What You Know If You're An Extrovert With Social Anxiety

What You Know If You're An Extrovert With Social Anxiety

This is for the person that struggles socially but is definitely outgoing.

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I have not always been an extrovert. In fact, I was only friendly around those I knew for a large portion of my life. However, when I became more confident in myself during high school I metamorphosed into a social butterfly. I had a major case of FOMO (fear of missing out) if I was not at events or even simply hanging out with my friends. However, I have always overthought things. Bad. In fact, I would not go to a restaurant on my own unless I knew exactly what I would order ahead of time. Do you know that girl that cannot make a decision about where she wants to eat? Yeah, that's me. I don't want to disappoint anyone with my choice. You could say I am a people-pleaser because of this.

If this does not convince you of the tremendous weight that mental illness has on a person, I have a story for you.

A few years ago on Easter, I had a mental breakdown. Yes, it was the typical holiday-at-home family gathering that can end up to be a recipe for disaster. News flash, if you move away from home and come back people tend to clash since both you and your family became used to the idea of living life with fewer people around. Well, I had woken up late that day and did not have enough time to get everything done before going to church. My choices were as follows: be a hot mess but be on time to church or dress my best and show up late. Now I know what you are thinking, this is obviously the dilemma of the century.

Well in my eyes, it was a huge deal. It was so significant that I took out my frustration on my entire family. Looking back, this was during an extremely stressful time in my life. I was going back to my home church where my ex-boyfriend of two years would be with his current girlfriend that he cheated on me with. There are so many factors that go into just attending an event. Yes, I am outgoing. Yes, I plan these events. But I have to control the world around me due to social anxiety. It is like a hazardous, scentless gas. It is looming even if it is not seen. It is not until something impactful enough brings it to light a fire that anyone knows that it is there.

I did not really know that I had anxiety until I was an adult. In fact, it began to develop more during college, especially during dreadful sorority recruitment because let's be honest those things are nightmares for everyone involved. During my sophomore year in college, I was finally diagnosed with anxiety. I had gone to see a few counselors on campus but none seemed to have anything that helped me. I because extremely discouraged and felt like something was wrong with me. I began to have panic attacks while walking to class. I could not function normally in daily life because of this. I did not sleep at night and I would avoid my friends. At that point, I thought to myself, "This cannot be normal. Does everyone feel this way or is it just me?" I overthought every move I made, whether it was the outfit I was wearing to class--shoutout to the oversized T-shirts and Nike shorts--or what I would eat for dinner at the café. So after a long come-to-Jesus meeting with myself, I decided to reach out again and see the campus doctor.

The physician that received my case was very supportive. I explained to her how I felt and that nothing so far had helped "cure" me. At this point, she told me that I did not need to be cured, it was just part of who I was as a person. Instead, I just needed aid to help me control my emotions and the way my brain interpreted things. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety and she prescribed me medicine that would control my highs and lows.

So this is for the person that struggles socially but is definitely outgoing. It is okay to feel this way and you are not alone. Some days are harder than others but being confident will help you through.

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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12 Simple Ways To Ease Your Anxiety

These are some super simple ways to handle your stress at home.

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Anxiety and stress are very common problems for many of us in today's society.

Over 70% of adults face some sort of anxiety or stress in their lives.

It can really be overwhelming and can seriously affect our mood for the rest of the day.

Pushing these feelings of anxiety and stress aside and letting them build up does nothing but cause more harm to our minds and bodies.

Sometimes, we just need a quick and easy way to help alleviate some of this stress to help us get through the day and to help us feel better.

Here are 12 ways to do just that:

1. Practice deep breathing

Mental stress and anxiety can cause your body to respond in physical ways. Since it affects your sympathetic nervous system, you might experience elevated heart rate, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness. Breathing deeply and slowly can help slow your heart and ease your body back into a calm state. When I panic or feel overwhelmed, I breathe in slowly through my nose, think of one thing that makes me happy, slowly breathe out through my mouth, and repeat until I can feel my mind and body begin to calm.

2. Light a candle or start up your essential oil diffuser

My personal favorite scent to soothe my anxiety is lavender. However, you can also try chamomile, rose, orange, jasmine, sandalwood, or whatever else might help you.

3. Exercise

This is a big one, but can also be a very difficult one. Whenever you're feeling extremely anxious or overwhelmed, it might be hard enough for you to get yourself out of bed, let alone do any serious exercising. My best advice is to be proactive and try to pay attention to when you first start feeling your anxiety creep up on you. Just go ahead and get up and go for a walk, run, or whatever form of exercise you prefer!

4. Read a book

For me, there's nothing like curling up with a good book to help calm my nerves. Whenever I am knowingly going into a situation that will make me anxious, such as traveling, I always make sure to bring a book to read whenever I start to feel overwhelmed. Reading helps me to temporarily escape my anxieties and can be a big help in giving myself some much needed time to calm down.

5. Do yoga and practice meditation

Yoga is such a helpful activity for those with anxiety and stress! It kind of is just a combination of many different anxiety-relieving techniques (exercise, deep breathing, and mindfulness). There are many different apps, books, classes, and websites you can use as a guide and help to do yoga. You can find what positions, locations, and situation are best for you. Doing yoga gives you a great opportunity to think about and reflect on your feelings and worries.

6. Spend time with loved ones (yes, even your furbabies)

Sometimes, all we need is a little love and reassurance in our lives to alleviate some of our anxieties. Spending time with your family, friends, and pets can help us to see and remember the good things we have in our lives. So many times, those of us with anxiety tend to seclude ourselves and that makes it easy to forget the good we have.

7. Drink more water

Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause feelings of anxiety. It can make you feel jittery and can be a cause for elevated heart rate. Drinking more water not only helps you physically (like hydrating your skin and body), but it can also do wonders for your mental health. When your body is unhealthy and unhappy, that can be a big factor in feelings of depression and anxiety.

8. Take a short nap

If you begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious, sometimes it can do some good to just take a short 30-minute nap. Just give yourself some time to rest your mind and body and face the issue with a new focus and fresh thoughts.

9. Journal

Even though writing down your feelings, bad or good, can be helpful, when you're feeling anxious or overwhelmed, try focusing on the positive! Write down a few things that made you happy today or a few things that you're grateful for. Don't let yourself be bogged down by the negative.

10. Clean

This might not work for everybody, but I know that sometimes when I'm feeling restless or anxious, cleaning and decluttering can help clear my mind. Basically, it's just good to find something to put your focus on when your anxious thoughts feel like too much. Try to pick a task and focus on that until you're finished. You'll likely find, in the end, that you feel much better than before you started.

11. Listen to happy and soothing music

Listening to music is a BIG help to some people with anxiety. However, you need to be mindful of what you're listening to. Don't put on the breakup playlist you made when you were 13. Find happy or soothing songs and make yourself a playlist of songs with themes of positivity.

12. Don't bottle up your feelings

This might just be the most important advice I can give you when it comes to handling your anxiety. The worst thing that you can do is to suppress your feelings and try to force yourself to forget about them. Hiding or bottling up your feelings might help temporarily, but that will just make you feel worse in the end. Talk to someone or try one of the other methods I mentioned to face your anxiety, but don't pretend like it doesn't exist.

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