Extroverts are usually labeled The Life of the Party, The Fun One, The One Who Can Navigate Any Tough Social Situation.
We all have that one friend who just knows how to work a room and strike up a conversation with strangers. They’re positive, enthusiastic, outgoing …. and sometimes struggling in ways we don’t see.
There’s a pretty common misconception that only introverts and shy people are afflicted with social anxiety. However, extroverts can also suffer.
Research shows certain human behaviors are hardwired and extroversion is no exception to the biological game. So, our extroverted friends were just made that way. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t afflicted with common disorders plaguing today’s society.
Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder that The Anxiety and Depressions Association of America (ADAA) reported an estimated 15 million American adults are living with on a daily basis. It’s a mental health challenge that can be faced by anyone regardless of personality type, so some extroverts absolutely experience social anxiety.
Extroverts with anxiety often find themselves ridiculously keyed up. This is due largely in part to their always-on fight-or-flight mechanism.
They often find themselves at an impasse between what refuels them and what causes them major stress. They want to agree to every brunch date, happy hour, and weekend get together, but they need to say no for their own health, which can be tough to do in the midst of FOMO culture.
If you’re an extrovert with social anxiety, here are 5 things you can do to get yourself back at ease:
1. Get Professional Help
Speaking to a professional in the mental health field is a wonderful place to begin digging deeper into the root cause of anxiety.
Many psychologists practice cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in order to help their patients get to the underlying causes of their anxiety and work with them to develop new patterns of behavior, especially in stressful situations. There are many options for mental health treatment. To name a few:
- Mental Health Counselor
- Art Therapist
The point is to find someone you feel that you can be honest with and who will help you the way that you need.
2. Share What’s Going On With Trusted Friends
It’s crucial to your wellbeing to have a handful of friends who understand your anxiety. So, reach out to the people in your inner circle and talk to them about what’s going on. If loved ones are in the dark about what’s going on with you, then they won’t be able to help.
Next time you’re heading to a party or a social situation that you feel may cause some anxiety, ask if you can bring someone, then reach in your rolodex of safe people. In fact, reach into your rolodex of safe people whenever you feel the anxiety mounting.
One study, in particular, showed that complaining can actually help to ease stress and help you work through your feelings.
3. Start Saying No
Saying “no” can be terrifying, especially if you’ve been labeled The Life of The Party or The One Who’s Always Down To Go as extroverts usually are.
You may worry how people will react to sudden change of heart or that by saying “no thanks” you are doomed to sit alone with a major case of FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Well, embrace it for your own sanity.
JOMO, or the joy of missing out, is that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you’re totally cool with what you’re doing and don’t feel the need to scroll through social media trolling other people’s good times. There’s freedom in missing out.
4. Practice Spending Time Alone
Maybe you just begin by carving out 15 minutes each day either in the morning, during a lunch break, or before crawling into bed at night. Slowly increase to an entire weekend and pay attention to how refreshed you feel post-solitude.
This precious time is what helps us to understand ourselves better, gain perspective and then re-enter our lives more grounded. Aren’t sure where to begin? Here are some ideas to make alone time awesome:
- Crack open a good book.
- Start a DIY project.
- Try your hand at a puzzle.
- Opt outside for a hike or a run around your neighborhood.
- Stay off of social media.
- Try meditating.
- Take yourself out to dinner
5. Journal To Release Anxiety
Research shows that journaling about your worries can help them to disappear completely. Do you need some journaling inspo to get you started? Here are a few prompts:
- Make a gratitude list.
- Describe a long-term goal that you’d like to work on.
- Write about the best thing that happened today.
- What is one thing that you could to let go of right now?
- Make a list of 20 things that make you happy.
- Describe your dream vacation.
Try to write everyday. Keep a journal next to your bed and find time during your morning routine or evening routine. Your brain will thank you for the break. What are you waiting for? Put that pen to paper.
Extroverts with social anxiety disorder are in a tricky situation. Sure, they are totally energized while around people, but it’s also the same thing that causes them major anxiety. If you are struggling, remember that you’re not alone.
Consider checking out a support group and reach out to loved ones so they know what is going on.