Hope everyone is doing great.
I have a problem that might sound silly to a lot of you guyz.
I have social anxiety, and I am very shy.
I need to work out, and I chose to walk for an hour everyday because I love to walk but the problem is I don't have anyone to go with me and I am just scared to go by myself.
Actually the area I live in is a very crowded area with many businesses and people. It's next to the ocean so It's a nice place to go for a walk however I am very self conscious and play all kinda scenarios in my head going from people are starring at me to people are judging me or laughing at me thinking she is so fat or making all kinda judgments.
I am pretty sure It is only in my head but in the past, many guy would make comments like run faster or try to hit at me when I would go for a walk and this makes me very uncomfortable.
I really wanna start my walking routine , I just don't know how am going to get over my anxiety.
Sorry if this was long, I just need a little advice. Thank you
I use to live in philadelphia and I wanted to go for runs so badly but was intimidated by all the people around. One day I just decided to do it, and like I figured no one paid attention to me. Especially in crowded areas, people have too much going on in their own little worlds. I would just go for it! I don't have social anxiety, but it could help if you face your fears. Its easier for me to say I know, but try to push through it!
I think this is hard for a lot of people, social anxiety or not. What really helped me was taking a women's shaping class. Once I started feeling fitter, I just had more confidence all around. Just remember no matter what you worry others might think, you're doing something good for you. And even if you're walking slowly or only for ten minutes or whatever, you have to start somewhere.
could you go very early in the morning, before too many people are out? that may not be a long-term solution, but it might help you to realize that your fears are unfounded.
maybe suck it up and ask one of your neighbours to walk with you?
if you really do have an anxiety disorder, you probably need support in this. what you're talking about is exposure and desensitization. it's good that you want to challenge yourself, but you need to make sure you're safe doing it, or it could backfire.
edited to ask: where do you live? because it sounds like it could be my neighbourhood :)
Original Post by pgeorgian:
edited to ask: where do you live? because it sounds like it could be my neighbourhood :)
ha! i was thinking the same thing...mind you, we live close enough that it could be both our areas. haha.
but OP, i do second that PG said. if your area is safe, trying going at a time when less people are out. i don't really like crowds, and my area is really crowded alot of the time.
go out for shorter periods of time, and learn what time of day feels safest/most comfortable to you. once you get to that point, you can figure out when it best suits you to go for walks...
Oh my God, thank you guyz I never thought I would actually have replies for my question.
Amphoto, I will try my best to push thru it, and face my fears. It is very hard and I tried before unsuccessfully. You words are very encouraging , hopefully it will work this time
Sadinplaid, thanks for your words. You are right, I have to start somewhere and if I don't try, I think I will never get over these fears.
Pgeorgian, I thought about it to , or late At night. The place is actually very safe, It is a residential area. Problem is the only neighbor I know is very lazy and skinny , and doesn't even want to walk to her kitchen, she would send her kids if she needs something lol, so U have an idea. I just want to try to do it by myself so that I know anywhere I go , I won't need people to escort me, and I can do it by myself.
Like you said , it did backfire like a year ago, I went for a walk , and I just got into paranoid mode for the time the walk lasted meaning an hour. I just panicked and since then I never went back.
I am currently in Dakar , Senegal in West Africa Where I am from. I lived in the US for a while and Paris. I came back here a year ago, and I have a hard time making friends, so it's hard to find a walking buddy.
The area is very safe actually it is the most residential area with all the embassies and stuff, and I can walk late at night, am definitely not scared of that , it is more like being paranoid about what people 9who might not even see me) think about me or look at me.
I will try to do what you said and go for shorter distance early in the morning or at night
thank you so much guyz, I feel a lot better knowing some people actually care.
okay, definitely not my neighbourhood ;)
just keep reminding yourself that whatever you think people are thinking about you, they're not. that's what you're thinking about you. they're too busy thinking about themselves to think about you.
canada - west africa - totally the same! haha.
i have some anxiety issues (though i don't claim to know what you're going through in the least)...but i will tell you my lame sounding trick to calm myself down when i feel myself get overly nervous for no good reason. trying slowly counting (in your head or out loud) from 1-100. and keep reminding yourself that by the time you reach 100, you will feel better.
works surprisingly well for me.
