Tips to free yourself from social anxiety

Rani feels intense fear and anxiety when he has to meet strangers in his office meetings, speaks in public, while making presentations in board rooms and even having lunch with his friends in a restaurant. He worries more than usual when he has to attend regularly to the meetings, talk with unknown people to the extent that he started avoiding social activities. Until Rahul realized that these feelings of fear and anxiety are overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Rahul is suffering from social anxiety formerly known as social phobia.

What is social anxiety disorder?

Social anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder. A person may feel constant fear or anxiety that he/she may be judged, scrutinized or criticized by others. They think that their activities are constantly watched by others and this gives the feeling that they are the subject of attention. These feelings make a person worry to the extent that they find extremely difficult to speak or perform in social situations like attending a wedding or a party, speaking in board meetings, dating or giving a job interview. Sometimes a person may feel anxious to talk to strangers in public gatherings or even using a restroom in a public place. Eventually he/she may tend to avoid these social situations in the long run. This greatly affects relationships, work life and even affect their self- confidence and self-esteem. Social anxiety is more than shyness. They have this constant worry about doing things which they may think is embarrassing.

Causes of social anxiety

Causes of social anxiety disorder range from genetic influence, environmental factors, influence from a family member with social phobia or a part of the brain activity called amygdala which controls the fear response.

Symptoms include

  1. Blush, sweat or tremble.
  2. Rapid heart rate.
  3. Stomach trouble and diarrhea
  4. Difficulty making eye contact
  5. Dizziness and lightheadedness
  6. Feelings of self-conscious or fear that people will judge them negatively.

Tips to free yourself from social anxiety

Living with social anxiety disorder is overwhelming and can control your life. But the good news is, it can be treatable. You can use these self -help tips to reduce social anxiety before trying other treatments.

  1. The first step is to understand your own feelings of fear, anxiety and distress that social anxiety creates and acknowledging the same, can relieve you from stress. It’s hard to understand and acknowledge the feelings associated with social anxiety though, but everyday understanding and writing or naming the feelings will give a great relief from the stress caused due to social anxiety.
  2. Talking to a person whom you can trust can also help you understand and take control of the behavior associated with social anxiety.
  3. Practicing breathing exercises and meditation can make you feel relaxed and help in reducing social anxiety..
  4. Its good idea to seek professional help when the coping mechanisms get exhausted. You can approach a mental health professional and communicate your concerns with regard to your anxiety. A mental health care provider will help you with counselling sessions and recommend a therapy. There are a number of therapies and medication to treat social anxiety.

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