Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is a long lasting and overwhelming fear of social situations. It can be very distressing and have a negative impact on your life, but there are ways to help you deal with it.
Symptoms of social anxiety
Individuals with social anxiety may:
- Dread everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, shopping
- Worry a lot or avoid social activities such as parties, group conversations, going out to eat
- Always worry about doing something that may be humiliating or embarrassing
- Have difficulty to do things when others are watching
- Avoid eye contact, have low self-esteem and fear
- Have panic attacks (an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety, lasting for a few minutes)
How you can overcome social anxiety
Try the following tips to help overcome your social anxiety:
- Attempt to understand more about your anxiety
Think about what goes through your mind and how you behave in certain social situations to help you get a clearer idea of the problems you want to tackle.
- Face your fears
Many people with social anxiety tend to avoid their fears rather than facing up to them. Facing your fears is always difficult and requires a lot of bravery and determination, but if you want to help overcome your social anxiety, it is something you must do.
- Practice relaxation techniques
If you struggle to feel comfortable in social situations, meditation and exercises like yoga are techniques you can use to help you relax.
- Use breathing exercises
Individuals with social anxiety often find themselves in situations where their panic gets the better of them and they have difficulty breathing. In this situation, one of the best ways to regain control and calm your mind is to just focus on your breathing.
- Use positive affirmations
Instead of engaging in negative thoughts, replace them with positive thoughts. It’s a good idea to see your GP if you think you have social anxiety, especially if it’s having a big impact on your life. Asking for help can be difficult, but your GP is aware that many people struggle with social anxiety and will try to put you at ease.