T Nation

Social Anxiety

Usually I’m okay but sometimes I am overcome with social anxiety and I have ridiculous negative thoughts I can’t help. Normally the gym is where I get a lot of peace of mind but sometimes I feel like everyone is staring at me. I see myself at the gym and I feel like my body is out of proportion and looks funny. I am only 150 lbs but I deadlift 415 which is something I am pretty proud of but then I feel like people are gawking at me like a freak. Usually I just brush it off but sometimes I can’t overcome my own thoughts. I start thinking, what if I am not 100% and don’t hit this 1rm today? People are going to look at me, this small guy, and think I’m a jackass for trying.

Or sometimes I see people who I work out regularly and I worry that they might notice I am lifting the same weight I lifted previously. Like they are laughing on the inside that my lift did not go up 5 lbs. Then I’ll cut my work out short and go home and be pissed off at myself for being a bitch. Then I’ll go back at 3am when the gym is empty. wtffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

OMG YOU ARE THE MALE ME!!!

YOU SO AWESOME!!!

SERIOUSLY!!

K first…

Anxiety can maybe us hyper sensitive…hyper aware…just plain ol’ hyper.

In most of these situations you must remind yourself that your thoughts are INFACT IRRATIONAL.

While they may seem real and plausable, to US (you, me, whatever) they are not. The brain lies.
Is this logical, or is this irrational? 99% of the time the answer is IRRATIONAL.

I get anxiety walking across a crosswalk sometimes cause I think people in the cars or whatever are going to think I’m fat, Lol.
Like, so what if they do think that? It’s not like they are going to open their windows and yell out “HEY FAT ASS!! GO DO SOME SQUATS AN EAT ANOTHER TRAY OF BROWNIES WHY DON’TCHA?! CRAZY BITCH! HAVE SOME SELF CONTROL”

People don’t do that, because most people are sane.

Not us though, we’re special unique little snow flakes, and I loves us…

MWAH

I work out in my garage. I use the cable stack in the apartment gym when nobody’s there. I use the dumbbells and cable stack in my office gym when everyone’s gone.

Nobody’s around to laugh. I like it better that way.

Stop being such a fucking pussy.

Yeah idk im kind of the opposite:

Having some kind of audience makes you work harder.

Screwing up on heavy lifts, failing, looking like a jackass occasionally shows that you are pusing the envelope a little bit. This happens to anyone who makes big progress.

The better you get at stuff, the less self concious you will be, its a snowball effect. Keep at it.

Everyone has thier own agenda.

Everyone likes you, but do you like everyone else?

Speak with a deep strong voice.

REALISTIC CONFIDENCE.

alot of people have it. myself included…maybe its just normal.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

i too think everybody is looking at me and me only when im at the gym. this causes me to frequently set 10lbs PRs or rep PRs. think of the social anxiety in you as a trigger to lift more weight and even though you think people in the gym are staring at you, they arent.

I wouldn’t worry about it too much. A lot of people are born with a personality (I think I’m one of them sometimes, to a degree) where you seem to care almost too much what people think about you. All I can say is embrace it man and don’t let it bother you. If that’s you then that’s you.

[quote]Spock81 wrote:
OMG YOU ARE THE MALE ME!!!

YOU SO AWESOME!!!

SERIOUSLY!!

K first…

Anxiety can maybe us hyper sensitive…hyper aware…just plain ol’ hyper.

In most of these situations you must remind yourself that your thoughts are INFACT IRRATIONAL.

While they may seem real and plausable, to US (you, me, whatever) they are not. The brain lies.
Is this logical, or is this irrational? 99% of the time the answer is IRRATIONAL.

I get anxiety walking across a crosswalk sometimes cause I think people in the cars or whatever are going to think I’m fat, Lol.
Like, so what if they do think that? It’s not like they are going to open their windows and yell out “HEY FAT ASS!! GO DO SOME SQUATS AN EAT ANOTHER TRAY OF BROWNIES WHY DON’TCHA?! CRAZY BITCH! HAVE SOME SELF CONTROL”

People don’t do that, because most people are sane.

Not us though, we’re special unique little snow flakes, and I loves us…

MWAH[/quote]
I’m the same way, especially when I’m walking down the sidewalk. I don’t really think it’s a confidence or self-esteem issue… I just care too much what people think about me, lol. Regardless I’m happy in my own skin.

