Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is often caused by past experiences in social settings, often starting when you were young. As a means for coping with the painful memories of some social experiences from your past, anxiety arises in your mind…
In the very beginning of your problems with social anxiety, a social event upset you. This event stimulated your central nervous system so much, that ever since it happened, you’ve been behaving in ways that keep you away from letting it happen again. THAT is what causes social phobia.
By treading on eggshells to avoid that uncomfortable stimulation, you’ve accidentally created social anxiety disorder by yourself.
You’ve avoided any situations that seem remotely similar to that first event, and by doing so, you’ve accidentally reprogrammed your mind with SAD. That’s the prognosis for social anxiety.
Why Is This The Cause of
This Disorder Disorder?
Each time you do something, or avoid doing something, your subconscious mind soaks up that behaviour. Your subconscious mind has learnt social anxiety disorder, in the same way that your subconscious mind learns to drive a car – your behaviour taught your subconscious that process.
So, social anxiety disorder is a process stored in your subconscious mind. Your behaviour taught the subconscious this process. The way you’ve learnt social anxiety disorder is by what is known as “operant conditioning”. It’s how we learn everything from walking as a baby, to reading, to driving cars.
This is NOT Your Fault;
Don’t Blame Yourself
When something feels so scary, it is only natural to do what you can to stop it from happening again. Millions of people have fallen down the same trap – me included.
You’re innocent because you did what anybody else would do under the same excruciatingly uncomfortable circumstances.
So, let’s move on from self-blame, and use simple steps to overcome social anxiety, instead.
Above Is THE Cause. But There
Are 4 Things That Made
The Cause Possible
Whilst the paragraphs above show you why you suffer social anxiety, the ones below will tell you about the 4 things that made you behave the way you did.
1. Which of Your Past Experiences Are
Causing Social Anxiety?
Like I said, looking into this is not required for overcoming social anxiety.
Your home environment whilst growing up
Aspects of the way you were raised as a child might have been a cause for experiencing anxiety with people as an adult.
If the people who brought you up were mean to you, this could have negatively stimulated your central nervous system (CNS) enough to start the SAD behavioural process.
Life alongside peers
Especially during high school, there’s a risk that your peers might have done negative stuff to you.
Whether it happened high school or not, there’s a good chance that some people you’ve had to spent time with have done stuff that has negatively stimulated your central nervous system and thus kick-started the social anxiety disorder.
2. Can Aspects of Your Personality Be
No, but certain characteristics
you PRONE to social anxiety disorder. That’s right, there are
personality characteristics that make a person more likely than most,
to struggle with social phobia. So what are they?
Having a very sensitive central nervous system
If your nervous system is more sensitive than most people’s, you’re more likely to get an extremely uncomfortable reaction to negative experiences.
When your reactions are more uncomfortable than most people’s would be it can cause a vicious cycle in your mind.
- You are acting uncomfortably
- This leads you to feel more uncomfortable
- Which leads you act in more ways that lead to discomfort
- And it goes on…
- You must learn how to break the cycle.
Being an introvert
If you thrive on time spent alone, there’s the obvious knock-on effect that you’ll be spending less time with other people, and more time by yourself.
The more time you spend alone, the stronger the social anxiety disorder process can grow.
Excessive time spent
alone is an anxious behaviour that definitely makes SAD worse. This is
because the subconscious learns to believe that if you’re spending less
time with other people, they’re perhaps a threat to you.
Being naturally shy
Shyness is a sense of social carefulness, so by itself it’s a good thing. But for someone trying to recover from social anxiety disorder, shyness can be a hindrance.
Shyness can stop you from going ahead with the non-anxious behaviours that cure social anxiety disorder. The longer you wait for yourself to put the non-anxious behaviour into practice, the greater your subconscious believes “doing this is threatening”.
Essentially, shy people are hesitant, and hesitancy doesn’t help to reprogram the subconscious mind in the way that it needs to be reprogrammed.
3. Reasons Why Society Is A
Cause of Social Anxiety
Certain aspects of the Western society that we live in, are indirectly causing social anxiety. Such circumstances include:
- Dominance is so highly regarded, that people will often bully to feel dominant. Bullying can lead to the ‘victim’ taking up new, anxious behaviour.
- Competitiveness tempts us to compare ourselves to others, which often leads to disappointment and self criticism. You’re more likely to take up SAD-creating behaviours if you’re overly self critical.
- Certain awesome personality traits, like sensitivity , are seen as a weakness in society. People with these traits are often judged weak and bullied.
- Advancing technology allows us less face-to-face interaction. This helps the socially anxious to communicate, yet also practice social phobia-creating behaviours.
|Anything that happens in the world that tempts you into increasing your anxious behaviours, can be a cause for the continuing of this condition.|
4. Are You Using Mental Habits
That Make It Worse?
As you now know, your behaviour is the main cause of social anxiety, but there’s also some common things that could be making it worse…
Thoughts you have that remind you “I’m not good enough” serve to strengthen your anxious behaviours.
We are all hardwired to want to be valued highly by other people. If your thoughts about yourself are negative, or you believe that other people’s thoughts about you will be negative, then you’re more likely to uptake anxious behaviours like excessive “staying home”.
Are “Mental Habits” causing your Social Anxiety?
Such habits perpetuate your social anxiety, making sure it always comes back. They’re based on self-attention. Social anxiety and self attention are closely linked.
Are you accidentally using these negative habits?
Lots of people with social anxiety have a habit of pointing out ways that they don’t fit in, or don’t measure up. Take a quick look at the thoughts below, to see if you tend to do this.
- “Most people have far and away more friends than I do”
- “My grades sucked compared to most people’s”
- “I have a worse job than most people.”
- “I’m smaller than most people”
Why This Thinking
Makes Social phobia Worse
By focusing your attention on thoughts like the above, you create an inferiority about yourself, in comparison to others. This makes you feel inadequate when you’re around others.
Feeling inadequate is uncomfortable, so you then start to behave in anxious ways that allow you to steer clear of that discomfort…
You turn down social opportunities, which reprograms your subconscious mind to think that socializing is even more threatening than it seemed before.
The act of avoiding people when
you had the
opportunity to see them, means your anxiety will come back worse the
next time you do see them.
Traps to watch out for:
Mentally ‘carrying’ other
people’s opinions everywhere you go
By reminding yourself of what that asshole from work called you that time, you bring those feelings of inadequacy into other parts of your life too.
Little mental reminders like that make you want to avoid situations because they make you feel not good enough. Unfortunately, that avoidance is one of the reasons why social phobias become worse.
Trying to guess what people are thinking about you
Attempting to mind-read what people are thinking about you is one of the most common habits. Again, it leads to feelings of inferiority, which can lead to you avoiding anyone who makes you feel inferior. That avoidance worsens social anxiety disorder.
How To Stop Habitual Thoughts From
Making Your Social Phobia Worse
A psychologist or counsellor would ask you to reason with your thoughts. You’d be told to change your stance from self-negative to self-positive. It’s a nice fairytale theory but it doesn’t fully work. Why?
Because despite the positive reasoning, you’re still habitually stuck inside your own mind.
You need to get out of your own head. That’s how you stop the phobia from getting worse.
People who’ve never suffered from this condition set their focus outside of themselves, and that’s what you need to do too for overcome it.