Being uncomfortable in certain social situations is a feeling that is all too familiar. Meeting someone, or sometimes the thought of meeting someone new may cause you to close up. More so, giving a presentation or speaking to a room full of people makes palms sweaty and knees weak. Public speaking is not everyone’s favorite, but some can overcome these social situations and uneasiness. Unfortunately, not all people can.
What Do You Need to Know?
For those who have social anxiety disorder, the stress of these situations can be more to handle. It will make you avoid any social contact because what is ‘normal’ to others; small things like simple conversations or eye contact will make someone with social anxiety uncomfortable.
Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia, and is quite a very common mental disorders. If you have social anxiety, you are not alone and there is hope for you. The hardest part is asking for help. There are some ways to know if your social silence has become too much to handle alone, is beyond shyness, and is at the point where you need to seek professional support.
When Does it Occur?
Those who suffer from social anxiety disorder have different experiences. The most common situations are:
• Talking with strangers
• Public speaking
• Making eye contact
• Entering rooms
• Using public washrooms
• Going out to parties
• Eating in front of others
• Attending work and school
• Starting conversations
These situations are not case specific. For instance, giving a speech might not be difficult but attending a party might be unbearable. Or, you could be fine with one-on-one conversations, but not at entering a crowded room.
Everyone dealing with social anxiety has different reasons for avoiding certain situations. Generally, it is an immense fear of:
• People in social situations judging you
• Humiliation or embarrassment, shown by sweating, shaking, or blushing.
• Offending someone by accident
• Becoming the center of attention.
How Does it Make You Feel?
Let me reiterate, the experiences are different for everyone and if you have social anxiety or are in a stressful situation, then you might experience physical symptoms like:
• Rapid heartbeat
• Tense muscles
• Lightheadedness and dizziness
• Diarrhea and stomach problems
• Hard to catch your breath
• An ‘out-of-body’ feeling
These symptoms may occur just before or after an event, and you might spend a long time worrying about it. After the event, you may spend a lot of time and mental energy fretting about how you acted.
Will Your Fear Become Phobia?
There is no specific cause of social anxiety disorder. It is likely that genetics plays a role. If someone in your family has social phobia, then you are at a higher risk of having it too. It is also linked to an overactive amygdala; the area of the brain that controls your response to fear.
Social anxiety disorder arises when one reaches approximately 13 years of age. It is commonly linked to abuse, teasing, or bullying. Quieter/shyer youth are also at a higher risk of being socially anxious adults. This is the same for children who have controlling parents. Health conditions that bring attention to your voice or appearance can trigger social anxiety too.
How Can it Affect My Life?
Social anxiety disorder may keep you from living your life how you truly desire. It causes you to avoid incidents that most people would say is normal. You may even have trouble understanding how other people handle these situations with such ease. When you start avoiding these social situations, your personal relationships will be affected as well.
This can lead to:
• Low self-esteem
• Negative thoughts
• Sensitive to criticism
• Inability to improve poor social skills
How Do I Solve This?
Overcoming social anxiety is like knocking one domino down, only to knock another one down and another. All efforts used to fight the social anxiety will invite more of it.
The fears you experience may seem irrational but that is because there are some tricks to help with social anxiety problems.
What is the Anxiety Trick?
The anxiety trick is you experience discomfort and then get fooled into treating it like danger. See HYPERLINK “http://www.anxietycoach.com/anxietytrick.html” The Anxiety Trick for more.
How Do You Get Tricked?
If you have social phobia then you are getting tricked into believing that you will look more nervous than normal in front of people, and will be humiliated or cast aside by your peers.
In any case, the episodes of fear pass without the disaster you expected. You are more worried about the next episode and the details may be different, but it’s the same anxiety trick.
3 Tips to Your Well-Being
1. Realize that your social anxiety is natural. It is the normal response to perceived trouble-and your body and mind are preparing for it. This is useful because without adrenaline, we cannot perform at our best.
2. Anxiety is not reality. Everyone has their own inner monologue and stream of thoughts that control their mood and energy. Social anxiety feeds on these thoughts and exaggerates danger, attribute negative judgments to others and foreshadow bad consequences.
3. Shift your focus. Social anxiety turns your attention inward. When you start noticing what your body is doing, focus on the task at hand instead. If you are having a conversation, then listen closely to what they are saying. Think about how they feel instead of what to say next.
If you have questions or want more information, please call or email. Using these steps mentioned above, and getting the help of a qualified therapist will give you a solution to having the quality of life you want.
To your good mental health,