What is Social Anxiety and How do you Overcome it?

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is the fear of being judged or evaluated negatively by other people in everyday social interactions. It is a chronic condition that can get better with treatment.

A person suffering from social anxiety are mistaken for being:

  • Shy
  • Aloof
  • Withdrawn
  • Quiet
  • Unfriendly

Paradoxically, people with social anxiety want to make friends and want to become part of a group along with other forms of social interaction. However, being held back by the fear of being perceived by others in a negative way can make socializing difficult.

What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety?

A person who suffers from social anxiety can experience different symptoms that include emotional and behavioral symptoms along with physical symptoms and mental symptoms.

Physical Symptoms include: 

Blushing: Blushing is a reddening of your face associated with triggered emotional stress caused by passion, embarrassment, shyness, anger or romantic stimulation. Social anxiety can make your face red.

Trembling and Sweating: Conditions such as anxiety, excitement and frailty can cause an uncontrollable shaking or quivering. Emotive stimuli like stress and anxiety can also cause sweating. Also, the sweating itself can make someone with social anxiety more self-conscious.

Upset Stomach or Nausea: Stress and anxiety can make you feel sick to your stomach with nausea and cramps. In some cases anxiety can lead to a condition called Irritible Bowel Symdrome (IBS).

Trouble Breathing and Dizziness: Anxiety can tighten your muscles including the ones that help you breath. The fear of passing out occurs with shortness of breath and it can make someone feel more anxious than they already are resulting in a panic attack. Being short of breath can cause dizziness and can make someone feel like they’re light headed.

Muscle Tension: Muscles can tense up due to anxiety and it causes feelings of stiffness throughout your body or unexplained pain.

Fast Heartbeat: Feeling anxious can cause an abnormally high heart rate and heart palpitations.

Emotional and Behavioral Symptoms include:

Fear of Being Judged and Embarrassing Yourself: Fear of being judged is a contributor to social anxiety. Have you ever asked someone an embarrassing question and you end up feeling overwhelmed by shame and fear being judged for asking it? This happens a lot with social anxiety disorder.

Intense Fear of Interacting and Talking to Strangers: The fear of judgement can inhibit our ability to interact with strangers. The anticipation of becoming anxious in a social situation with strangers can bring on anxiety.

Fear that Others Will Notice your Physical Symptoms: Whatever your physical symptoms are, whether you’re trembling, sweating or blushing you can become even more anxious from the fear that someone with notice your physical symptoms.

Difficulty with Relationships: Social anxiety makes relationships difficult. All of the what if questions pertaining to whether you’d be judged or the fear of embarrasing yourself in front of a crowd.

Body Image Issues: Being self-conscious about you look can trigger social anxiety. A lot of people who have body image issues due to acne, being overweight, being too skinny, having visible scars can trigger negative self-talk about other people judging you.

Substance Abuse: Substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse is more common in people with anxiety disorders than the general population.

Mental symptoms include:

Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Anxiety is the feeling of fear of what’s to come in the future. A panic attack is an episode of intense fear with physical reactions including sweating, trembling and trouble breathing.

Depression and Low-Self Esteem: Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Along with depression social anxiety can result in low self-esteem, which can lead to a lack of confidence, feeling bad about yourself and can cause trouble with being assertive.

Hyperactive Amygdala: Signals from the emotional brain can overpower the cognitive brain due to a hyperactive amygdala.

What Triggers Social Anxiety and How to Overcome it?

Anxiety and anxiety disorders are complicated. The causes are a combination of factors; including genetics and environmental reasons.

However, there are many triggers that can cause symptoms due to stressful events, emotions and experiences. Anxiety triggers vary from person to person; some people feel anxious due to multiple triggers, but there are others that can feel anxious for no reason at all.

These stressful experiences can include:

  • Stressful Life Events and Social Situations: A lot of stressful life events have the potential to trigger social anxiety including death of a loved one, job loss, divorce, moving, emotional problems, chronic illness or past trauma. Stressful life events can trigger anxiety in social situations due the fear of being judged, the fear of being embarrassed and worst of all the fear of rejection.
  • Caffeine and Diet: Most of us need a cup of coffee to wake us up in the morning. For those who suffer from an anxiety disorder consuming too much caffeine can trigger symptoms or make them worse. Also, diet can trigger anxiety symptoms; certain foods including dairy, fried foods, gluten and processed foods are not recommended for social anxiety suffers.
  • Negative Self Talk and Suicidal Thoughts: Social anxiety can trigger negative self-talk that may limit you from believing in yourself. Also, social anxiety can co-occur with depression and negative self-talk; this can cause someone to have suicidal thoughts. When this happens call a professional immediately.
  • Lack of Sleep: There is a connection between anxiety and lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can cause anxiety, however anxiety itself can cause sleep problems.

