Do you feel anxious in social situations? Take a look at this helpful article from Odenton, MD Life Coach Vance L. to learn about overcoming social anxiety…
So you’re not the life of the party. In fact, you are never seen at the party. You have been called cold, aloof, self-centered, and many other things I’m sure. The truth is, you may have Social Anxiety Disorder. But you are not alone. Social anxiety – sometimes called social phobia – is very real and is pretty common. We’re not talking about the garden variety “I don’t like to speak in from of groups” problem. We are talking about extreme fear with physical and mental symptoms.
Common symptoms are:
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heart
- Excessive self-consciousness
- Upset stomach
And so much more…
According to the ADAA (Anxiety And Depression Association Of America), social anxiety is a problem for 15 million adults. Both men and women are equally affected, and typically start noticing the problem by age 13. Other key findings in a 2007 survey were 36% of people with social phobia waited ten or more years before they sought out help.
What makes social anxiety so problematic for people is that it truly hinders their ability to function in everyday situations. It’s one thing to miss the party, but what happens when you can’t go on a job interview, or have to maintain friendships via the computer, let alone trying to have a relationship? The fear and embarrassment will ultimately take a toll on your life.
Fortunately, you can get help for overcoming social anxiety. Start with addressing your internal dialog. It doesn’t help when we catastrophize (to make things much worse than they are) or personalize (to assume that people are talking about you in a negative way). Start to challenge your thoughts. Ask yourself, “Are people really looking at me?” And then look around. Learn to listen to what is really being said. Not what is going on in your head, but the words you can literally hear.
Another tip for overcoming social anxiety is to learn some relaxation exercises. I’m a big fan of deep breathing. First, because it works. Second, because you can do it anywhere and at anytime. There are countless exercises out there. Research them and find what works best for you. Medication can be a viable option for some people as well. Talk with your doctor to see if it is right for you.
One last word on coping mechanisms. Some people fall prey to the easy socialism that drinking and other high risk behaviors may offer. It’s a trap. It may be a temporary solution, but it will complicate your anxiety and make it so much worse. Not to mention these behaviors often lead to bad judgements. Bad judgements lead to low self-esteem, which leads to increased anxiety.
So forget the party. Work on being a active participant in life. Mind your self-talk. Pay attention to what is really happening. You may just be pleasantly surprised.
Vance L. has been an educator, consultant and Life Coach for 30 years. He currently sees clients and teaches on various subjects ranging from health, relationships to spirituality. Vance holds degrees in counseling and divinity and has worked on both local and national platforms. Book lessons with Vance here!
Photo by Britt-knee