Social Anxiety

by admin

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear”
-Mark Twain-

Social interactions can cause many bodily reactions that make us feel uncomfortable, Who has not experienced palpitations or nervousness when exposed in front of an audience? This is perfectly normal. However, when this anxiety becomes extreme fear and these bodily reactions dominate us, we are dealing with a phobia or social anxiety. Those who face this kind of anxiety, usually tend to avoid all kinds of social exposure, such as talking to knew people others, social gatherings or parties,  any interaction can be a source of anxiety.

This disorder is  quite common. Typically develops at an early age, and often tends to be confused with shyness, which is very different, because a shy person usually overcomes fear in a much easier way. Social phobia is much stronger, has a huge component of pressure and fear of being judged negatively, leading those who suffer it to deal with it in ways that are not exactly the most suitable, such as taking too much alcohol or completely avoiding social activities.

It is considered that there are two types of social phobia, generalized, where fears relate to almost all social situations, and focused, in which the sufferer fears specific situations, such as having to speak in public.

People who are aware of their social phobia, they understand that to some extent, their feelings are irrational, yet their symptoms are real, which leads them to add pressure to the feared situations. The symptoms of social anxiety may vary, but often include palpitations, blushing, sweating and trembling hands.

For the social anxiety treatment, people tend to respond very well to cognitive-behavioral therapies. In some cases, professionals may recommend medications, however, like all anxiety disorders, to overcome it, requires a major effort from the person, and medications should be a support for a more general treatment.

To control this phobia, it is recommended to be exposed to the feared situations. It is often advised to try a more radical approach, for example, if we know that when speaking in public, we always start blushing, then, the idea is to try to blush even more, and, by accepting it, we remove the pressure. Often the anxious effort to avoid something, causes more anxiety.

Also, a good exercise to help overcome social anxiety, is to try to practice these situations in our safe place, where we can be relaxed. We can visualize, in our minds, the distressful situation, we see ourselves having our habitual reactions (sweating, palpitations, tremors) but in this scenario we do not care, we accept these bodily reactions, without them affecting us or being embarrassed by them.

Sometimes, it may seem like a long way to recovery, however, as long as we keep on trying to overcome anxiety, every step counts.

For more information on social anxiety, we recommend this sites:

http://www.socialphobia.org/whatis.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_anxiety
http://www.socialanxietysupport.com/
You can also check Barry McDonagh’s advice in his Panic Away Program, because it is a complete guide to help you control and overcome anxiety.

 

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