Alone Time Doesn’t Really Recharge You
One of the most concrete signs that you may not be an introvert, but instead have social anxiety, is if you find that alone time doesn’t actually recharge you.
“Introverts often feel more energized and recharged after some solitude, whereas with social anxiety, solitude allows the sufferer to feel less anxious than they would in a social situation, but they never really feel better or recharged afterwards,” Albers says. Luckily, Albers also notes that this is totally possible to overcome with treatment and support.
You Feel Like All Eyes Are On You
Have you ever been anxious that everyone is watching you? And not only watching you, but judging you? For introverts, these are common thoughts since most of us dont like to be the center of attention. A common example is not wanting to dance in front of others due to an overwhelming fear that everyone will be watching you and will see what a terrible dancer you are. Anticipatory anxiety is another example, such as if you know you will need to give a presentation at work and you are overly anxious for days, or even weeks, ahead of time.
What Is Social Anxiety
The defining feature of social anxiety disorder is intense anxiety or fear of being judged or rejected in social or public situations. To avoid any negative perceptions, people with social anxiety disorder often try to avoid social situations altogether.
Many of the signs and symptoms of social anxiety are associated with anxiety attacks, which sometimes occur when people with social anxiety find themselves in a feared or stressful situation.
Social anxiety disorder affects around 15 million American adults, which makes it one of the most common anxiety disorders and among the most prevalent mental health disorders. Causes include:
- Inherited traits
- Your brain structure
If you experience social anxiety, youâre not alone. However, it can be difficult to reach out for support. Recognizing the signs and getting treatment can help.
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What Treatments Can Help Social Anxiety Disorder
If you do believe you are suffering from social anxiety disorder, it’s important to seek help, so you can find ways to cope with the disorder and prevent it from impacting your life.
Shamlin says the most common way to treat the disorder is through Cognitive behavioral therapy , which “helps individuals to look at their thoughts about their feared social situations and aids in changing thinking patterns.”
They Want To Be Recognized For Something Other Than Just Their Social Maladaptation
A mental health issue does not define a person it is simply one trait possessed right now. People with this affliction can be intelligent, can be productive, and can have a number of personalities and professional traits that are quite positive. Recognizing and praising these positive traits will show that you see beyond this single negative and can see their value as a whole person.
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What To Do If You’re Suffering From Social Anxiety
Think you could be affected? There are a number of ways to help ease symptoms, including:
CBT therapy: “One of the most effective treatments so far has been cognitive behavioural therapy, which is a collaborative therapy which helps the person suffering from anxiety to explore what maintains the symptoms,” Liz says. “They learn skills to notice the thoughts, to start seeing the thoughts, to question and to challenge them. And ultimately to reframe them, and put them in a different place. In an ideal world, the fear becomes less bad than the sufferer anticipated.”
Guided self-help: Therapy can be costly, but self-help can be effective in managing social anxiety, as recommended by the NHS.
Liz explains: “One of the things I would advise, to take control of your feelings, is to keep a journal. It can be very effective to write about thoughts and experiences, and to see the thoughts written down takes them out of your head and deactivates them. It’s out of your head, so it creates more brain space to work on things that potentially are more positive and effective.
“Relaxation can be helpful as it gives you a sense of doing something for yourself. Start tweaking the mindset a little bit, which says ‘I want to do something for me’.”
Staying active: “Yoga and relaxation will reduce the physical symptoms such as the heart racing, the palpitations, and the trembling,” says Liz.
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Be Aware Of Cognitive Distortions Like Irrational Thoughts
Related to the above, cognitive distortions are irrational thoughts and distorted thinking patterns that influence how you feel. One example that appears often in social anxiety is mind reading, which is assuming the perceptions of others without clear evidence. For example, lets say you walk into a party and the host seems to be more friendly to other guests than to you. Your first thought may be, See, he doesnt even want me here. Why did I even come? Are there facts supporting that statement? Or is that an assumption? Its important to ask yourself this. If the host literally said, I dont want you here this would be a fact. Based on the information in our example, its an assumption.
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Treatment For Social Anxiety Disorder And High Functioning Social Anxiety
People with high-functioning social anxiety are relatively privileged in comparison to those with social anxiety disorder. But they often earned their high-functioning status through hard work, dedicated effort, and an ongoing commitment to treatment, which is an avenue for recovery potentially open to all.
As a starting point,inpatient social anxiety treatment programs in a residential mental health facility gives social anxiety disorder sufferers the best chance for eventual recovery. But inpatient treatment also has much to recommend it for those whove been high-functioning for many years, who often suffer in silence despite outward appearances.
With intensive, round-the-clock treatment services in a fully supportive healing environment, men and women with high-functioning social anxiety can find further relief from their most persistent symptoms, which may remain unpleasant, stress-inducing, and limiting in many ways despite not being fully debilitating.
While there is no cure for social anxiety, when its symptoms are present there is always room for improvement, even if those symptoms havent been a substantial barrier to achievement. Mild-to-moderate social anxiety is still social anxiety, and inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are still appropriate and usually highly effective for those who experience social anxiety in any form or at any level of intensity.
Who Is This Anxiety Quiz For
Below is a list of questions designed for people who are experiencing anxiety-inducing thoughts. The questions relate to life experiences common among people who have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder . If youd like to learn more about anxiety read Psycoms guide, Tell Me All I Need to Know about Anxiety.
Please read each question carefully, and indicate how often you have experienced the same or similar challenges in the past few months.
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What Can I Do About Social Anxiety Disorder
If your social anxiety keeps you from doing things you want or need to do, or from making or keeping friends, you may need treatment.
Talk about your fears and worries with a doctor or therapist who has experience treating social anxiety disorder. They will be able to tell if you have normal social anxiety or if you need treatment.
