Social Anxiety: What Is It?
In its broadest sense, social anxiety is a psychological disorder which plagues millions of people around the world. It is often categorised along the lines of other psychological problems, such as depression.
As the name suggests, this disorder is experienced during various social encounters. For instance, a person who feels anxious whenever they need to speak or perform in a crowd may be experiencing social anxiety. Another is when a person feels irrationally anxious whenever they mingle with other people, like being introduced to new people or joining social encounters. Now, some may dismiss these things as normal reactions when you put nervousness into consideration. However, there is a need to go deeper into what social anxiety is, in order to differentiate from other normal anxiety problems.
Not all anxiousness are negative. In fact, anxiety is good as it can help prepare us for any danger that may be present. For instance, anxiety helps to raise your heartbeat and adrenaline, which are important whenever you are put in a fight-or-flight situation.
In social anxiety, your anxiousness can be driven by irrational fears and thoughts. For instance, it is normal to feel nervous when asked to sing in front of an audience if you’re not used to it. However, when you still feel nervous while being watched as you work, thinking that you are being judged and scrutinised, then that is where irrational anxiety steps in. In addition, if you exhibit unusual physical symptoms when in simple situations such as meeting a new person, then this can be linked to social anxiety. These physical symptoms can include excessive sweating, stuttering, uncontrollable trembling or twitching of facial muscles.
The above symptoms may seem simple and harmless, and something that most people like introverts can live with. When not properly diagnosed and treated, social anxiety can lead to serious problems. These can include but are not limited to excessive worrying, inferiority complex, and even depression.
Getting through Social Anxiety
As was mentioned, anxiety is not always a bad thing, provided that it is within sense and reason. Having said that, when anxiety begins getting in the way of your day to day activities, that is when it becomes a problem. In the case of social anxiety, it can get in the way of you building successful social relationships with other people.
Anxiety is normal, and therefore, you cannot totally eliminate social anxiety from your life – but what you can do is to manage it.
In the words of self help author and motivational speaker, Wayne Dyer –
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. “
By managing your irrational fears and thoughts, you would be able to control your feelings of anxiousness when placed in social situations.
There are many different treatments available to help people suffering from this psychological disorder, from simple meditation and breathing exercise, undergoing cognitive therapy, or even joining a social anxiety therapy group.
Social anxiety, when viewed from the outside, seems like a simple problem of nervousness and shyness. However, when viewed from the eyes of the person suffering, it can be a very disturbing disorder that can affect their social life completely.