Are you shy around people? Do you get nervous whenever you’re in a room filled with people? Do you get anxious about meeting with people for the first time? Does the fear of embarrassing yourself prevent you from mixing up with people you’ve never met before? Do you avoid any form of social contact because you feel your words and actions will always be judged and scrutinised?
If your answer is yes to all this questions, then you’re definitely “people-shy” or have got social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, involves intense fear of certain social situations—especially situations that are unfamiliar or in which you feel you’ll be watched or evaluated by others.
Underlying social anxiety disorder or social phobia is the fear of being scrutinized, judged, or embarrassed in public. You may be afraid that people will think badly of you or that you won’t measure up in comparison to others.
Well If you can recognise this symptoms in relation to yourself, don’t despair. Recognising that you’ve got this problem is already the number one solution.
1#. Challenge negative thoughts
The first step is to identify the automatic negative thoughts that underlie your fear of social situations.
The next step is to analyze and challenge them. It helps to ask yourself questions about the negative thoughts. Through this logical evaluation of your negative thoughts, you can gradually replace them with more realistic and positive ways of looking at social situations that trigger your anxiety.
2#. Learn to control your breath
Many changes happen in your body when you become anxious. One of the first changes is that you begin to breathe quickly. Overbreathing throws off the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body—leading to more physical symptoms of anxiety, such as dizziness, a feeling of suffocation, increased heart rate, and muscle tension.
Learning to slow your breathing down can help you bring your physical symptoms of anxiety back under control.
3#. Face your fears
One of the most helpful things you can do to overcome social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is to face the social situations you fear rather than avoid them. Avoidance keeps social anxiety disorder going.
Don’t try to face your biggest fear right away. It’s never a good idea to move too fast, take on too much, or force things. This will backfire and reinforce your anxiety. Be patient.
4#. Build better relationships
Volunteer doing something you enjoy, such as walking dogs in a shelter, or stuffing envelopes for a campaign—anything that will give you an activity to focus on while you are also engaging with a small number of like-minded people.
Work in your communication skills. Good relationships depend on clear, emotionally-intelligent communication. If you find that you have trouble connecting to others, learning the basic skills of emotional intelligence can help.
5#. Change your lifestyle
Avoid or limit caffeine. Coffee, tea, caffeinated soda, energy drinks, and chocolate act as stimulants that increase anxiety symptoms. Drink only in moderation. You may be tempted to drink before a party or other social situation in order to calm your nerves, but alcohol increases your risk of having an anxiety attack.
Quit smoking. Nicotine is a powerful stimulant. Smoking leads to higher, not lower, levels of anxiety. Get adequate sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, you’re more vulnerable to anxiety. Being well rested will help you stay calm in social situations.
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