Could I Have Social Anxiety Disorder
Its normal to feel a bit nervous or anxious when you have to give a speech or when youre meeting people for the first time. But with social anxiety disorder, your anxiety is so intense that it affects many parts of your life. It might affect your school or work life, relationships, things you do for fun or your day-to-day life.
These are some other signs you might have social anxiety disorder:
Im scared other people will think Im stupid or strange if I say something wrong
Im scared to do things like join in during meetings at work or discussions at school or give presentations in front of a group of people
When Im in an uncomfortable social situation, I think other people can see how anxious I feel
I go out of my way to avoid social situations that make me anxious, and I dread situations I cant avoid
I drink a lot or use other substances to lower my anxiety before I to go to a social event
If you agree with some or all of the above statements, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor.
What Is Social Anxiety Here Are 8 Tips That Will Help You Overcome It
- Social anxiety, or the fear of being negatively judged by others, employs the bodys natural defenses which are biologically hardwired.
- That said, we can take steps to address the triggers of our social anxiety and, in turn, overcome it.
- An important step is to understand what triggers your social anxiety: which social situations cause your anxiety? Then, you can confront these fears.
- Also, remembering whats important in lifelike the meaningful relationships you maintaincan help to overcome social anxiety.
- Visualization exercises and journaling are also effective: the former helps you feel confident in real social interactions and journaling helps you find perspective.
- You can also overcome social anxiety by outlining a plan for a successful social interaction and practicing mindfulness.
- Finally, exposure therapy, which gradually exposes you to your fear, can help you overcome social anxiety.
Its safe to say that many of us feel uncomfortable in certain social situations. Say, at a party with 100 people, almost all of whom we do not know. Or, when giving an important presentation at work. Or, on a blind date with someone a friend set us up with. Sometimes, though, these situations bring on more than just discomfortthey trigger anxiety.
What Teachers Can Do
The best way to help your student is to be supportive and non-judgmental. You can:
- structure classroom activities and small groups so anxious students are not left out assign partners for paired activities
- assign a classroom buddy to provide support
- offer to help a student rehearse if they need to give a report in class
- encourage students to participate to the extent that they are able
- be patient and positive as students learn ways to cope
- make relaxation skills part of your classroom routine this can be as simple as inviting students to take a few calm, slow breaths.
- encourage anxious students to try to speak for themselves, when they can, rather than speaking for them
- identify a quiet place a student can go to if they feel overwhelmed
- encourage attendance, which may require shortened school days and modified class schedules
- meet regularly with parents, counselors, and school staff to discuss the student’s progress and best ways to help them.
Read Also: Can You Be Hospitalized For Severe Anxiety
What Makes You Anxious
Because anxiety is a type of fear, the things weve described about fear above are also true for anxiety.
The word anxiety tends to be used to describe worry, or when fear is nagging and persists over time. It is used when the fear is about something in the future rather than what is happening right now.
Anxiety is a word often used by health professionals when theyre describing persistent fear. The ways that you feel when youre frightened and anxious are very similar, as the basic emotion is the same.
Join A Support Group For Social Anxiety
Oftentimes, people who suffer from mental disorders feel isolated, misunderstood, and abandoned. However, social groups catered to people with similar issues or backgrounds can make sufferers feel like they belong somewhere, and that people do understand what theyre going through. Research local or maybe even your areas Chamber of Commerce website for more information.
Also Check: How To Deal With Teenage Anxiety
Strategy : Process The World From The Inside Out
People who struggle with social anxiety are often concerned about negative thoughts, judgments, comments, intentions of the people around them.
Trying to know what is inside of other peoples minds can lead to unhealthy patterns of thought like catastrophizing, personalizing, fortune-telling, and mind-reading.
These things often have one thing in common.
People with social anxiety think that if they knew for sure that the people around them really accepted them, their anxiety would go away.
But why would acceptance resolve anxiety?
Many times the anxious person believes that if they are accepted by others, they must be acceptable as a person.
This is to say that some people with anxiety look to other people to tell them who they are.
This is an unhelpful way of thinking.
When you look to others to tell you who you are, you are asking people on the outside to tell you who you are on the inside.
Well call this Outside-In Defining.
Outside-In Defining is a real problem because as soon as anyone decides they dont like you, you consider yourself an unlikeable person.
When someone thinks you failed at something, then you think you must be a failure.
According to this way of thinking, at any moment one persons negative assessment of you would forever make you a weirdo, a failure, worthless, or stupid.
No wonder social anxiety is out of control.
So whats the solution?
Accept the Motto: What other people think of me is none of my business
Lets Apply It:
Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger
Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.
Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!
The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.
Recommended Reading: What To Drink For Anxiety
What Is Social Phobia
It’s natural to feel self-conscious, nervous, or shy in front of others at times. Most people get through these moments when they need to. But for some, the anxiety that goes with feeling shy or self-conscious can be extreme.
When people feel so self-conscious and anxious that it prevents them from speaking up or socializing most of the time, it’s probably more than shyness. It may be an anxiety condition called social phobia .
A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Approach
- Cognitive behavioraltherapy has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for social anxiety.
- Among other steps, CBT prescribes challenging anxious thoughts, and specifically tracking whether one’s catastrophic predictions about social encounters actually hold true in real life, as a way of realizing that they generally don’t.
- After an encounter, socially anxious people should congratulate themselves for facing their fears rather than criticizing their performance in post-mortems.
