Anxiety is a persistent feeling of uneasiness, such as feeling worried or being nervous. It’s an expected part of life and can be mild or severe. Everyone has feelings of anxiety at some point in their life as it is a natural response of the human body to stress. For example, you may get nervous and anxious about sitting an exam or giving a speech between a large number of people or giving job interviews. In the US around 40 million adults age 18 or older have complaints of suffering from anxiety which is approximately 18.1% of the population every year and its numbers are increasing every day.
It’s a normal feeling but if you won’t take care of it, it may severely impact on your life by making you very weak and infirm.
Social anxiety comes under the umbrella of phobic disorders where people have irrational fear and avoidance of objects and situations. Social anxiety disorder is fear of humiliation or embarrassment in either general or specific social situations. It is a constant feeling of being judged by the others for e.g., public speaking, stage fright, or urinating in public restrooms. People suffering from social anxiety minimize their social interactions and try to stay at home as much as possible; this much that it starts to affect their life. They find it difficult to leave their house even to go to their jobs or to go grocery shopping.
Following are the four easy steps by which you can control your social anxiety:
This step has proven very effective in battling social anxiety. Just the thought of going out and interacting with someone creates a mess in that person’s mind, whenever the person decides to go out for some work or has to meet someone negative thoughts start entering his mind like “what will she think of my dressing”. The key to fight this chain of thoughts is to go to your happy place or start thinking about the good memories or experiences you have with others.
The second step is very crucial and beneficial in controlling your anxiety. One of the many symptoms of social anxiety is increased heart rate and breathing. Hyperventilation can disturb the balance between Co2 and O2 which can lead to other symptoms of anxiety which is dizziness, feeling of suffocation, and muscle tension.
In this situation what you can do is control your breathing, go to your happy place as mentioned above and take deep breaths, this will reduce your breathing rate and minimize the muscle tension and you will automatically feel very much relaxed and comfortable. This will also secrete dopamine and serotonin in your brain which are mood-elevating hormones.
We know it sounds really stupid that facing something which you are afraid of when you should be avoiding it, avoiding will give you temporary relief but for permanent solution you have to get more exposure to the thing you are afraid of. This technique is called behavioral psychotherapy and it is the most effective of them all for long term solutions. It will produce resistance in you and after some time you will come into terms with it and eventually start liking it, so, go get your fears today and fight them like a brave person you are.
Certain prescribed medications like SSRIs, venlafaxine, buspirone, and benzodiazepines also enable you to cope with the situation but these should only be taken after the consultation with your psychiatrist. Beta-blockers are very helpful in fighting stage fright.