[quote]wannabebig250 wrote:
i too think everybody is looking at me and me only when im at the gym. this causes me to frequently set 10lbs PRs or rep PRs. think of the social anxiety in you as a trigger to lift more weight and even though you think people in the gym are staring at you, they arent.[/quote]
It is my belief that when in the gym, EVERYONE thinks they are looking at you and only you. I’m certainly that way even when I know it’s not the case (they may glance every now and then, but in the end, I realize that people really only concerned about themselves and probably thinking the same thing as me, lol)

I used to be exactly like this. I really just adapted the i don’t give a shit policy. Now its more of just overall confidence when meeting new people. For the life of me i can’t carry on a conversation with a stranger. I guess im just shy in general. I still do prefer to be alone or around a small group of close people then a large one.

I’m a small guy at 5’4", and live in a country were the average height for men is about a head taller than me.

As a kid this never really meant anything to me, but later in life as I was forced to compete with “the big guys”, I started to take more note of my deficiencies than my positve attributes, and started to develop something like an inferiority complex.

This is what you’re feeling now, and everybody on our planet has a certain dose of it, and it’s normal.

To be honest with you, you’re making a mountain out of a molehill, at least in your head. When I read this:

“I am only 150 lbs but I deadlift 415 which is something I am pretty proud of but then I feel like people are gawking at me like a freak.”

I would guess that what you think is “…gawking at me like a freak…” is really their respect for you which you’re misinterpreting.

But I mostly swing between someone with strong self-esteem and confidence, and a borderline narcissistic, so disregard my absolutely perfect advice.

I guess it grounds me a little bit when I hear about others having the same sort of issues.

Also, even though I have anxiety, I’m not really insecure. I actually have a really high opinion of myself and am narcissistic. But when I get that hypersensitivity as Spock calls it, I just feel like people have these expectations of me and I just don’t feel like rising up to meet them. It’s like I am emotionally/physically spent.

This one memory really strikes me to this day. In college, I was in a fraternity and there was this huge party going in my frat house. I locked myself in my room and just watched Garden State followed by going on Wikipedia to learn about the Marvel Universe, lol. And I had a great fucking time. People were knocking on my door and I just ignored them. I did have some anxiety about going out, and had this feeling like it would take the same amount of energy as climbing a mountain to force myself to go outside. So I just sat and chilled, I just did not want to go out there and “perform” and have fun. The next morning I just told people I got too wasted early and passed out.

Your thinking too much you just need to stop identifying with those thoughts… Its not the people that are causing you anxiety it is the imaginary illusion of “what if” that is causing you anxiety. Really why does it even matter what anyone else is thinking, It is out of your control so don’t let it effect you 99% of what you probally are believing is probally not true to reality anyways.

hey man, i used to have the same issue, when i was a teen up until three years ago. I’ve had a lot of jobs where i just have to be in front of some kind of audience (large or small, kids in a classroom or guys at the gym) and do something. it might sound ridiculous but this book from amazon (its free if you download the kindle app) has a great few chapters on confidence in general. check it out, it may help (it definitely helped me a little)

not saying reading will change you right away but might give you a way to look at how you feel differently.
and fk everyone at ur gym, if they have something to say to you while your deadlifitng 415and if they don’t say it to your face, then they are just a bunch of fking pu**ies

< - - - opposite - - -

feel at home in a crowd, in fact, I feel that I am at my best in a crowd or in front of an audience.

I like to belly up to the big braggart and make them feel uncomfortable, intimidated.

I like to take the smaller, or uncomfortable people under my protective arm, and defend them if needed.

people generally like me, and are attracted to me.

my kids are the total opposite (boys, 25 &27). they are socially awkward, uncomfortable and nervous as a cat.

wierd~

If this a really big problem, both inside and outside the gym, then you could look at Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It’s a type of therapy that teaches you to analyse your thoughts and consider them rationally (as Spock said, many of these thoughts are irrational). Also, it teaches you strategies to help you cope day to day. The evidence is good for CBT’s efficacy in treating anxiety.

Only consider this if it’s making you unhappy/having a negative impact on your daily living, of course. You don’t want to medicalise something if it’s unnecessary.

Here’s a link: http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Cognitive-Behaviour-Therapy-(CBT).htm

[quote]Edgy wrote:
< - - - opposite - - -

I like to take the smaller, or uncomfortable people under my protective arm, and defend them if needed.

[/quote]

You big softie viking.

[quote]Chushin wrote:

[quote]bignate wrote:
alot of people have it. myself included…maybe its just normal. [/quote]

Or more accurately, common.

[/quote]

same here. I think it is human nature too though to feel like we are being judged, since we all do it :wink: . That’s what I tell out of shape clients that feel timid in the gym, “even the most in shape people are self conscious”

But, to the point, I tend to avoid being around social settings where I don’t know people. I also avoid driving in cities because while I don’t get panic attacks, it makes me very uncomfortable, that and I’m awful with directions and hate traffic.