Do you tend to be sensitive to subtleties in the environment and other people’s mood?
Do you feel like you process everything thoroughly and on a very deep level?
Are you easily overwhelmed when too much is going on at once?
Do you need to withdraw to a private and peaceful place to get some relief afterwards?
If you answered yes to these questions, chances are you belong to 15-20% of the population who is highly sensitive. Welcome to the club!
There isn’t much research done on the correlation between being a highly sensitive person (HSP) and experiencing social anxiety. However, some research indicates that when a HSP is exposed to traumatic childhood experiences, they are more prone to anxiety and depression.
Judging from my experience (as a HSP), the people I know, and the testimonials of different people (including psychologists), I believe there is a strong correlation between being a HSP and struggling with social anxiety.
However, like I mentioned in my article 3 Reasons Why You Can Overcome Social Anxiety, it’s not the high sensitivity itself that causes social anxiety but the way a HSP tends to process traumatic experiences. Since a HSP processes everything very deeply, unpleasant events might leave a particularly strong mark in early childhood, when people don’t know how to step back from a situation and look at it from a different angle.
In other words, a HSP is more prone to social anxiety if they have experienced mental and/or physical abuse as a child comparing to a non HSP with similar traumatic experience.
What Can You Do About It?
First thing you need to realize is that even though you get touched deeply by everything that’s surrounding you, you still have control over your thoughts and behavior, and can reprogram your brain in a way that will serve you and set you free from social anxiety.
Next thing you need to do is embrace your sensitivity. It’s a wonderful trait to have.
Here’s an excerpt from my book “Bye Bye, Social Anxiety” that will help you get inspired by your sensitivity:
5 examples of why you should embrace your sensitive nature, and appreciate its beauty and advantages:
· You have a stronger intuition which, especially once you overcome social anxiety, helps you build genuine, deep connections with people. You can quickly tell whether someone is honest and good hearted or not.
· You have the ability to sense all the positive and beautiful aspects of life more.
· You notice details and subtleties that others don’t.
· Sensitivity helps you in being more creative, empathetic, compassionate and conscientious. You can develop new, creative and original ideas as a result of deep processing.
· You can be an excellent mediator because of your ability to understand different perspectives, and your ability to seek a positive, harmonious outcome for everyone.
When sensitivity is embraced, compassion, kindness, intuition and genuine connections with people can attain wonderful levels that can truly help humanity; it can make the world a better place in very special ways.
If these values became more important than showing off, abusing power, wanting to be “tough”, and constantly looking out to protect or attack, the world would definitely be a better place.
I am currently doing a research on the correlation between being a HSP and struggling with social anxiety. I would truly appreciate your help with this research. I believe that your participation can greatly help others suffering from social anxiety, as it will allow those of us researching in this field to understand and help you better.
You are invited to fill out an anonymous questionnaire at this link.
I wholeheartedly thank you in advance!
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