This time around, I have been determined to get out and meet people no matter how hard being social with low dopamine feels.
And, it feels really bad.
Yesterday I had to battle myself to go to Toastmasters and today I went to a young people’s group from my dad’s church. I agreed to go last week, but I was almost useless all day from social anxiety.
I even let myself have a few yogurt cups before I went becasue I was super nervous and I figured I needed to up my dopamine at least at the beginning to get a bit of focus.
Being social with low dopamine is scary because you lose your ability to focus. Most people probably don’t realize how much focus they are using when they are being social, but it becomes super obvious if you have a dopamine deficiency.
Every twitch in the other person’s face sends your mind on a tangent, and you become so overwhelmed by the effort to find something to say that you either talk like a maniac or you struggle in a twisted frozen brain space of nothingness.
I have been reading a book about creativity called imagine, and its focus on the right and left brain has given me a new idea. The left brain is responsible for actual speech and analytics. The right brain is for zooming out, getting the whole picture, and making connections.
If you think about conversation, it uses both of these tools almost equally. I think that people with low dopamine don’t have this sweet gelling of the hemispheres.
I know a guy with low dopamine who has severe adhd. He is completely different than me. he talks up a storm, but he has no sense of what is appropriate to say. It seems like his right brain has taken the reins and is going haywire.
For me, it is the left brain. The words and analytics go flying through my head, but any idea of fluidity or spontaneity is totally lost. For me anxiety seems to be ruling, while for my friend a complete loss of focus is controlling him.
Both of these are breaks with reality, which is what low dopamine is the general cause of.
Avoiding Being Social Due to Low Dopamine is Digging Your Own Grave
The fact that low dopamine makes it difficult to be social is a double whammy.
As we have already seen, conversation is great practice for the hemispheres to get along.
The other problem is that lack of socialization is a cause for addiction, which causes a reduction in dopamine receptors, which means less dopamine – a vicious circle.
The sad news is that the only cure for social anxiety stemming from low dopamine is to get out there and be social. This can feel impossible, but I assure you it is worth it.
So far I may have been getting lucky, but every time I come back from an outing, I have been very pleased with how it went. In other words, I have been reversing the cycle.
Ways to Get out and Be Social
- Try activities with people you know and with people you don’t know. For me I am actually less nervous with people I don’t know. I think it is becasue I have less to lose and more to say.
- Just get yourself there. It has been amazing how much I have enjoyed the social interactions that I have dreaded all day.
- Include some kind of accountability to help with getting yourself there. The last time I went to Toastmasters, I told everyone about it and how interesting it was. When this week rolled around that was the thing that got me through the door.
- Be consistent. You need to convince yourself that it isn’t that bad. The only way to do this is by building confidence through practice.
- Have fun. Remember that anxiety is the problem, so pull out all the stops when it comes to getting yourself relaxed. I try and fully shut down my brain or keep it occupied with something engrossing directly before I go to a social occasion.
3 Thing To-Do List
- 3 hours on conclusion
- go to Bible Study
- Stay at library until 5