Have you ever felt uncomfortable or filled with fear in a social situation? Have you cancelled your plans at the end moment because you don’t want to see many faces at one party? Felt extremely nervous before giving a presentation in front of the entire class?
Social Phobia, also called Social Anxiety disorder is one of the mental disorders, where you feel completely stressed in social situations, because it would feel a lot to handle. You might end up avoiding any eye contact, sweating extremely and feeling uncomfortable in your skin. This would affect your social life, but would have a direct impact on all your other aspects of life as well.
If you’re someone who has Social Anxiety, you might experience it in different ways, but here are some things that you might have an issue with, for example ~ making eye contact, using public washrooms, initiating a conversation, talking to strangers, going to parties and so on.
What are some physical symptoms of Social Anxiety?
- Muscle tension
- Rapid heartbeat
- Feeling light headed
- Inability to catch breath
- Stomach issues
You may start feeling anxious before any event, or you might end up worrying about it. And it doesn’t stop there… you might also over-analyse and overthink the way you must have acted or said a particular thing.
Some tips for people who live with social anxiety
- Monitor your breathing
If you’re at a party and you start feeling anxious around people, you will notice a change in your breathing pattern. For example, you might breathe heavily, which can make you feel even more uncomfortable and anxious about the same! The best thing to deal with this is :
- Sit down in a comfortable situation
- Try to relax your shoulders
- Place one palm on your cheat and the other on your stomach
- Now try breathing in through your nostrils for 4 seconds, hold for 2 seconds and exhale for 6 seconds
Repeat this a few times till you feel better
- Try exercising
Researchers have shown that jogging can help reduce anxiety. It can distract you from the current scenario and focus on the road, to be more present and enjoy the cool breeze while jogging! Yoga is another amazing way of helping yourself calm down as it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure as well.
- Try preparing yourself for an upcoming event
Try planning or going through the events before actually visiting a new place! You might feel the urge to avoid these situations but try to help yourself navigate, anticipate and prepare yourself for what’s coming ahead and also help you feel more confident!
- Take the focus off of yourself
In situations like this, it can be a huge task trying to not worry about what’s going on in your head. So instead, try thinking of things that are around you, in order to distract yourself from what’s going on inside. Once this works out, maybe try revisiting the situation in a more calm way in order to help you analyse, what could have been avoided or what could have been done better!
- Try using your senses
Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are your senses that can help you calm down in the moment. For example, looking at a particular photograph, smelling a particular scent or holding your nearest object can help you feel more present.
- Avoid having negative conversations with yourself
When you hit rock bottom, the voices that are the strongest are ours! Our voices can end up making us misread or misinterpret a particular social situation and make us fall in a loop of overthinking. In situations like this, grab a pen and paper ~ think of all the negative thoughts that you’ve encountered in a situation, write them down and flush them down the toilet! In other words, get rid of all that negativity and by the time you know, you’re already feeling better about the situation!
It may not be as easy to seek help for a condition like Social Anxiety Disorder, it can prevent you from sharing how you truly feel with people.. it definitely isn’t easy! But if you’re at a point where things genuinely escalate, you should reach out to a mental health professional. Stay safe and take the first time, no matter how difficult it sounds, it always gets easier with time!