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Working Out and Getting Into Crowds Helped Me Overcome My Social Anxiety

“If you struggle with social anxiety, the best way to overcome it would be to take small steps to face it. Go to places that make you uncomfortable and take a look around. You’ll realize no one is looking at you.”

Struggled with:

Hello! Who are you?

My name is Daniel Castillo also known as Bokey. I’m from Dallas Texas and I’m a fitness blogger and licensed personal trainer and nutritionist. I currently live with my girlfriend and we don’t have any pets of our own at the moment, but hopefully one day we can. 

My biggest hobby would have to be working out in some way whether it be lifting weights, calisthenics, or running. For me, exercise is my stress reliever. 

I would definitely consider myself happy. Coming from where I used to be mentally, emotionally, and physically, it’s been a long journey that I’m proud to say I’ve overcome and still continue to walk to this day. 

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What is your struggle and when did it start?

In the past, I struggled with social anxiety. Basically, I would struggle to do anything socially like going to parties, the mall, school, or even the grocery store. I felt this heavy burden like someone was always watching me or judging me in some way. 

It began in my sophomore year of high school and I didn’t identify the problem until my early years of college. Back in high school, I felt lost and out of place. I had friends I was forcing myself to hang out with, had no direction to take, and didn’t know what I wanted to do in the future.

How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?

As time went on, I couldn’t see any way out. When I went to college, partying was everything anyone wanted to do, but I couldn’t go to one without feeling tense. To be honest, it was more draining than doing exercise. 

I didn’t even try to hide it and it couldn’t be more obvious. Anytime I was forced to go to a party, I was that kid isolated on my phone swiping through the home screen and checking random emails that I know didn’t need to be opened. 

To sum it all up, I felt like a depressed, awkward, and insecure loser. 

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Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?

Although I wasn’t truly aware of the problem until college, I began trying to improve myself by working out during my junior year of high school. I didn’t really see any results or even have a good understanding of exercise till college, but it was a start. 

As I progressed in the gym, I started to physically grow and gained some confidence. By my sophomore year of college, I put on 30 pounds.

It was at this point that I started to come out of my shell. Doing simple tasks like going to the grocery store or mall felt much easier and even enjoyable to some degree. But I knew eventually the main task would be to finally enjoy partying like everyone else. 

What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?

As tough and daunting as it was, I knew I had to face the problem head-on. I started by going to parties with as many friends as I could. This was a crucial first step because I knew that if I could surround myself with people I was comfortable with, the process would be much easier. 

It started with small group gatherings and evolved to full-on concerts and parties. I remember one night at a club with my brother and some friends, I walked around the club by myself taking laps around the center bar. 

Now keep in mind, if someone was watching me, this would be a weird thing to see. But I began to realize that with so many other people in the club, no one could watch me.

They, just like me, were too worried about what was going on with themselves. This was the major turning point in overcoming this anxiety and I began to outgrow something that was crippling me in the past. 

So I took plenty of laps that night to feel comfortable and absorb the energy of the crowd. This helped calm the normal nerves I felt and eventually going to the club was easy and somewhat fun. 

If you struggle with social anxiety, the best way to overcome it would be to take small steps to face it. Go to places that make you uncomfortable and take a look around. You’ll realize no one is looking at you.

Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?

For me, I would mainly share it with my brother, but whoever you’re close to can help. He was someone who didn’t have this problem. So I figured getting a point of view from someone could help me too. 

I think my parents were the only people I was not comfortable sharing it with. I didn’t want to show them I was struggling so I didn’t. Eventually, they found out and were understanding, but out of pride, I kept it from them. 

Aside from that, I wasn’t scared to share my problems. Most people hide their problems and never get helped, so for me, I wanted to make sure this problem could get fixed. 

If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?

If I had one piece of advice to share, it would be this: You can read as many books and watch as many youtube videos as you want, but that feeling won’t go away without experience and trial and error. 

Seeing what works for you and gaining a new perspective on social situations is what helped me and I’m sure it can help you.  

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?

  • Youtube channel: Improvement Pill. This channel is all about self-improvement. It helped me grasp an idea of where to start and what I could get better on. 
  • Youtube channel: Teachingmensfashion. This channel is very similar, except it’s more geared toward fashion and how you present yourself. This helped me develop my self-image and increase my confidence.

Where can we go to learn more about you?

You can read more about me at

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Hugo Huijer AuthorLinkedIn Logo

Founder of Tracking Happiness, with over 100 interviews and a focus on practical advice, our content extends beyond happiness tracking. Hailing from the Netherlands, I’m a skateboarding enthusiast, marathon runner, and a dedicated data junkie, tracking my happiness for over a decade.

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