I remember in my teenage years, I prayed that I could be more confident, outgoing and speak my mind freely. Over the years, I’ve really accepted being an analytical thinker, spending time alone to recharge and thinking before I speak. Often, the different parts of ourselves are some of our biggest strengths. If you have also been journeying through anxiety since you were young, then you may understand the feeling of the heart racing, slight shaking and breathing faster in certain situations. You may have a small handful of people in your lives, that you feel completely at home with. You may thrive in deep conversations rather than small talk. There are several ways to deal with anxiety in general, however if you are introverted there may be specific ways to deal with anxiety. An important thing to note, is that being introverted does not necessarily mean you are shy or suffer from anxiety (as the article linked below explains). Below are the main methods I use to calm anxiety.
Anxiety within an introvert can feel ten times more scary because it is constantly internal. There are people who are able to talk about it with ease, and tell others how they are feeling about a certain situation. However, personally I tend to hold it in, until I am comfortable in talking about it with a specific person.
1) Write, write, write. If you are quite a deep thinker, writing can be one of the most therapeutic, relaxing and satisfying things. Now, even though typing on the computer can be a wonderful way, if you are feeling particularly anxious, I find holding a pencil to paper can calm one down even more so. Writing doesn’t restrain the pattern of speaking. It flows more easily and communicates what you are thinking in your mind straight to your finger tips! If you have ever read Anne Frank, you can relate to the feeling of listening to her thoughts that come straight from her heart. Writing is a way of communicating what cannot be spoken.
2) Listen to Music. Music is soothing and can make you feel happier. If you find you are feeling incredibly anxious at home, try switching on some happy music. If you feel very anxious in public, try playing some music on your ipod or mp3 player, that relaxes you and makes you forget about your worries. Music is a beautiful thing, and can seriously affect your mood in a way that can only be explained by listening. I find if your thoughts are distracting you, listening to music when studying, exercising, before bed time and during the day can be a wonderful way to remind you to stay in the moment.
3) Talk to a loved one. A person you trust with all your heart, is the easiest person to open up to. Someone who won’t judge you, will spend time to listen to you and give a part of their perspective on the situation. Bottling emotions in for too long is unhealthy, because it can cause an eruption of emotions to set loose when you least expect it. Talking it out with someone who cares will make you feel better, in acknowledging the situation with another person. Often anxiety can exaggerate the situation, the way imagination can. Sometimes things aren’t as bad as they seem.
4) Exercise. I cannot emphasise this one enough. The feeling of running and sweating it off, can make you feel calmer. Running away every thing that bothers you and also exercising to benefit your health is a win win situation. If you get intense periods of over thinking or you can feel the triggers of nerves kicking in, exercise can make you feel more confident about yourself, and calm racing thoughts. Even going for a short 10 minute walk can make your thought process more calm. It reminds you to breathe too!
5) Pray (or Meditate). Sitting down in silence and solitude within quiet thoughts, can be one of the most calming and liberating feeling. It allows your mind to be truly in touch with what is happening in the present, rather than worrying about the past of future. Staying in touch with the now – which is all we have in the end.
The truth is, dealing with anxiety can be very hard at times. I know this from the past several years. There will be tears, sudden panic attacks, tracing thoughts, hyperventilation and incredibly unrealistic thoughts. The beautiful thing is that it teaches you to have understanding of others emotions and to practice empathy. You can also learn to recognize the symptoms, triggers and methods of feeling calm. It reminds you that you are only human at the end of the day. Everyone is going through different chapters of their lives.
Here is an article explaining the differences between introversion, shyness and social anxiety disorder -> The Confusion Surrounding Introversion, Shyness, and Social Anxiety Disorder
Articles I can relate to! (and hope you can too :)