One of the (many) problems with social anxiety disorder is that it can affect your motivation to get out there and do things. The fear of negative evaluation by others might mean you prefer the safety of your bed, rather than face (usually misinterpreted) stares of disapproval.
However, human beings by nature need to be stimulated. And avoiding activities will simply make you feel worse rather than better. Being isolated can make you feel depressed. So the best antidote to changing the way you feel is to change the way you think and behave.
If you lie in bed all day waiting for the motivation/desire/energy to do something then you’ll be waiting a longtime. Instead you’ll find that doing literally anything other than nothing will raise your mood, boost your confidence and give you the drive to be more active.
Why am I so lazy?
First of all, don’t make the mistake of ‘labelling’ yourself ‘lazy’. As a human being you’re too complicated to define yourself by a single word or phrases. You might be lazy ‘sometimes’. But that doesn’t mean you have some sort of genetic imprint that prevents you from getting dressed and doing stuff.
Here are a few of the common excuses (particularly if you suffer from social anxiety disorder) that might pop into your head to avoid getting stuff done:
- ‘I don’t feel like it’ – it’s a myth to think that you have to wait to ‘feel’ like doing something before you can do it. It’s only after experiencing the rewards of achieving something that you’ll find the motivation to do more. Even little things, like cooking yourself dinner rather than eating dry toast, will improve your mood because of the beneficial outcome from your activity.
- ‘I’m too depressed’ – you feel the way that you think. So if you lie in bed all day staring at the ceiling tormenting yourself over your latest (perceived) social faux pas then you’re not going to feel like going on a 10k bike ride. The best way of fighting your depression is to change the way you think. Being active and pursuing fulfilling goals, whether it’s teaching yourself Spanish or learning to cook, is what will banish the black clouds in the long run.
- ‘I might fail’ – So what? Nobody is good at everything. And we all have our strengths and weaknesses in life. Thinking you shouldn’t play tennis or attend a job interview because you might not get the outcome you want is only going to be a self fulfilling prophesy. To get better at things you have to practice. And there are enough hobbies, sports and jobs out there for you to find one you get satisfaction from.
Remember that thinking you must win at something or must get the job is a rigid way of looking at things. You should give yourself some flexibility and have preferences for the outcomes you’d like rather than rigid success/failure demands.
So how do I get myself out of bed and combat social anxiety disorder?
A tried and tested method of beating the bedridden blues is taught by Dr David Burns in ‘Feeling Good’. He suggests writing out a time table for what you’d like to get done each day.
This can include the minor things, such as getting dressed and reading the paper, right up to shopping or attending a dinner party. At the end of the day you then rate out of five the satisfaction you found in the completion of each task. The easier tasks might only rate as a one, but the more demanding challenges could rate as a four or five.
What you should find is that the sense of accomplishment you get from scoring your activity each day will drive you to do more. Having a schedule also helps you to structure your time and keep yourself occupied.
Gradually, you should also find that you start pushing yourself to keep improving your score and pursuing ever more demanding tasks.
The list of things you could do is limitless. But here are a few ideas:
- Learn a new musical instrument
- Learn a new language
- Read a book (I’d highly recommend ‘Feeling Good’)
- Take up jogging (exercise is a great anxiety reliever)
- Start an eBay shop for some extra cash
- Decorate your bedroom to create a bright, warm atmosphere
- Learn to cook spicy Thai dishes
- Start writing a blog (doing something creative is always recommended for providing an outlet for expressing your social anxiety disorder)
- Practice meditating (also recommended for anxiety treatment)
So, if you’re currently lying in bed, feeling glum and reading this on your laptop – start writing a list of all the active things you could be doing.
Remember that you feel the way that you think. So start giving yourself a daily dose of uplifting brainwaves from pursuing fulfilling goals, and banish the bedridden blues for good.
[Photo courtesy of SqueakyMarmot]