Who To Talk To First
There are a couple of options for you to take. Many people might go see their general practitioner and discuss treatment options. This is definitely one way to go, although this individual might not be specialized in mental health disorders.
General practitioners are often able to prescribe mental health medication without the individual seeing a psychiatrist or counselor first. This works for some, but its usually best to see someone who is specialized in mental health disorders before you start thinking about treatment.
At the very least, ask your general practitioner to refer you to a counselor in your area. Its also possible to schedule an appointment with a counselor directly and just cut out the middle man.
Sitting down with someone will give you the opportunity to talk for an hour or so about what youre experiencing. Keep in mind that this person is trained to listen and understand the mental difficulties that others are having, so what youre saying probably fits closely with things theyve heard before.
That means you can feel free to describe whats actually going on in your head without judgment. In fact, the more honest you are, the better your odds of getting an accurate diagnosis and better therapy as a result.
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How To Get Over Social Anxiety
Dr. Potter stresses that its important to address your social anxiety, even if this feels difficult since it can have a major impact on your life. It can have subtle negative effects on your career, friendships, dating life, or even family relationships, she says. It can affect you so broadly when you miss opportunities. When a persons isolated, it can lead to depression because you miss opportunities to have a good time or enjoy yourself, and feel connected to other people.
Luckily, Dr. Potter notes that social anxiety is very treatable, although strategies for overcoming social anxiety depend both on your individual personality and how much the disorder is affecting your life. For example, if you have panic attacks when going out in public because you are so overwhelmed, you might opt for medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both. Less severe anxiety might be better served by a different treatment option.
Here are a few other ways to approach getting over social anxiety.
Ask Your Support System For A Helping Hand
It can be embarrassing or humbling to admit to people in your life that youre anxious in social situations and might need help. However, letting a friend or loved one know you might need some extra support can be a major boost. Many times, people are going to feel more comfortable if theyre in a social situation with somebody that theyre close to, Dr. Potter says. Especially if somebody has been fairly isolated in recent times, it can be helpful at first to have a buddy when you go back into a social situation.
The key to this support is helping an anxious person become more independent over time. Eventually, people with more generalized social anxiety will find it uncomfortable to go shopping or order food by themselves, Dr. Potter explains. You want to balance supporting a person and encouraging them to do it themselves.
If youre a friend or family member of somebody anxious in social situations, one way to offer support is to bring them into the conversation. You might be like, Oh, I think Sara has something she would probably like to say on that subject. Shes really interested in that, Dr. Potter says. You can support them by bringing them out of their shells. Before doing that, however, be sure to ask the person if thats OK. If youre a person with social anxiety, you may not like being put on the spot to say something. Talk to that person in advance about how they want to handle certain things.
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Signs Of Social Anxiety
Many people feel shy, nervous, or uncomfortable in certain situations. This is especially common in young children. Your level of comfort in social situations depends on factors like personality and life experiences.
Social anxiety disorder is different in that it includes such high levels of fear, anxiety, and avoidance that it gets in the way of your everyday life. Usually, social anxiety starts when you reach your early to mid-teens, although it can show up in people of other ages as well.
There are various signs and symptoms of social anxiety, all of which fall into three categories: emotional and behavioral signs, physical signs, and social signs. Some of the signs overlap, and many of them may flare up when you’re experiencing added stress.
Emotional and Behavioral Signs
The following emotional and behavioral symptoms may show up in people with social anxiety:
For children, emotional and behavioral signs may include:
- Throwing temper tantrums
- Clinging to parents or guardians
- Refusing to speak to people
- Eating in front of people
- Walking into a room where people are already seated
- Using a public restroom
Do I Have Social Anxiety Or Am I Just Shy
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition in which social interactions cause irrational anxiety. Social anxiety is more than just feeling shy. People with social anxiety have an intense fear of situations where they could be watched, judged, embarrassed, or rejected by others. The symptoms are so extreme that they interfere with the persons daily routine and prevent them from taking part in ordinary activities.
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Get Help If You Need It
Although there is a lot you can do to support yourself, its also okay to ask for help. Talking therapy can help a lot, and if you need it you can also get medication that helps.
Find a counsellor or therapist or a psychologist or a clinical psychologist and talk to your doctor about whether medication would help you. It can be helpful to ask if the health professional is trained in cognitive behaviour therapy, as this is currently the treatment of choice for social anxiety.
Be Accountable To Someone
You may stay in your rut forever if nobody knows you are trying to move past your social anxiety and you are not accountable to anyone. Choose someone you trust , and tell them about your plans to make changes in your life.
This works very much like having an exercise partner the other person keeps you honest and keeps you from giving up when the road seems to hard and long.
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How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. If youd like to learn more about social anxiety disorder read Psycoms guide to Social Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
How Does It Differ From Other Meditation Styles
All meditation styles and practices overlap and build on each other. Their basic foundation is the same: to bring the practitioner insight and introspection.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate, however, the various types of meditation can enhance particular qualities. Based on your personality and needs, one type of meditation may be more useful to you than the other. The 9 types of meditation are:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Loving kindness meditation
- Visualization meditation
Focused meditation, specifically, is the practice of focusing on one single object for the duration of the practice. How this differs from other meditation styles is that it gives the practitioner something tangible to do: focus. Its almost like giving your mind an action to performlisten to this sound, repeat these words, watch this flame, etc. This is also one of the reasons why this particular meditation style is great for beginners!
One of the biggest challenges in any meditation practice is that the mind gets carried away and we lose ourselves to random thoughts. This obstacle is actually a style of meditation in and of itself called Vipassana. However, in focused meditation, we give the mind something to do so that its not simply left to its own devices. This type of meditation is beneficial for beginners and for practitioners who prefer some structure and guidance to their meditations.
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