What Social Anxiety Looks Like and How to Solve It
Social anxiety disorder, also called as ‘social phobia’, is a common problem that many people have. Particularly those who have low self-esteem, are extremely introvert, and have past traumatic issues.
Although many people experience this, this is something that should be resolved immediately, as it can make a big impact on your life.
Knowing the symptoms of social anxiety is very important because most are unaware that they have this disorder.
Here are examples of what social anxiety looks like, and tips on how to overcome them:
Worrying about day-to-day activities
People that have social phobia are worried too much about basic daily activities. This includes engaging in simple conversations, meeting new people, speaking on the phone, ordering food in restaurants, working out in the gym, or shopping. These people get easily anxious when people stare at them.
Resolution: Practice at home on how you should walk and talk outside by recording yourself walking and talking. But make sure you don’t see yourself while recording on your phone/camera. After that, assess what areas you need to improve on in terms of speaking, posture, and movement.
You can also practice in front of the mirror if you like. Whichever works for you is fine. The key is to let your body act normal so you’ll be more comfortable and prepared out there.
Worrying about social activities
At some point, even introverts will encounter social activities as soon as they start going outside. Group conversations, teamwork, and eating with company are usually fears of those who have social anxiety. And because of this, these people try their best to make excuses to avoid gatherings and social events.
Resolution: If you experience this, don’t overwhelm yourself with crowded people. Try engaging in small talks first and don’t force yourself to talk too much. Rather, listen more and observe.
In addition, smaller circle works best. Don’t trust easily and only keep people that brings positive energy to you. Let go of those that tries to destroy your inner peace.
Worrying about doing something embarrassing
People that have social anxiety are worried too much about doing something embarrassing, even if it’s just a normal part of life. Like, sweating, blushing, sneezing, asking for help, and making mistakes.
Moreover, a child that lacks poor care at home may experience low self-esteem, on which they will carry until they grow older. Like parents who scold their children when their grades are failing or when they accidentally broke something at home.
Parents who compare their children to others or laugh when their kids do something embarrassing can also cause social anxiety. All these can lead to a child having social phobia as they grow up, making them more anxious about what they do because they don’t want to feel embarrassed. Children make mistakes and fall down, which are totally normal. Parents should be there to support them, not to criticize them.
Resolution: This may sound harder, but allow yourself to make mistakes and care less about what people think of you. If you need help, try your best to approach someone you feel comfortable with.
Think of the world as a runway. Even models fall on stage, but they get up and walk away comfortably. Be that model until falling becomes a normal part of your life, allowing yourself to get back on your feet whenever needed. Eventually, you’ll overcome your anxiety and your confidence will grow more.
Finding it difficult to show one’s true self
A person that has social phobia feels like they are being judged all the time. But in reality, people don’t seem to bother at all. If you feel this way, know that this issue can have a tremendous effect on your life.
If you’re unable to show your true self because you’re afraid of judgement, you won’t be able to show your skills and potentials. People might get ahead of you, instead of you excelling better than them, because you’re holding back.
Resolution: Always think that successful people never hide their thoughts, skills, or talents. You have a strength in you that other people might not have because each human being is created differently. Use that skill to prosper out there. Take little steps and care less about others’ opinions.
Find a mentor, enroll in different courses, or gradually learn new skills, as these can boost your confidence. And keep yourself busy at all times to prevent anxiety from kicking in. You’ll be surprised at how these little steps can help solve your social anxiety.
Worrying about being criticized
Criticism can be good to some, but not for those who have social anxiety. Criticism may not be agreeable, but often necessary because it serves as a fuel for you to grow and become a better version of yourself.
However, if you have social phobia, you’re worried too much about being criticized. At times, you become extremely aware of how you behave. Also, you always assume that people think badly of you, you always rehearse everything you’ll say in your head before naturally speaking, and you avoid eye contact as much as possible.
Resolution: Always seek for improvement, not for approval. Think that what you’re doing is for your best so that you can slowly overcome your social anxiety.
Try your best not to get too emotional if you’re being criticized. Rather, consider the intention of the criticism and study it so that you’ll learn the areas that you need to improve.
Experiencing panic attacks
Social anxiety can bring panic attacks like sweating, palpitations, and feeling sick. This usually happens for a couple of minutes after you feel an overwhelming sense of social anxiety and fear of doing social activities.
Resolution: If you feel that the social phobia symptoms are kicking in, find a relaxing and quiet place where you can do deep breathing and 3-5 minutes of meditation.
Try establishing morning and evening routine ideas to help calm your mind and body. This will serve as your foundation to allow yourself a few weeks or even a month of process before you overcome social panic attacks.
Social anxiety might tell you to:
- Worry about judgement, criticism, and what other people think of you
- Avoid eye contact and engaging in conversation
- Make excuses to meet people or engage in social activities
- Stay quiet and don’t express your opinions
- Avoid showing your natural self
- The need to please everybody
- Be too cautious of making mistakes
But if you allow yourself to heal, you will:
- Become more confident of yourself
- Care less about what others think
- Have the freedom to speak for yourself and be entitled to your opinion
- Discover more of your potential and skills
- Establish a deeper connection with yourself
- Easily ask questions and help when needed
- Grow genuine and healthy relationships with people
- Become more firm in your decisions and actions