Social anxiety is more than just getting nervous before giving a speech or speaking in an interview. Well, obviously people with the condition find it extremely difficult to deal with the two situations. Social anxiety is about getting frequently anxious when around people, and avoiding socializing to the extent where you fear that not doing so will trigger your nervousness.
A simple way to understand what it really is, to imagine someone exhibiting signs of an anxiety attack. The only difference will be that the attack will take place amidst social circumstances.
People who are diagnosed with this mental illness may find their every day to day tasks impeded especially when the activity involves interacting with others. That being said there are fortunately ways to overcome social anxiety. Although, consulting a therapist is the best available option however certain amendments in your behaviour may also be of some benefit.
Causes & Symptoms
Like said earlier, occasional nervousness does not really mean you have social anxiety. People, who possess the symptoms find their everyday behaviour interfered to the extent where any simple task may seem too arduous. Consider it this way. Say you have an interview scheduled two weeks from now. To get jitters at times would appear to be fine for medical scientists. However, if you start worrying weeks from the scheduled and time and this has occupied your train of thoughts, then chances are you have social anxiety.
A serious form of the condition will lead you to be fearful and anxious in nearly all social situations. However, for others, symptoms may be triggered due to a certain situation. A list of a few common triggers are as follows:
- Interacting with new people
- Trying to be the centre of attention
- Being invited for a date
- Performing in public
- Calling someone on phone/video
- Sitting down for an exam
On the other hand, emotional and physical signs of social anxiety as identified by psychologists are:
- Fear of being embarrassed and disappointing others
- Fear of judgement
- Being extremely self-conscious
- Red face
- Feeling short of breath
- Loss of appetite
How to Overcome Social Anxiety
There are a few essential guidelines you need to keep in mind if you want to overcome social anxiety. First and foremost, realize that there is no one way of treating the condition. The treatment therapy may require you to challenge your mentality and change your cognitive thinking pattern. Then again as mentioned at the start of the article, a professional therapist is possibly in the best position to guide you about your illness.
Having said all of that here are some useful steps you can adopt to counter social anxiety.
Step 1: Try tracing your negative thought pattern and the fears that underpin your social anxiety: What is it that is making you feel anxious? Is it a presentation you have next week or a job interview?
Step 2: Analyze these thoughts: Perhaps pen them down for better comprehension and ask yourself questions: What is it that you feel will happen?
Step 3: Answer the questions you wrote in Step 2 by noting down the worst possible case scenario: “Do I know for certain that I will mess things up?” “What is the worst that can happen.”
Here are some additional tips that may aid in your cause.
- Breathing Exercise
- Mindful Thinking: Cost/Benefit Analysis