Hugs, handshakes and kisses are universal modes of affection that many individuals use to greet others. However, if you have anxiety and social interactions are difficult to confront, how do you smoothly avoid an awkward moment before it occurs?
Ever since I was a child, I have never enjoyed hugs. Whenever I am on the receiving end of one, my anxiety spikes up and my brain immediately panics in thought. I always wondered whether my arm was correctly placed on their body, if my body position was too awkward, or whether I am hugging the person tight enough. Growing up, while I was never surrounded by physical affection, that does not mean that I was robbed of emotional affection as well. So, why couldn’t I simply translate my internalized affection into a physical one whenever I encounter people I know?
According to Psychology Today, 12% of Americans experience social anxiety and have a higher tendency of avoiding being touched, or touching others. Many individuals fear that there could be a potential flaw that is observed by another person, and that such interactions will elevate their anxiety. Some potential causes of a lack of physical affection deriving from social anxiety may include:
Of course, not being able to initiate physical affection does not mean that you are incapable of forming relationships. For instance, I have a best friend of 10 years and our instances of hugging have been so few that I can count the number of times on the fingers of one hand. Once in a while, you may encounter individuals who may not understand your social anxiety, and that is okay. While they may translate your panicking eyes and awkward body position as discontent towards them, reassure them that it is simply a general discomfort.
Consent and physical boundaries are highly important, and it should never be crossed regardless of one’s intentions. Instead, remind yourself and others that there are several ways of communication that does not include hugging. Here are some greetings that do not involve physical touch:
Do a head shake
Whenever you are walking down the street, you may see people flick their head up or down when greeting people. In my experience, you would slightly extend your head up whenever greeting a friend or someone you know, and slightly extend your head down to acknowledge a stranger.
Wave your hand
Waving to whoever you know is a kind and cheerful way to acknowledge someone. It may also indicate that you are excited to see them!
Make a peace sign
Nowadays, many people are pulling peace signs left and right to acknowledge their friends. This is also a habit of mine.
Simply start with a hello
Nothing beats a “hello.” Not only is it a universal greeting, it allows everyone to perceive you as a friendly and inviting individual!
Regardless of your social anxiety, you should never feel ashamed of not complying with standards that make you feel uncomfortable. I hope that these alternatives will help reassure your interactions with other individuals, as it did for me.
More information about social anxiety can be found here:
For the past few months, the Black Lives Matter Movement, an organization created to seek justice for disenfranchised black citizens, has gained global support and traction. The campaign is known to speak out against the continuous cycle of police brutality enforced on the black community. While local and national protests had been enforced, the slogan ‘All Lives Matter’ had emerged to counter and criticize the BLM movement, which fueled tensions and conflict between both movements. However, to understand the intentions between the Black Lives Matter Movement and the All Lives Matter Movement, it comes down to the difference between equality and equity.
According to Merriam-Webster, these are the definitions of equality and equity.
Equality: the quality or state of being equal
Equity: justice according to natural law or right; freedom from bias or favoritism
Although these definitions may seem short and concise, let's break them down to fully understand the meaning of these words. Equality is to have everyone be treated in the same manner. It is a reflection of how every person, regardless their demographic, has an equal starting point. Equity, on the other hand, is to give disadvantaged demographics more resources in order to have the opportunity to be treated equally in the future.
In essence, comparing the ALM and BLM movements are a matter of equality vs. equity. The All Lives Matter Movement emphasizes equality through the idea of “sameness,” where every single life is worthy of equal recognition by everyone. On the other hand, the Black Lives Matter Movement advocates for the idea of “fairness,” where minorities are given more opportunities to be granted justice that has yet to be recognized. It is easy to say that everyone is treated equally against the justice system, but that does not apply toward the accounts of police brutality that the black community faces. When confronted with systemic racism, the principles of equality are not emphasized when certain demographics are discriminated against.
While the All Lives Matter Movement is willing to recognize and prioritize the lives of everyone, the Black Lives Matter Movement is not an organization that wants to dismantle equality and seek for black superiority above all demographics. It simply wants to emphasize that black injustice is a human rights issue that occurs due to the discrimination and ingrained stigma against one’s skin color. The goal for this movement is to seek equality, but providing enough resources and access for them to do so through equity, must first be done.
At this moment, I cannot comfortably say that everyone is treated equally, as systemic racism continues to be an instilled factor within society that heavily targets the black community. However, we all now have the opportunity to bring equity through the Black Lives Matter Movement, and shed light on the enforcements that must be made to go against discrimination. Everyone now has the ability to participate in this movement by joining local protests, signing petitions online, sharing articles on your platform, or even donating. Any effort to support the BLM movement is impactful, and I have made efforts to Until there is equity brought, we cannot be ensured that every single person is equal and free.
