Do you spin every situation into a never-ending cycle of what-ifs and maybes? If so, you may be an anxious introvert.
Are you an anxious introvert? It’s a question many of us ask ourselves. (I know I have!)
Attempting to find clarity through self-reflection can be daunting… but have no fear! Below, I’ve got five signs to help you understand your individual identity as an introvert who battles anxiety. (Hint: You’re totally normal!) But first, let’s define anxiety.
What Is Anxiety?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is a feeling that’s manifested through worried thoughts, tension, and physical changes. These can include things like sweating, a rapid heartbeat, and/or increased blood pressure. Unlike fear, which is based on a present threat, anxiety is future-focused — you may have anxiety around a presentation you have to give at work or about an upcoming party (if you have social anxiety).
If you’ve ever wondered if you have anxiety, then read on for some helpful tips and tricks.
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5 Ways to Tell if You’re an Anxious Introvert
1. You overthink everything, from what to have for dinner to whether or not to meet up with a friend.
I think it’s safe to say that 99.9 percent of introverts overthink even the smallest decisions sometimes. For example, are you someone who spends hours pondering every little thing? Do you constantly obsess over making the right decision? Do you second-guess yourself… again… and again?
Well, my friend, you just might be an anxious, introverted soul. Don’t worry, I’m not judging — I empathize!
In my opinion, it takes a special kind of talent to spin every situation into a never-ending cycle of what-ifs and maybes. But… this can be paralyzing and be to our detriment.
So how do you know?
Signs of overthinking could include a nagging feeling of doubt, excessive worrying, and a fear of making the wrong choice.
So next time you catch yourself stuck in an endless cycle of overthinking, take a deep breath and remember, you’re not alone. And try asking yourself these questions:
- Will this matter in 5 hours?
- Will this matter in 5 days?
- Will this matter in 5 months?
- Will this matter in 5 years??? (Probably not!)
Putting this framework around our decision-making process helps us see the true simplicity of our daily choices, especially for our spiraling, introverted brains.
2. You often feel overwhelmed in social situations.
Picture this: You show up to a party, and as soon as you walk in the door, you’re hit with a wave of anxiety. Suddenly, there are too many people, too much noise, and there’s too much pressure to socialize.
If this scenario speaks to you, then chances are you might be an anxious introvert or an introvert with social anxiety. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means that social situations can be overwhelming for you more so than others.
So don’t worry if you’re not the life of the party — you’re still a valuable member of any social scene, even if you’re more comfortable on the sidelines (or just staying a few minutes!). Just remember to take care of yourself, and don’t push yourself too hard.
After all, being an introvert is all about finding peace in the chaos of the world.
3. You struggle to express yourself around others.
For many anxious people and introverts, and for introverts with anxiety, the ability to express themselves often feels like a constant uphill battle. I’m speaking first-hand when I say it can feel isolating, crippling, and darn right paralyzing to speak my truth.
Thoughts, feelings, and ideas swirl around in our minds with no clear way out of our brain to be communicated, leaving us feeling helpless and alone in our cloud-head confusion.
Signs of this internal struggle can include avoidance of conversation, constant self-editing and endlessly rephrasing thoughts before speaking out loud, an overreliance on notes or scripts for casual talk, fear of judgment from others when attempting to share ideas or personal opinions, and/or an inability to initiate conversations.
Seems like a lot, huh? But if any of this sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone! But if your anxiety seems to be interfering with your day-to-day life too much, it may be time to reach out to a therapist or mental health professional who can help lead you toward some productive solutions.
The world wants to hear what you have to say! Plus, when we feel heard, understood, and known, we better connect with others and ourselves.
Is social anxiety holding you back?
Although social anxiety is not the same thing as introversion, many introverts experience this painful and isolating condition. The truth is you can beat social anxiety, and our partner Natasha Daniels can show you how. This means more relaxed conversations, more enjoyable work/school days, and more social invitations that you don’t immediately decline (unless you want to, of course!). Click here to check out her online class for kids and adults, How to Crush Social Anxiety.
4. You are not comfortable with compliments.
Have you ever been complimented and felt like a deer in headlights, freezing up and struggling to respond? It could be a sign of being an anxious introvert.
When the spotlight is suddenly on us, it can feel overwhelming and nerve-wracking. Sometimes, we might even downplay the compliment or deflect it entirely. And if other people are around and heard it, too, it can make us even more on-edge.
So if you find yourself constantly refusing compliments, or feeling uneasy when receiving them, it might be a sign that you’re more anxiety-prone. Don’t worry, though — there’s nothing wrong with you.
Embrace who you are and allow yourself to grow and change in your own time. And who knows? Maybe one day you’ll feel comfortable enough to strut your stuff and take those compliments in stride. (Once again, this is where a therapist can help you out by teaching you how to boost your confidence, even in small ways.)
I know I am working on this — and you can, too! (Did you notice how I just gave you a compliment?)
5. You have difficulty sleeping, constantly worrying about things.
When it comes to sleep, some of us are lucky enough to fall into a peaceful slumber as soon as our heads hit the pillow. But for others, bedtime is a battleground between our racing minds and the weight of exhaustion.
If you’re constantly running through your to-do list, replaying awkward conversations in your head, or worrying about what might happen tomorrow, chances are you’re one of these people.
And, let’s be real: Who among us hasn’t spent hours imagining every worst-case scenario before finally drifting off to sleep? So if you’re constantly feeling anxious and find yourself struggling to catch some Zzz’s, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone.
But hey, there’s a silver lining — introverts are some of the most creative, thoughtful, and compassionate people out there. We just need a little extra time and space to recharge our batteries, and that includes quality sleep.
Pro tip: Create a wind-down bedtime ritual, such as praying or journaling, to calm the mind and body to better prepare for sleep. The more you do this, the more quality sleep you can get.
Ways to Cope With Anxiety as an Introvert
As an introvert, there are several ways to cope with anxiety and find peace in solitude. Here are a few primary ways:
- Do a mental check. Start by changing those negative thought patterns — seriously, tell that voice in your head to chill out. One effective technique is through visualization techniques, meditation, and yoga, which can help relax the mind and body. Speaking of which…
- Get into a meditation practice. Meditation can be a perfect tool for introverts, as it allows for quiet and alone time, which can help manage stress and anxiety.
- Do breathwork. Focusing on breathing techniques, such as inhaling and exhaling through the nose while placing a hand over the heart and rib cage. This can also help bring back a sense of calm and can center the mind.
- Focus on healthy eating and sleep habits. Whatever it takes, try to develop some healthy habits — eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep.
- Try to find peace in solitude. By this, I mean indulge in a good book or watch a feel-good Hallmark movie… or even just take a walk in nature. Do whatever makes you feel best!
And as I said before, don’t be ashamed to get support from a therapist. They can provide valuable tools and techniques for changing negative thought patterns and developing healthy coping strategies for managing anxiety as an introvert.
Remember, staying calm is all about finding what works best for you. So take a deep breath, put on some comfy pajamas, and let’s kick anxiety to the curb.
You might like:
- 6 Tips for Surviving Anxiety as an Introvert
- How Introverts Can Relieve Stress and Anxiety Mindfully
- 4 Meditation Tips for Introverts Who Struggle to Focus
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