I also suffer from social anxiety. Have you seen a doctor about it?
Its easy for people to tell you to face your fears thinking you will overcome it, without realizing that people with social anxietey face their fears everyday of their life, and its not going away. I know what it feels like to have the feeling that everybody around is looking at your and judging you for one reason or another, and to walk away from a conversation of situation wondering if you said the right thing or did the right thing, or if people are judging you for that. Or your on the street and you see someone you knew from high school or somewhere else and you just want to hide because you dont know how to go through the social norms of a "hey, hows it going? How have you been?" without feeling awkward.
You should consider talking to your dr. about medication. I have been taking a mild anti-depressant for my anxiety, and it is working great. I still think twice once and a while what others could be thinking, but I find it alot easier to just say "whatever, thats their problem" and get back to living my life. Nobody should have to go through their life in a constant worry about what everyone else is thinking about you. Odds are most people arn't thinking anything, and could even be worrying about what you are thinking about them! I have been much happier since I have been taking this medication... I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my sholders and I am finally free to live my life.
Please consider giving it a try!
Pgeorgian that's what I try to tell myself, that people might be too busy thinking about themselves than thinking about me, then I tell myself naaah they are definitely thinking about me lol. This is very complicate. I wish It was a lot easier.
Sorry to hear U have anxiety issues. It is not easy at all but I hope You get better. I will try your trick, and for some reason I think it will help a lot, thanks again!
It's like You scanned my brain. Those are the things I will tell myself all the time, or the way I'll react to situations. I'll completely freeze when Am faced to people, even some I know from high school, and start talking gibberish or just talk nonsense to the point that I totally avoid social events. The only way for me to be in a social situation is if I don't have a choice or if am with a bunch of people and I can camouflage myself behind the rest of the group.
I actually have this disorder because it runs in my mum's family. My mum is bipolar and takes a lot of antidepressant. The problem is I don't wanna end up like her being totally dependent on medications. I know she needs it but I think she can live without it.
I want to try first to conquer my fears and face them, and realize that they won't kill me, or it is ok to be in social situations. If I try again and it doesn't work then I guess I will have to take medications, but I really hope not to get to that point. thanks again for your input
I have some mild social anxiety issues as well and I have chosen to not take medication for it. I can remember times when I was so excited to go to a party or go do something with friends when I got all dressed up and ready to go but was too afraid to open the front door.
I find it is easiest to get over those fears by not thinking about them. If I catch myself wondering what other people think about me or how I'm going to get through a social situation, I try my best to just think about something else. I tell myself "I'm going to do this and nothing is going to stop me" then I don't think about it again, I just do it.
It takes a lot of practice and patience with yourself; those fears aren't going to go away in a day. After several years of trying to change my mindset I was called a social butterfly; I was still afraid, but no one knew it.
In the last little while I've also realized that I can't stop practicing not being afraid. I recently got married and meeting my now husband's friends and family was so hard, and it is still hard. It is a life long struggle, but it is possible to get through it.
One of the things that has helped me is to actually think about how often I see other people doing things and don't even notice them. Most people are so incredibly self-interested, busy thinking about their lives, that they don't notice what other people are doing. This realization has helped me become quite a bit braver.
Good luck! You can do it!
It helps to dissociate and put yourself in the position of, say, someone driving by. If you were in the car going to work, would you pay any attention to someone on a walk? Probably not, and if you did, you would be thinking "good for him/her to be getting so much exercise... I should probably do that". I have problems with this kind of stuff too, but like atech I just try to think my way out of it.
And on the flip side of the coin, exercise can help you with the social anxiety. Not only will you feel better, healthier, and stronger, it releases natural feel-good chemicals. If you train towards a goal (like walking 3 miles without stopping) it gives your brain something to do other than think about your anxieties. Good luck, I hope your walk goes well!
Oh and also, if you have one, and it's safe to walk in your neighborhood, bring a music player!! You won't notice the world :)
Are there any social or walking groups in your area that you could join? Maybe if you went with a group it would ease your anxiety.
