You have probably heard someone state that they dread social situations or crowds of people. Maybe you’ve fallen victim to uneasiness during social situation as well. Whether clinically diagnosed or an obvious feeling of being uncomfortable in groups … social anxiety has plagued us all at one time or another.
What is social anxiety
According to Dr. Thomas A. Richards of the Social Anxiety Institute, “Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.” Basically, if you feel better alone than you do in a social setting, you may have some form of anxiety in social settings.
Social anxiety disorder — also known as social phobia — is a common, formally diagnosed disorder. It may surprise you that this disorder is the third largest mental health problem in the world. Millions of people internationally suffer from this debilitating and stressful disorder daily, from either a specific social anxiety or from a more generalized anxieties.
Ask yourself: do I have social phobia
Your experience with social anxiety many feel different than everyone else’s account. That being said, generally speaking, someone witnessing anxiety in social settings will commonly experience:
- Increased heartbeat.
- Tense muscles.
- Feeling faint.
- Shortness of breath.
- And even disassociation of the body.
You may begin experiencing these social phobia symptoms at the thought of a gathering, weeks or days before an event, or immediately before a social meeting. However, it is common to dissect your behaviors and the way you perceived others viewing you for a time afterward. This takes a lot of mental energy and can be quite exhausting.
Click here to take a 3-minute social anxiety test to see if you have the characteristics of this malady.
How to deal with social anxiety
You know what it is and what the symptoms are, now we need to know how to get over social anxieties. It is important to remember that professional help is available! Cognitive behavioral therapy and specialized therapists to help treat this disorder can be life-changing. Another cool thing is that there are both inpatient and outpatient treatments to teach you how to overcome social phobia.
The even better news is that there are proactive ways to develop new routines to help ease and conquer your social anxiety. And you can do these within the starting comfort of your own home.
- Reframe your thoughts — When thinking negatively about a social situation, switch is up and focus on the positive. Anytime a bad thought surfaces, immediately replace negative thinking.
- Meditate and be mindful — Take time to sit and reflect during meditation. Smother yourself with affirmations and focus on mantras to uplift your spirits.
- Expose yourself — Take time to control your exposure to your social anxiety. Practice, so to say. Schedule a trip to a local coffee shop by yourself. This will allow you to work on getting the right mindset beforehand. After your venture, make sure you allow yourself comfort time to decompress.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle — Drink water, exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. Having a clean and balanced lifestyle can help cancel out anxieties that are caught by depriving ourselves of natural needs. Avoiding food with caffeine as well as abstaining from drugs and alcohol can be very helpful too.
- Don’t be hard on yourself — Self compassion and self love are so important! You are making strides to get outside of your comfort zone. Well done!