Self-Care Ideas

Use your Amazon Prime Membership (don't have Amazon Prime?! Click here to start your free 30-day trial to see what you're missing) to watch The Man in The High Castle. 

Read the book on your nightstand you've been meaning to read. 

I have a list of self-care tips for when you're trying to save money here

Listen to a book on Scribd. You can get a free two months here, and cancel anytime. This is my favorite place to get Audiobooks. You can take as long as you want to read or listen, and read or listen to as many as you want each month. Instead of picking one book a month, you can start reading and then change your mind. 

I love this because I'm the least decisive person alive. 

This is the perfect time of year to embrace self-care because consumerism says we should buy women more spa products. Take it in stride. Allow someone to buy you a self-care basket, or make your own. 


How to Afford Self-Care

I have so many tips for this. 
I am a perpetually frugal lady. 

Spending money on yourself is the hardest thing to do, I get it. I have a few tips. 

Instead of spending money, you can take TIME for yourself. 

Read books you already have, or take a bath. Or do both at the same time. 

Meditation is a great way to practice self-care, and spend some time being present in your life. Meditation has been shown to increase your self-awareness, productivity, and help you release those negative thoughts holding you back. 

Make a sugar scrub for yourself. 
Before bed, I enjoy a lip sugar scrub. Take a small amount of brown sugar (because you're only using enough for your lips, which aren't very big) and mix in a touch of honey. When it makes a paste I apply to my lips and rub in a circular motion for a few minutes, then rinse. Moisturize afterward to keep your lips healthy. 

This may not be the most frugal tip. I like to find great recipes on Pinterest that are clean. 

I LOVE meal planning on my time. I don't like sitting down and actually planning meals, but I do enjoy finding great meals I want to try. 

My new favorite way to look up recipes is the Healthy Meal Planning Bundle from Ultimate Bundles. It has different meal plans based on what you're looking for (one pan meal, quick dinners, paleo, etc.) If you're interested in the Ultimate Healthy Meal Planning Bundle, click here. 

Self-Care for Mental Health

This is my passion. 

I think as a society, we don't give our mental health enough credit. It truly defines our everyday life. 

If you're in a healthy mindset you will have a good day, and when something happens to affect your day negatively, you'll have the resilience to overcome it. 

Self-care is imperative for mental health. 

What Now?

Take a break from your life for an hour, right now.

Take a shower.
Try your hand at watercolor. I love this wonderful company on YouTube (you can subscribe, or you can wait and still do them for free with them!) Here is one of their videos
Read a book. 
Take a nap. 
Find essential oils that relax you, and enjoy it. 
Take. A. Bath. 
Use those spa products your family got you for Christmas.

Then subscribe to my email list, for more self-care tips, reminders, and silliness. Delivered to you once a week.  

Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Social Anxiety

inside: Tell all, answer all guide to social anxiety, Social Anxiety Disorder, and how to improve YOUR mental health. 

Social Anxiety Disorder is found in over 15 million Americans and has yet to be diagnosed in countless others. 

When I first heard of Social Anxiety Disorder, I had so many questions. Do I have social anxiety, or am I just shy? How do I overcome social anxiety? What are ways to treat social anxiety disorder? What are some of the signs of social anxiety? Do I have to medicate social anxiety, or are there natural ways to "get rid of" social anxiety?

When I had my first anxiety attack, I felt so weak and powerless. Emotional, and out of control of my mind . . . It was the most difficult experience of my life up until then. 

I couldn't compose myself no matter how I tried, and I quickly felt overwhelmed. It's a pain and helplessness I hope no one will ever face. 

You can see your actions and emotions spiraling out of control, but you're unable to do anything about it. 

I remember trying to speak, but my lips couldn't speak. 

I knew it was time for a change in my life. 
I needed to find out why this was happening to me and what I could do to fix it. 

I am not a doctor, and I am not here to diagnose anyone. This is a guide to some common signs of social anxiety, and some answers to questions you may have about it. I suggest getting a doctor’s opinion if you think this represents you.