I am with you. I get paranoid to go for a run in my home town b.c I think some one from my old high school will see me. Just take a deep breath, think about getting prepared to go on your run. Like think about putting your shoes on and making sure your play list is up to date. Immidiately put your headphones on and then head outside. I wear my sunglasses so it feels like im not paying attention to the world.
Well, think of it this way.
If people are making judgements about you, they're going to do it whenyou go outside for anything! So why not at least take a walk? At least if someone really does make a comment, you can say, "I'm bettering myself, so sucks to be you!"
Don't let other people stop your success. :)
Would it help you to listen to music or a podcast while you walk? That's the first thing that popped into my mind when I read this. I don't have social anxiety so I wouldn't know if this would help but I thought maybe it would help distract you from all the thoughts going through your head as you walk. Also good to remember that we are a very selfish society. We think of ourselves first, others a very distant second. As you are walking, the people who may glance at you are not paying any attention, they are running through their to do list or trying to solve a problem of theirs or figuring out a schedule, etc. They really could care less who you are or what you are doing. That may sound harsh but it might help you out to know that people are too self-involved to worry about a stranger.
Big News!! I went for my wlk, and i did not die lol
Just to boost up my enthusiasm, I read everything you guyz told me, and I said to myself, I can not make these people spend their energy and time trying to help me and me not trying at least once. So I told myself I would go for a walk at 8pm here (it's GMT time). I put my sneakers on, and my walking pants, loaded my music player and got out of the house. It was already dark but still very crowded. I started panicking at first then I tried to focus on the music and it helped me a lot koz my mind wasn't on the poeple.
It worked for couple of minutes than I got into paranoia mode again, and I told myself, well screw them whocares about what they say, then i started reverse counting and It helped a lot actually I was so into hit that I almost got hit by a car lol. I think I did every single thing you guys said and everything help.
This is hard tho, I am not saying it will be easy and it's guarantee that I will go tomorrow, but I am more confident today than I was yesterday for sure and I will read this everyday so I'll remember that I actually can do it.
Atech thanks for your words. They make me think that maybe someday I will get over this or at least be able to control the situation like you did. Big ups to you
Pu8suwrux, I said the same thing to myself while walking, and It help me realize these are just people you don't know or even if they knew me whocares, they still just people . Thanks
Actually I do pay attention to them and I would envy them wishing I had their courage to go for a run alone not caring about people looking at them. For some reason, I would convince myself that people would not think that way for me and my only think negative things. I know it's all in my mind but am working on it ,praying I will get better.
You are right tho on the positive effect of exercise. I actually felt kinda good while walking, my migraine was gone, I was feeling better than I usally do. Thanks
Unfortunately, I don't think so but I will ask around, you never know. Thanks
I am sorry you have this problem also, It's an handicap for sure, And I actually can relate to you, I always think people from my old highschool will see me, and highschool was a haaarddd time for me (I guess for most people), and most of those folks, at least the meanest, live in the same area.
Any who , like I said earlier I will try to put in my mind that these are only people, not Gods. Thanks again for your very helpful support. Love you guys
I just realised that talking about it actually helps, and I should have done this a long time ago.
Yay for you! It will be even easier next time! :)
It's already been mentioned, but I would have said mp3/ipod and sunglasses. And one of those visors to help shield the sun (and myself).
First off, thanks for asking this question! I'm the exact same way only I just couldn't bring myself to ask this without feeling ashamed. I never talk to anyone about this, not even my doctor or family because I thought I was just being silly. Everyone always tells me the best way to exercise is to walk but I always make up some excuse like I prefer working out or my leg hurts. I had to walk to school which was always a terrible time and my whole body would tense up if I had to walk past someone or a car full of staring people drive by (not a lot of people drive in my town.) But at least now I have a name for the problem and that there is a medication I can take for help.
Thanks so much!
And congratulations on conquering your fear. It gives me more confidence that I can do it too.
yea its pretty crappy. maybe take a trip to a park that has running trails they'll be less crowded and probably a nicer view while walking. Also focus on the accomplishment from this time for when you go on your next run.
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