How Do You Overcome Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is a chronic lifelong condition and cannot be cured, but with the right treatment it can be overcome.

Ways of overcoming social anxiety include:

  • Work with a Therapist:: Along with self-help it’s important to work with a therapist on how to manage social anxiety through medication, cognitive therapy and setting objective goals. Therapists can also work with you by utilizing holistic treatments including meditation, acupuncture and herbal supplements.
  • CBD oil: CBD oil is great for alleviating anxiety related symptoms, for example anxiety can cause restless leg syndrome and make it difficult to fall asleep. By applying CBD oil you can relieve anxiety related symptoms and get a restful night sleep.
  • Reduce Your Caffeine Intake and Change Your Diet: When you reduce the amount of caffeine you consume and change your diet you’re less likely to experience anxiety symptoms. Your diet should consist of whole grains, proteins, fruits and vegetables.
  • Exposure Therapy: It’s important to get outside your comfort zone and slowly expose yourself to social situations; including crowded places, parties or even traveling to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people.
  • Reframing Your Negative Thoughts: I mentioned in my post “How to Turn Anxiety into a Superpower” that reframing is the process where negative and unhelpful thoughts are replaced with positive and empowering ones.

Have You Ever Dealt with Social Anxiety?

Please Like and Comment!

Also, click below if you are struggling with anxiety, because I’m offering an anxiety expert list that will help you.

8 thoughts on “What is Social Anxiety and How do you Overcome it?

  1. Social anxiety is very common and affects so many people. Having a consistent sleep schedule helps. It can be challenging at first, but try going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. Cutting off caffeine by noon can also help. For me, I have to stop drinking caffeinated beverages in the AM so that I can sleep at night. Find what works for you, and your anxiety should lessen or become more manageable. I find that social anxiety is much worse whenever my general anxiety is heightened.

    1. I have generalized anxiety where I can start feeling anxious for little or no reason. When I was younger social anxiety was a lot worse; when I was growing up I used to be afraid to talk because my voice used to crack so much and sound nasaly. I’m from Massachusetts and we have a distinct accent; combine that with a funny voice and sounding nasaly and you have a receipe for bullying. lol

      1. My voice sounds really hoarse and I do not smoke or anything. I got really sick a few years ago which affected my vocal cords so I never fully recovered from that. It doesn’t stop me from being a chatterbox though. 😂😂

        Unfortunately, there are bullies everywhere. I’ve been bullied growing up too, and it didn’t help that my mother had to rescue me on multiple occasions. I try not to let people get to me because people are gonna judge regardless of what you do. It is impossible to please everyone anyways! If they’re gonna judge you based on what your voice sounds like, then that’s incredibly shallow of them and they aren’t meant to be a part of your tribe anyways. 😏

      2. I was also bullied for having an autistic brother and friends used to abandon me left and right too. I think I might have a touch of PTSD too.

      3. That’s too bad, I am sorry that you were bullied growing up. I feel bad for your brother too; I can’t imagine what kind of treatment he got growing up because he was “different.” A lot of autistic kids are incredibly gifted, and I hope he found his place of belonging in this world as well.

      4. Thank you!! I appreciate that. My brother is writing a book about the history of MGM studios. When I was a kid I also had a strained relationship with my parents, partly due to his autism and he was the youngest in my family too. I also had a little bit of middle child syndrome too, since I was lost in the shuffle and I learned how to be more emotionally independent than the rest of my family. I’m doing better now, but that baggage from childhood lingers on as an anxiety disorder.

      5. Speaking of childhood, I hated mine. I’m an only child and grew up in an isolated place out in the country. I couldn’t just leave he house and walk down the street to a friend’s house. My cousins are older than me, and I often felt left out of a lot of stuff. Being an only child sucks, and I think that you’re really lucky to have siblings. Sure, my childhood has contributed to a lot of my issues, but at the same time, I don’t want to let it define me and my self-worth. That’s good that you are doing better these days and are living in the present rather than the past. 🌺

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close