Social Anxiety is the fear of being scrutinized, judged, or embarrassed in public. Nearly everyone feels shy or nervous around certain social environments, social anxiety is where this shyness or nervousness is taken to the extreme.
It is estimated 7% of American Adults suffer from social anxiety, with majority of cases starting in the teenage years. Social Anxiety can last a couple of years to a lifetime depending on the case.
Social Anxiety can be caused by a number of factors including: genetics, brain structure or even the environment you are in.
Studies have shown that Social Anxiety can be caused by genetics. Where if one of your parents suffer from Social Anxiety you are too.
Brain scans have shown that people who suffer from social anxiety disorder suffer from hyperactivity in the fight or flight area of the brain called the ‘amygdala’. This area is being activated without need.
Social Anxiety can also be caused by the environment that you are in. The reasoning for this can vary from person to person but here are some examples:
- Talking to strangers
- Speaking in public
- Making eye contact
- Entering rooms
- Using public restrooms
- Going to parties
- Eating in front of other people
- Going to school or work
- Starting conversations
Ways to Reduce Social Anxiety
While these methods can’t guaranteed to remove social anxiety as each person is different, they are all worth a try to see if it works for you.
A reflective journal is a great place to write down some of your day’s biggest thoughts. Reflective journals are one of the most common therapeutic ways to reflect on your experiences, getting everything down on paper can give you a different perspective on life. Reflective journaling can be helpful with dealing with anxiety for this very reason. Getting your thoughts out of your head can allow you see things in a new light, relieving anxiety. This tool can be important to helping you improve your life, but with every tool, practice makes perfect!
Download Comh for free now to try reflective journaling yourself.
Thinking about what might happen at an event is the first step to reflecting once the event is done. What might be a challenge at the event? What can past experiences teach you on how to be fully prepared for the event? Use previously reflected on experiences to do things that will help you prepare for the event.
Now is the time to take the preparation and put it into practice. Are the challenges what you expected? What challenges can you be prepared for the next time? What can you do to make the experience successful?
Get your thoughts from before and after the event down on paper. Try to do this as soon as you can after an event so you remember it but allow time for yourself to be emotionally distant so you can use reflective journaling to its full potential. What were your key takeaways that will help you to prepare and make the event a success the next time?
3. Control Your Breathing
Learning to breathe in deep down to the lowest part of your lungs and breathing out slowly can help reduce anxiety. Follow this guide to learn how, this can be done alone so you learn the technique first:
- Try to completely relax your muscles with both feet on the ground
- Put your left hand on your stomach and right hand on your chest
- Breathe in through your nose so that your left-hand goes up and your right-hand remains still.
- Count slowly to five as you breathe out.
- Repeat 5-10 times
Using these techniques you should be able to reduce social anxiety and become a more outgoing, friendly person.