Do you often wander off into your own thoughts?
Do you daydream and “zone out” many times a day?
Do you always talk to yourself in your head almost to the point that you are living inside your head instead of out in the real world?
If so, then you’re not alone. I used to be a huge daydreamer. I would always be thinking about things and fantasizing about things happening. Whether I was by myself or with other people.
I was always lost inside my own thoughts and payed little attention to the outside world. And I didn’t even realize how often I was doing it until one day, in high school, someone mentioned that I was a daydreamer.
At that point I started to become aware of how often I was caught up in my own thoughts, getting lost in my own inner world. I was always absent from the real world because I was thinking to myself constantly.
It almost felt like I was cut off from the world, just looking into it but not interacting with it. I felt trapped. It was very difficult to socialize with other people because I was never “there.”
It would be many years after this realization that I would learn that many people with shyness and social anxiety suffer from the same dilemma. Constantly caught up in their thoughts, daydreaming, being absent mentally from the people around them and the outer world.
If this describes you, then this article is going to change the way you live.
Why Are You Constantly Thinking and Daydreaming?
Why is it that people with shyness and social anxiety daydream so much? Why is it such a common problem for them compared to “regular” people?
My guess is that it’s a form of partial avoidance. To understand what partial avoidance is, you first have to know what avoidance is.
Avoidance is when someone who has social anxiety avoids the situations that make them feel anxious. They may avoid doing speeches in school. They may see someone they know walking towards them down the street and quickly try to find ways to avoid them. They may even get to the point of staying inside their house all day. These are all examples of avoidance. You avoid the people, places, and situations that make you feel anxious.
So now what does partial avoidance mean? Partial avoidance is a little more subtle than regular avoidance.
Partial avoidance means that you avoid situations mentally instead of physically. Instead of avoiding the situation by not going into it physically, you avoid it with your mind. You are distancing yourself from the anxiety-provoking situation you are in through using distractions, daydreaming, and so on. Partial avoidance is usually mental avoidance of the thing you fear. In the case of social anxiety, that probably means being around people.
Basically, if you feel anxious just being around people, then your mind may start to daydream and get lost in thought so you don’t have to “face” the situation fully. It’s a way of lessening the unpleasant feeling of anxiety.
Escaping a Painful Reality
Another possible reason why people with shyness or social anxiety daydream a lot is to escape their current situation. If you are shy, if you don’t have a lot of friends, if you don’t really like yourself, then you may try to escape from that reality. You may begin to use your thoughts to live a life that your shyness or social anxiety holds you back from.
If you’re too nervous to ask out a girl you like, then you may fantasize about going out with her in your head. If you are too shy too speak up, then you may imagine yourself doing it. If you aren’t assertive enough to do something you want to do, or be the person you want to be, then you may live these things out in your head instead.
All of these examples illustrate one fundamental thing: using your thoughts to escape reality. You create a new reality in your head that is much closer to the one you’d like to be in. It’s the reality that would exist if you didn’t have the social fear or excessive social inhibition holding you back.
In a nutshell, your shyness or social anxiety stop you from living the life you want, which causes you to get stuck in your head, which just makes it harder to overcome your shyness or anxiety. It’s a vicious cycle.
Learning How to Become Present
Now that you know a couple possible reasons why you daydream and live in your head, the question is: how can you fix it? How do you stop being absent to the world? How do you stop escaping it through excessive thoughts and daydreaming?
It took me a long time to figure out the answer to these questions, but I finally found it. And I found it in the unlikeliest of places.
A couple years ago, a friend recommended to me a book called “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. It’s a book that explains the basics of meditation and how to be present to the moment. Since I like to read a lot, I decided to give it a shot.
The book rocked my world. No kidding.
This was the book that helped me stop constant daydreaming and thinking. I was finally able to stop the inner mental noise and be “present” to the world instead of lost in my own thoughts.
Essentially, the book teaches you how to quiet your thoughts so that you are able to live more in the present moment. It does this through several different mental exercises that you need to do regularly. The exercises are closely related to meditation.
If you have problems daydreaming and thinking too much, then this book gets my highest recommendation. You can purchase it at Amazon here or most local bookstores.
Of course, if you don’t want to read a whole book just to learn how to become present, then there is another option for you…
In my ebook, I wrote a chapter called “Mindfulness and Being Present.” In this chapter, I took the most important techniques and tools from “The Power of Now,” as well as other books and my own personal experience. I then combined and summarized them in a way that someone with social anxiety can quickly learn how to stop daydreaming and thinking too much.
So if you want to “get straight to the goods,” so to speak, without having to read a whole book, then you can download my ebook here.
Whichever option you choose, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. If you’ve read this far, then you have probably had this problem for years, if not forever. Use this post as a wake-up call. You can do something about it. Don’t wait to live.