Check out these platforms to engage yourself with the Black Lives Matter Movement:
Winter is a season that incites joy in many people. It offers the holidays, music that expresses festivities and celebration, and grants a reason for us to comfortably sit around a fireplace while consuming a delicious cup of hot chocolate. However, as the days get progressively chillier alongside these positive associations of the season, it also bears negative results. Our skin gets drier, resulting in acne breakouts or severe eczema. Such occurrences may heavily impact one’s confidence during this time of year, while making people question whether they could be truly happy during one of the most joyous seasons.
Beyond the causes of dry skin, the seasonal acne that occurs in winter is mainly due to the sudden shift between temperatures. According to Teledoc, here are the reasons why the coldness of one’s environment causes seasonal acne during the winter:
For almost the entirety of my teenage life, I’ve dealt with seasonal acne. I would dread the winter time where I would have to deal with spontaneous acne spots that diminished the happiness that I had of the holidays. During gatherings, I would not have the courage to look at my friends or family members while conversing with them, as I feared of them speaking up about the quality of my skin. Not only did I have acne, my skin would occasionally be oily, so any pictures taken of me would fuel insecurities about my face. However, throughout the years, I have learned several tips on how I dealt with seasonal acne that I hope may be beneficial:
While everyone’s skin condition is different, I do believe that these may be impactful starter points that will help the skin when confronted with seasonal change. Acne is temporary and does not define one’s character, and I do hope that this may be a confidence booster for those that experience winter acne as well.
Teladoc article: https://www.teladoc.com/resources/2019/01/16/whats-with-winter-acne/
One sheep... two sheep... three sheep. When the lights are off and the world falls into a peaceful rhythm, it seems as if it would be easy to simply close your eyes and enter a deep state of rest. However, with no one else around, you are only left with your own thoughts, for better or for worse. Despite feeling drained after a long day of activities, why are our lingering thoughts such an inconvenience at night?
Nighttime anxiety is a common experience for many people whose intrusive thoughts heavily impact their sleeping schedule. Such spontaneous thoughts encourage a long cycle of nervousness and irritation, which may impact your wellbeing. This repetitive state of worrying, where we would commonly look back on our past decisions and analyze our lives through questions of “what ifs”and “whys.” Ultimately, one thought leads to another and causes your mind to feel hopeless of your past, present, and future.
Whenever I feel scared of the unknown, my nighttime anxiety tremendously spikes. This may be due to a series of scenarios that I am expecting in the future, which can be as soon as an upcoming test to as long as the extent of success that I have gained from my future career.
Regardless of my physical state of tiredness, my brain seems to be unable to shut down. It seems as if my mind is constantly racing a hundred miles per hour, where I think about how I could have altered my range of choices that occurred from the day before, or even years ago. This proceeds to me damaging my own self-esteem, where I come to the conclusion that I am a failure as a person. While my overthinking tendencies are heightened at night, it is important to remember that these thoughts are usually derived from irrational conclusions that seem to follow ideas that reflect the worst possible situation.
At this point, I have learned that nighttime anxiety is a mere inconvenience that must be confronted at face value. Here are what I suggest that may help ease these lingering thoughts:
1. Write out your thoughts and worries
The main problem of nighttime anxiety is feeling as if you have no one to talk to. By writing in your notes app, daily journal, or even a piece of scrap paper, your thoughts will be released which will put your mind at ease.
2. Heighten your other senses
When your thoughts feel like your biggest competitor, try to distract yourself by overwhelming your thoughts with other senses. Try out an aromatherapy diffuser with calming scents that you can smell, such as lavender or chamomile. You can also listen to calming audios, such as the sound of the rain or the sea.
3. Stretch your body
Sometimes, you just simply need to release all of your stress by releasing all of your built up muscle tension. Not only does it relieve your body, it also allows you to focus on some other action without your numerous thoughts.
4. Reposition your pillow
Your body position may be uncomfortable when you lay in bed, which allows your discomfort to lead into a realm of odd thoughts. Most of the time when I cannot sleep, I like to pat my pillow or even align it in a different side that may be better for your head and neck.
5. Calming tea
Similarly to aromatherapy, these night time teas contain ingredients that are meant to sooth your mind and body. I enjoy drinking the honey herbal tea from SleepyTime Tea, but there are numerous other brands, such as Nighty Night or Pukka’s Night Time that promote relaxation. With one steaming cup, this may be a wondrous tactic that will make your thoughts simmer and calm until your anxiety is gone.
At the end of the day, night-time anxiety is common with everyone. We all have the tendency to overthink, and it may be incredibly frustrating to not be able to turn your mind off whenever you want it to. I truly hope that these tips work for you as it did for me.