Quiz: Are you too self-conscious?
Some people can laugh off a potential faux paus, while others dwell on it for days -- or even years. How self-conscious do you feel -- and what's normal? Test your knowledge and learn how to combat self-consciousness with this quiz.
Question 1 of 20
You're single and chatting with a group of coworkers at lunch when one of them asks why you've never been married. What do you do?
... When a group of people suddenly turn their attention on you, it's normal to feel like you're in the spotlight. How you handle it, however, says a lot about how self-conscious you are. In this case, deflecting the question and refocusing the group is key to regaining your comfort.
Question 2 of 20
You're dining in an expensive restaurant and return from the restroom, getting all the way back to your table before you realize that there's a piece of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of your shoe. You:
... Embarrassing things happen. But if you dwell on these events, you'll begin to feel ashamed and even more embarrassed. The key to a healthy level of self-consciousness is to briefly acknowledge an embarrassing event and then move on.
Question 3 of 20
You're attending a stand-up comedy event with friends, but when the comedian begins to make fun of your shirt, you:
... When all eyes are on you, your body may react physically as though you're in danger, preparing you for flight or fight. But you don't have to do either. Take the situation in stride: Instead of focusing on yourself (and your potential shortcomings), put it out of your head and listen to the next joke.
Question 4 of 20
You've spent weeks preparing a presentation for a new client but just before it's time to begin, you can't remember your opening lines. You:
... You know the material -- which is the part of the presentation that the client is interested in -- even if you've forgotten your clever opener. If you share your knowledge, it will take the focus off of you and help ease your self-consciousness.
Question 5 of 20
You've arrived at the beach with friends, but when it's time to get in the water, you're suddenly panicked about revealing how you look in your swimsuit. You:
... No one's perfect, least of all while wearing a swimsuit. Instead of spiraling into negative self-talk, distract yourself with a conversation, book or game. It will get your mind off your own insecurities. Scoring guide: If you answered four or five questions correctly, you're really self-confident -- good for you! If you answered two or three correctly, you let your self-consciousness get the better of you sometimes -- but then, most people do. If you answered one or none correctly, you're too self-conscious for your own good -- and reading that probably just made you feel more self-conscious. But don't worry about it: Learning about anxiety can help you cope with it. Start with the next question.
Question 6 of 20
True or false: Being self-conscious is always a negative thing.
... The feeling of being self-conscious is actually tied to socialization, a skill that's central to human survival.
Question 7 of 20
How can being self-conscious help you be a better listener?
... People who are more self-conscious are often able to empathize with others, which can include being able to lend an ear.
Question 8 of 20
When you feel self-conscious, your focus is on what?
... People who feel self-conscious are focusing on themselves; sometimes this focus can become prolonged and lead to ongoing self-consciousness.
Question 9 of 20
What physical reaction goes hand in hand with feeling self-conscious?
... A surge of self-consciousness can create a physical reaction as your body prepares for fight or flight with a rush of adrenaline.
Question 10 of 20
Which of the following behaviors could help you ease your self-consciousness?
... Being more organized and planning ahead can help you avoid stressful situations that bring on self-consciousness, like running late all the time. (If your self-consciousness is what's making you late in the first place -- say, by leading you to be indecisive about your outfit -- try giving yourself way more time than you think you need to get ready.)
Question 11 of 20
Which emotions are part and parcel of being self-conscious?
... Feelings of embarrassment, pride and guilt are all part of feeling self-conscious. Thinking about what spurs those emotions in you can help you combat them.
Question 12 of 20
What role do other people play when someone feels self-conscious?
... When someone feels self-conscious, he's imagining the thoughts and reactions of those around him. Remember that you can't know what someone else is thinking, and that most people aren't as aware of you as you're aware of yourself -- and that you may be your own harshest critic.
Question 13 of 20
Which of the following is often the first step in combating self-consciousness?
... For many people, the first step in easing extreme self-consciousness is gaining an understanding and awareness of the problem.
Question 14 of 20
How can cognitive-behavioral therapy help ease self-consciousness?
... Professionally guided cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people who are self-conscious focus on their present (and positive) behaviors instead of dwelling on past mistakes.
Question 15 of 20
Which of the following is a behavioral symptom of feeling self-conscious?
... Always bringing along a friend for comfort is one symptom of self-consciousness.
Question 16 of 20
What is one way to help combat extreme self-consciousness?
... Learning to control your breathing could help combat self-consciousness because it can keep you calm in stressful situations.
Question 17 of 20
If you feel self-conscious in social situations, what should you do?
... By facing your fears and becoming more involved in social situations, you will eventually temper your self-consciousness with confidence gained from positive experiences.
Question 18 of 20
What should you avoid eating or drinking if you typically feel self-conscious?
... Caffeine from things like coffee and chocolate can increase anxiety symptoms.
Question 19 of 20
How can an adequate night's sleep help combat self-consciousness?
... When you get a good night's sleep, you are not as vulnerable to anxiety and feeling self-conscious.
Question 20 of 20
Is there help for feeling self-conscious?
... If you would like to feel less self-conscious, there are plenty of options for getting help, ranging from self-help books to social skills classes to behavioral therapy. The first step is deciding that you want to make a change.
Are you too self-conscious?
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