So here we are. 

Let's start at the beginning, and answer some of the most common questions about social anxiety (also known as social phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder). 

Maybe you think you have social anxiety, or you think your spouse or child has social anxiety. 

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is often confused with other mental disorders and anxious behaviors. 

Adults with social anxiety may have been especially quiet and withdrawn from others as children. As you aged, people may have looked at you as someone who was unfriendly or unapproachable. 

I think that's where the issues with social anxiety really begin. It's a very complex disorder, and can truly affect anyone. 

I was not a shy child. I talked to everyone and felt comfortable in groups up until adulthood. I was confident and outwardly happy. 

Social anxiety isn't always obvious. 

But what is it?

Social Anxiety Disorder is defined by The National Institute of Mental Health as a common type of anxiety disorder where those afflicted feel symptoms of anxiety in certain or all social situations. Doing everyday things in front of people such as eating or drinking may cause anxiety or fear. 

The person is afraid he or she will be humiliated, judged, and rejected. 

It's important to understand the fear is so strong they feel it is beyond their ability to control. This gets in the way of their everyday life. The fear can start weeks before the event. 

I think there are many more facets to social anxiety. It affects everyone differently. 

I know others who have a fear they'll be ridiculed or laughed at, and others who have the hardest time with dealing with the physical experiences like increased heart rate. It's irresponsible to define it in one single statement. 

Social Anxiety is so much more than all of those things. It can be certain triggers or situations. 

It can cause me to react one way, and you to react another. 

Some get panic attacks, others become dismissive and leave situations. 
Some don't even put themselves in the situations at all. 

This is why I think it's important to talk to a professional if you think you have any mental disorder, so you can find the correct relief for you. 

What Are Physical Symptoms Associated with Social Anxiety?

As Social Anxiety is a type of anxiety, they share many of the same symptoms. 

  • racing heartbeat
  • sweaty palms
  • loss of concentration
  • trembling
  • feelings of overwhelm
  • sweating
  • hyperventilating 
  • fidgeting
These are symptoms you may have, among many others. But others will see something totally different.

With this type of anxiety, we often feel more embarrassed because we think everyone can see every symptom they have. However, this is rarely the case. 

Usually, people don't see the symptoms unless you make it obvious or they know you very well. 

Recently, I was telling my husband about something that made me very nervous and anxious. I was quickly getting overwhelmed, and he asked me how I was doing because I started fidgeting with my hands. 

If he didn't know me he wouldn't have thought anything of that little quirk, but because he knows me so well, he knew what was up. 

It was relieving to know I could open up to him and express my fears. I had his support regardless of what my anxiety was telling me, and he made sure I knew that.

Others may simply see someone who is shy around others or just quiet.

Who Suffers From Social Anxiety?

So. So. So. So many people. 

15 million people in the US alone have been diagnosed, and countless others haven't been diagnosed. Approximately 36% of people don't get treatment for 10 years or longer. 

Anxiety is a liar. It tells us so many lies to keep our world smaller and make us feel alone. We don't realize how common it is because our brains tell us we are alone in this suffering. 

What Causes Anxiety?

Anxiety is typically a genetic trait, although it can be caused by other reasons. 

This does not mean if your parent or grandparent has a type of anxiety you will definitely also suffer. It does mean you have a higher chance. 

You could be the only one in your generation who inherited an anxiety disorder.

Another common cause for social anxiety is the environment around you. If you did not pick it up from genetics, you might have picked it up from the way people around you act. 

Lastly, your brain. This is connected with genetics, of course, because your brain structure is something you are born with. 

The amygdala is responsible for your fear response to various people and situations. If yours is overactive in your brain, it can cause you to have a higher-than-normal fear response. 

This would cause anxiety and often social anxiety. If you find yourself fearful in many situations as well, you can likely blame your overactive amygdala for your social anxiety. 

How can you help determine the cause of your anxiety? This is important because it will help you determine which treatment option is best. 

