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Social Anxiety Or Introvert: What’s The Difference?
Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed in social situations? You may wonder whether this is just a sign of introversion or whether it’s social anxiety.
So, what’s the difference between social anxiety and introversion, and how can you tell if you are an introvert or managing social anxiety?
Are You An Introvert?
An introvert is someone that feels recharged and rejuvenated when spending time alone. An introvert can spend time with others but will feel drained by spending too much time in company. On the other hand, extroverts will feel energised in social settings and will thrive in this space. Introverts may be described as homebodies or more reserved. However, introverts aren’t necessarily shy; they just don’t need to be the centre of attention in conversations.
Do You Have Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is not just feeling drained in social situations. Social anxiety is a real fear of social situations. While introverts may prefer to be at home over going out, those with social anxiety will actively avoid social events. It may be through fear of being watched or judged by others and worry about criticism, rejection or humiliation.
What’s The Difference Between Introversion And Social Anxiety?
Comfort Vs Critic
An introvert will be comfortable in social situations and can have deep conversations with others. Someone with social anxiety will be critical of their performance in a social situation. Instead of enjoying a conversation with someone, they are likely to judge themselves and look out for mistakes while socialising.
While an introvert may think, ‘oh, I wish I hadn’t said that’ after a conversation, someone with social anxiety will ruminate over the mistake for a very long time.
Pleasant Vs Prison
An introvert will usually love spending time at home. The perfect evening for an introvert will be at home in their sanctuary. However, if they want to socialise, they’re happy to invite others in or go out.
On the other hand, someone with social anxiety may feel imprisoned in their home, as there is too much fear to go out in public as social situations feel overwhelming.
Personality Vs Health Challenge
Social anxiety is a mental health challenge as it can be debilitating and hugely impact your life. Introversion, however, is a personality trait. When you know you are an introvert, you can harness your own energy type and preferred way of being to enable you to thrive.
Social anxiety can eat away at your confidence, energy, time and happiness and hold you back from living life the way you want to.
Can You Be An Introvert With Social Anxiety?
If you resonate with introvert habits and social anxiety traits, you may be both introverted and have social anxiety, and there is a neurological reason why:
Introverts use the long pathway in the brain (the acetylcholine) to process information. This means in social situations, the stimulus travels through several parts of the brain, including the area (right frontal insular cortex), which notices details and errors which can make us self-conscious.
Social stimulus in introverts will also travel through the frontal lobe, which evaluates situations and outcomes.
With all of this brain activity, it is no wonder that introverts can often feel drained in social situations.
Social anxiety can build on this overwhelm, making social situations feel unbearable. However, you don’t have to live with this; there is a range of treatments that can help you overcome social anxiety. For social anxiety, I offer a bespoke, blended therapy incorporating hypnotherapy, coaching, meditation, and breathing techniques.
I tailor each program to suit your unique needs and help you overcome your fear of social settings. To find out more about how I can help, please email email@example.com to book your complimentary consultation.