If you find yourself inhibited and anxious in a variety of social situations and you fear that people will see your anxiety and that you will feel humiliated, then you may suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder. Many people with this problem will choose to avoid situations where they anticipate being anxious or they may use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate before entering these situations. Social anxiety is associated with increased risk for alcohol abuse, depression, loneliness, decreased occupational advancement, and the increased likelihood of remaining single. You can complete the Leibowitz Social Anxiety Scale and find out if you have symptoms that might indicate social anxiety.
The good news is that you can do something about it.
Read Also: How Long Can Anxiety Last
How Social Anxiety Can Impact On Your Life
Social anxiety can impact on people in different ways. Some people will find all social situations stressful while for others the fear only kicks in when they have to do something in public. This leads them to avoid situations such as public speaking, or going on nights out where they may be in social situations.
Social anxiety can have a big impact on sufferers lives as they spend their life worrying about events coming up and how they can avoid them.
When in social situations the person can experience many uncomfortable physical symptoms of anxiety. These include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- A sense of feeling constantly on edge
- Physical symptoms like headaches, butterflies in your stomach, blushing, sweaty hands, high blood pressure, dizziness, breathing heavily, feeling faint, sweating
If youre struggling with social anxiety youre not alone. It is an extremely common problem.
Make One Little Change
Sometimes we can get caught up thinking that the changes that we need to make to get out of a rut need to be big. Make one little change and see if it has ripple effects in your life.
The change could be as small as watching the news every evening to keep up on current events and have more to say during small talk.
Read Also: Does Acupuncture Work For Anxiety
Tip : Focus On Others Not Yourself
When were in a social situation that makes us nervous, many of us tend to get caught up in our anxious thoughts and feelings. You may be convinced that everyone is looking at you and judging you. Your focus is on your bodily sensations, hoping that by paying extra close attention you can better control them. But this excessive self-focus just makes you more aware of how nervous youre feeling, triggering even more anxiety! It also prevents you from fully concentrating on the conversations around you or the performance youre giving.
Switching from an internal to an external focus can go a long way toward reducing social anxiety. This is easier said than done, but you cant pay attention to two things at once. The more you concentrate on whats happening around you, the less youll be affected by anxiety.
Focus your attention on other people, but not on what theyre thinking of you! Instead, do your best to engage them and make a genuine connection.
Remember that anxiety isnt as visible as you think. And even if someone notices that youre nervous, that doesnt mean theyll think badly of you. Chances are other people are feeling just as nervous as youor have done in the past.
Really listen to what is being said not to your own negative thoughts.
Focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about what youre going to say or beating yourself up for a flub thats already passed.
Avoid Focusing Your Attention Inward As Often
As you may have heard before, we are our own worst critics. We analyze ourselves more than other people ever will. Thus, we create a lot of anxiety in our heads about how we appear to others. Some might call this hyper-analyzing, and it can become a very toxic practice if you make it a habit. To free yourself from these incessant thoughts, try to instead shift your focus to your current environment.
Listen to others fully when they speak to you, instead of wondering what you will say or fearing how you look or sound to others. Notice the color of the paint on the walls. Or observe how the smiles on others faces brighten up the room. Taking the attention off yourself for a while doesnt mean that you dont matter. Instead, it just gives you a chance to take in the entirety of a situation, rather than just your role in that situation.
These practices allow you to embrace the full experience of life instead of just a fraction of it spent inside your mind. Enjoy the life awaiting you with open, loving arms. You are valuable and deserve to live it!
Recommended Reading: What Does It Feel Like To Have Anxiety Attack
Simple Steps To Feeling More Socially Confident
Social anxiety disorder is often misunderstood, and many people could be suffering in silence. Its much more than feeling shy and not wanting to speak up in big groups. It can really take control and impede your everyday life. Anxiety Care UK states that social anxiety is a common and distressing condition, with as many as 40 percent of the population suffering from it.
Young People With Social Anxiety
Experiencing social anxiety and fear of social interactions can make simple responsibilities almost impossible to overcome. An estimated 15 million American adults have social anxiety, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, with young adolescents who are transitioning to secondary school or college being particularly vulnerable. Its suggested that social anxiety disorder symptoms usually begin around the age of 13.
The good news is that there are ways to develop new habits to help ease and overcome your social anxiety.
1. Challenge your negative and anxious thoughts. At times it may feel like theres nothing you can do about the way you feel and how you think. In reality, though, there are a number of things that can help.
4. Create an exposure hierarchy. Identify and rate how each social situation makes you feel in terms of anxiousness. For example, 0 would mean no anxiety, and 10 would be a full-blown panic attack.
Take The Focus Off Yourself
Try shifting your attention to whatâs happening around you instead of whatâs inside your head. You can do this by really listening to the conversation thatâs happening or reminding yourself that other people probably canât tell how anxious you are just by looking at you. People appreciate when others act genuine and interested, so focus on being present and a good listener.
Also Check: Can I Get Disability For Depression And Anxiety
Start Staying Hi To A Neighbor
Do you scurry for your door every time your neighbor appears? Next time, try to make a concerted effort to say hello, wave, and be friendly. Although this might feel out of character and anxiety-provoking at first, over time this new habit will become second nature.
If you are feeling really bold, try a behavioral experiment: Invite your neighbor over for coffee at a time when she is clearly busy. Seek out rejection and learn that it is not so bad! At some point down the road, you might even find you have made a friend out of a neighbor.