You don't have to be like the majority of people with social anxiety who decide to skip treatment. It really is important you get help so you can go on to live a fulfilling and happy life. 

If you want to figure out the cause ask yourself a few questions:

1. Does anyone in your family have anxiety?
2. Do you remember any family members showing anxiety symptoms in front of you? Or any symptoms you have that you have seen before?
3. Do you find yourself intensely fearful often?

These questions can help you find the best treatment for you. 

What Are Common Triggers?

It's important to understand your personal triggers, and how to avoid them or deal with them. This isn't a permanent cure for anxiety, but it will help you with dealing with the daily struggles of anxiety. 

Some common triggers of social anxiety are being the center of attention, being in a crowd of people, and meeting people for the first time. 

My triggers are going to the grocery store with my youngest and driving someplace new. 

To find your triggers, I recommend keeping a journal and documenting your anxiety. Eventually, you can look through your journal and find common themes, and you can narrow down your experiences until you find what causes your anxiety, and what you can avoid. 

Avoiding triggers is the first step to reducing your anxiety, but it's not the only way. 

Treatment Options For Anxiety

Treatment is entirely up to you and your doctor. I hesitate to even write this part. 

I am not a doctor. I am not responsible for making your decisions about treatment for your anxiety. This is meant to be informational, not medical advice. 

The first question you might ask yourself about medication, is why should I even bother taking medication for my anxiety? But what you should really ask is why not?

Why not have a treatment in place to make your life easier and more manageable? This is a conversation for you to have with your doctor. 

There are a few different options for you. Here is a summary of a few options: 

  1. Anti - Anxiety Medication. The main difference between anti-anxiety medicine and antidepressants is anti-anxiety medicines are used for severe anxiety that comes during a moment of fear and panic. They are not meant to be taken daily as a long term medication. Instead, it should be used as something that works quickly to ease acute anxiety, such as before a big speech, or before you drive to a place you've never been before. 
  2. Antidepressants. Here is your long term medication that will help you with most of your symptoms. Make sure you look at the side effects involved with these. 
  3. Beta Blockers. These reduce your body's reaction to the symptoms like increased heart rate and sweating. 
Talk to your doctor before you start any medication, and find what will work best for you in your situation. 

Therapy is Another Great Treatment Option

In addition to taking medication, your doctor might suggest you go to therapy to deal with your anxiety. 

Therapy will help you find coping skills to deal with your anxiety on a daily basis. 

I have found great success in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, a type of therapy to deal with anxiety and depression. Here are a few books I recommend looking into: 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is not only getting to the root of your anxiety, but it's also fantastic for giving you the tools you need to live with your anxiety. 

Social anxiety doesn't have a "cure" so finding tools to keep a handle on it moving forward is important. 

This type of therapy teaches you how to change your thoughts from the toxic self-defeating mindset to positive thoughts. It takes time and patience, like any other treatment. Keep learning and improving and your life will keep getting better. 

If you find yourself currently struggling with social anxiety, the hardest step is that first one. 
You're here now, you found this page. 
You know there is an issue . . . now take this knowledge and go find help. 

How Can I Get Help?

The hardest step is admitting to yourself something is wrong and you need help. So where can you get help now?

1. Find out if your insurance covers it - Money is an issue when people are deciding whether or not they should try therapy. The first step is to find out if it's covered in your insurance policy. If not, there are still plenty of financing options. 

2. Ask your general practitioner for referrals. Choosing a therapist is another hurdle you must go through. Your regular family doctor might have some ideas, or be able to give you some direction to find someone. 

3.  Talk to friends or family who go to therapy . . . especially if they have gone for anxiety. 

4. Research different therapists in your area and what they treat. You might want someone who treats with Cognitive Behavior Therapy and also specializes in social anxiety. 

Daily Changes To Help Your Social Anxiety

I touch on this a lot in other posts, so I'll link to them here. 

If you seek out the right treatment options, are patient with yourself and treat yourself as a priority, your life will be much happier and everything becomes easier. 


The following resources were mentioned throughout this guide:

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