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Strategies for Managing Social Anxiety: Achieving Mental Clarity


Social Anxiety
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Social anxiety isn’t just the occasional nerves or butterflies in your stomach before any big event. Its fear of being judged, and rejected by society leads to the high power of anxiety. It is one of the most common mental health conditions around, and it can creep up on you in all sorts of seemingly ordinary, everyday scenarios making small talk at a party, interacting with strangers, or even eating in front of others. Intense feelings of anxiety and distress in social settings. Although this is treatable, usually with medication and psychotherapy, it is estimated that only 35% of people with social anxiety ever receive treatment.

Usually, social anxiety starts in your early to mid-teens, although it can show up in people of other ages as well. There are various signs and symptoms of social anxiety, all of which fall into three categories: emotional and behavioural signs, physical signs, and social signs.

Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety

  • Fearing situations where you might be judged
  • Afraid of showing physical symptoms such as blushing, trembling, sweating, or an unsteady voice
  • Worrying you will embarrass or humiliate yourself
  • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
  • Avoiding any situation in which you will being the center of attention
  • Getting anxiety in anticipation of an activity or event
  • Fearing people will notice your anxiety
  • Spending significant time analyzing and critiquing the way you acted in a social situation
  • Expecting the worst outcomes from a negative social experience

Causes of Social Anxiety

Environmental Factors

Bullying and Teasing: Experiencing bullying, teasing, or being humiliated, especially during childhood, can heighten social fears and a persistent fear of negative evaluation by others.

Family Dynamics:

  • Overprotective Parenting: Excessively protective parents can limit a child’s opportunities to engage in social interactions, thereby blocking their social skills development and increasing anxiety in social situations.
  • Critical or Dismissive Attitudes: Parents or family members who are highly critical or dismissive can damage a child’s self-esteem and make them more fearful of judgment and rejection from others.

Psychological Factors: Personality traits and cognitive patterns can predispose individuals to social anxiety that includes

  • High Levels of Shyness: Individuals who are naturally shy or inhibited are more likely to develop social anxiety.
  • Perfectionism: The high expectations to perform perfectly in social situations lead to excessive worry about making mistakes.

Strategies to overcome Social Anxiety

  1. Challenge your negative or anxious thoughts: Social anxiety involves negative thinking patterns, like assuming people are judging you. Try to identify patterns and change that negative thoughts into more realistic thoughts.
  2. Focus outward: Instead of being self-focused shift your attention to others. Ask questions, and be an attentive listener. Be active while having conversations with others.
  3. Relaxation techniques: When anxiety hits you, practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation. These can help calm your physical symptoms and make you feel more in control.
  4. Practice social skills: Having social interactions will make us feel less anxious. Joining a laughter club, attending interactive seminars or a group focused on activities you enjoy, or participating in public speaking will make us feel less anxious.
  5. Build self-esteem: Low self-esteem equally contributes to social anxiety. Positive Self-Esteem can help overcome anxieties by appreciating and encouraging one’s achievements.
  6. Seek professional help: If your social anxiety is interfering more in your daily life, a therapist can be a great resource. They can teach you coping mechanisms, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and other ways to manage your anxiety.

By practising relaxation techniques and cultivating positive thoughts in social situations, one can build confidence and feel more comfortable interacting with others. Take professional help from therapists to focus on building self-esteem through healthy habits and activities you enjoy. Overcoming social anxiety opens doors to positive connections and a more satisfying life. The more you face your anxieties, the more you’ll discover the joys of social interaction.





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