Social Anxiety: It’s In Your Personality
For people with social anxiety, just the mere thought of walking into a room full of strangers can be debilitating.
“Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression,” the Social Anxiety Institute explained.
Now, a new study has revealed that some personality types may be more likely to experience social anxiety attacks.
“The Big Five” Personality Traits
Published in The Journal of Psychology, the study explored the Big Five personality traits —
- conscientiousness and
These personality traits were analyzed to see how they influenced social anxiety.
People with certain traits paired together were found to experience lower levels of social anxiety.
For instance, participants who were highly open and extroverted had a significantly lower level of social anxiety.
“Extroverts are likely to be protected against social anxiety symptoms, but more so the more open they are,”
- quote from the study’s abstract
According to the personality test website 123 test, people who have a high level of openness enjoy learning new things and having new experiences, and people who are extroverts get their energy from interacting with other.
So it makes sense that someone with this personality combination is less likely to be socially anxious.
On the other hand, people who were less open, but who were also highly agreeable, were more likely to experience social anxiety.
Highly agreeable people tend to be friendly, cooperative, and empathetic. But pair this with a dislike of being thrust into new experiences, and you’ve got someone who feels the need to go with the flow, is absorbing the energy of everyone around them, and is hating every second of it.
No doubt, this can be a recipe for social anxiety, as the study found.
“When anticipatory anxiety, worry, indecision, depression, embarrassment, feelings of inferiority, and self-blame are involved across most life situations, a generalized form of social anxiety is at work,” the institute noted.
The Social Anxiety Personality
People who experience social anxiety may dread being introduced to others, hate being the center of attention, dislike being watched while doing something, fear social encounters with strangers, or worry they’re being teased or criticized.
Perhaps because they feel like they need some kind of shield, people with social anxiety may also be more likely to smoke cigarettes, according to a study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.
Unstructured activities where small talk is necessary can be particularly uncomfortable for people with social anxiety.
Many people are totally fine at an event with a goal in mind, but random milling about with strangers for no particular reason fills them with dread.
Researchers found three personality trait combinations affected social anxiety:
Neuroticism predicted heightened levels of social anxiety.
People who are neurotic generally respond poorly to stressors; they’re often moody and regularly experience intense feelings like fear, worry, frustration, loneliness, and—ding, ding, ding!—anxiety.
It makes sense that increased levels of social interaction, which comes with its share of emotional stimuli, would make a neurotic person more likely to experience anxiety.
Extroverted and Open Personality
People who were highly open and highly extroverted were less likely to be socially anxious.
Lead study author Patryk Lakuta noted that being extroverted appears to prevent social anxiety—but only when the person is also quite open to new experiences and people.
Past research has shown extroverts experience more positive outcomes when they interact with other people, which may make them less socially anxious over the long term because experience has taught them there’s little to worry about in group settings.
Extroverted and Closed-Minded
People who were highly extroverted but not very open experienced the highest levels of social anxiety.
Contrary to what you might think, not all extroverts are totally free from social anxiety.
Lakuta considers this finding to be proof that social anxiety is fairly reliant on openness.
In other words, the more open you are to new people and new situations, the less socially anxious you will probably be.
But the less open you are, the more stressed and threatened you’ll probably feel in social situations—no matter how extroverted you might or might not be.
Can You Change Your Personality Traits?
The good news is that personality traits are not set in stone.
Past research shows we can become more open and agreeable over time.
If you’re working on being more open-minded—the key ingredient to offsetting social anxiety, according to these findings—consider getting yourself to more events oriented around learning, experiencing new things, and getting out of your comfort zone.
If you’re feeling stuck, try talking to close friends and family members about what you’re going through and what kind of growth you’re trying to achieve.
Create intentional space for both of you to think about an area of your life where you feel stuck. When we allow ourselves to share and be vulnerable with people we trust, we create movement—we open up the door to new possibilities.
Having these personality traits isn’t a guarantee you’ll have social anxiety, but fortunately, social anxiety can be very manageable.
If you have social anxiety, and you’re constantly being put into situations that trigger it, the Social Anxiety Institute recommends cognitive behavior therapy. CBT allows people to address, confront, and overcome their fears in a controlled setting.
If social anxiety is preventing you from doing things you love or fully participating in your life, it’s worth seeking help for it.
Help For Anxiety and Panic
For social anxiety attacks, I recommend the Panic Away system.
Panic Away is one of the most successful programs for treating panic attacks and general anxiety today.
The results have been incredible. People don’t write to say ‘thanks it helped it bit’, they write to say how the program has completely transformed their lives for the better.
Their anxiety is gone and they like a bigger and stronger person because of it.
These people become living proof that the program works and as a result their health care providers (doctors/therapists) want to learn these techniques for their other patients.
Time is so precious. Don’t waste another day of your life feeling anxious and miserable.
Panic Away has touched the lives of over 150,000 people, and has a proven track record of ridding people of their debilitating anxiety, and allowing them to live life to their fullest potential.
The Panic Away system will put you firmly in control of your anxiety, and ready to take on your goals.
For more information, testimonials, and a free audio download to deal with your immediate anxiety, visit Panic Away now.
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