What is Social Anxiety?
Social Anxiety Disorder is an excessive fear of being judged or scrutinized by others in social settings. It can also extend to the workplace, where someone might be too afraid to speak up in a meeting or give a presentation. In addition, meeting new people and other social interactions can make someone with this disorder feel extremely uncomfortable.
How to Know If You Have Social Anxiety
Do you often find yourself avoiding social situations? Do you feel like your anxiety is impacting your daily life? If so, you may be struggling with social anxiety. Symptoms of this condition also include:
- Fear of meeting new people
- Feeling self-conscious in front of other people
- Fear of being the center of attention
- Rapid heartbeat, sweating or trembling when around others
- Avoiding eye contact
- Having a shaky voice
If these symptoms sound familiar to you, it may mean that you are suffering from social anxiety disorder.
7 Tips for Overcoming Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be debilitating, but fortunately, there are ways to manage it on your own. Here are a few tips to help steer you in the right direction:
1. Set Small Goals
Overcoming social anxiety can feel overwhelming, but sometimes just setting one goal is enough. For example, if meeting new people makes you nervous, set a goal to introduce yourself to one person next week. This small goal is something that’s achievable and can lead to bigger goals later on.
2. Identify Your Triggers
Not everyone with a social anxiety disorder experiences the same symptoms or feels anxious in all situations. Try to identify a few everyday situations that trigger your anxiety, and plan how to cope when these situations arise. For example, if talking on the phone makes you anxious, practice calling a friend or family member.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask your friends or family for help. They may be able to help you plan how to overcome social anxiety or be able to support you in the moment. Don’t underestimate the power of a good support system!
4. Practice Relaxation Techniques
When you feel anxious, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This means that your heart rate increases, and your muscles become tense. By having a relaxation routine, you can help calm your body during times of anxiety. Try these relaxation techniques next time you are feeling anxious:
- Breathe deeply for five minutes, focus on inhaling and exhaling slowly
- Massage your temples or use a relaxation ball
- Stretch your body out
- Play calming music
- Sip on chamomile tea
5. Challenge Your Thoughts
If you’re struggling with social anxiety, your thoughts are likely telling you that everything will go wrong or that others are judging you. Try challenging these thoughts by looking at the situation objectively, and remember all of your positive qualities. Tell yourself all the good things that could happen rather than all the bad.
6. Use a Friend as an “Anchor”
A lot of social anxiety comes from feeling insecure about yourself. A great way to combat this is by having a friend you can rely on. This person can act as an “anchor” and help ground you in social situations. Having a friend in social settings can make you feel more confident and reduce your anxiety, especially when meeting new people.
7. Face Your Fears
While this might be easier said than done, facing your fears is crucial in overcoming social anxiety. This means putting yourself in situations you fear and learning to tolerate the discomfort. By slowly facing your fears, you will eventually find that they aren’t as bad as you thought! Remember to start small and challenge yourself more as you progress.
Treatment for Social Anxiety
If self-help measures don’t seem to be working, it’s time to seek professional help. Treatment options for people with this disorder include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Therapy is an excellent option for those who want to explore the root of their social anxiety and learn coping mechanisms. Having someone to talk to about your mental health is beneficial, and a therapist can help you learn more about overcoming social anxiety.
If your symptoms are severe, your therapist may suggest medication to help ease your symptoms. Typical medications include antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, otherwise known as SSRIs.
In addition to therapy and medication, you can also make several lifestyle changes that may help reduce your social and overall anxiety.
Some of these changes include:
- Exercising regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake
These are just a few suggestions, so be sure to talk to your therapist or doctor about what changes may work best for you.
Contact Mile High Psychiatry
Mile High Psychiatry is dedicated to helping you find simple and effective ways to become the best version of yourself. We specialize in overcoming various mental health conditions, including social anxiety.
If you or a loved one is struggling with social anxiety, please contact us today to find out how Mile High Psychiatry can help. Call (855) 586-5525 or request an appointment and be on your way to overcoming social anxiety.