If you’re suffering from social anxiety or phobias relating to social gatherings and events, then here’s the 7 top symptoms and how to overcome them.
Symptom 1: Fear
The Sensation of Fear
Let’s be honest, anxiety symptoms feel frightening. To have survival-related sensations and feelings like that release themselves when you’re just socializing…it feels scary.
It’s normal to be scared. We’re all human, and there’s something that scares us all.
Having survival instincts kicking in at the wrong time would be enough to scare most people.
If you feel scared when you’re around others, given what you’re going through, it’s totally understandable.
Knowing that it’s understandable should help you to feel a bit more friendly/positive towards yourself – and you’re going to need ‘you’ on your side, for overcoming social anxiety.
Symptom 2: Nervousness
When socializing makes you feel so scared, it’s natural to be nervous about it. You might start to feel nervous about screwing something up (like knocking a drink over), because if you did, the anxiety would be excruciating.
It’s normal to feel this way if you’ve got social anxiety disorder. You’re not alone; don’t be tempted into thinking you’re the only one. More people have this problem than you might realise.
You can limit nervousness’s effects on you by eating and drinking products that don’t encourage nervous or anxious behaviour.
Symptom 3: Paranoia
Many people with social phobia feel like others are looking at them more than they really are. This sense of paranoia is part of a self-conscious mental habit. Like all habits, you can get rid of it if you really want.
Try this technique to reduce paranoia
Pick someone in your environment who is doing roughly the same thing you’re doing.
Focus on them, and look around, to see how much others are looking at this specific person.
Probably not much? Well, that’s how much people are focusing on you too; not much.
People are far too wrapped up in themselves to give you or anyone else more than sparing attention.
Symptom 4: Flight
Overcoming the desire to escape
Especially when approaching a panic attack, it can feel really tempting to ‘leg it’.
If you do run, or leave wherever it is you are, remember this: By leaving, you’re strengthening your subconscious’s view that that situation is dangerous.
Do you really want to reinforce that belief further?
I used to want to escape a lot. I
found that 2
1. Take short breaths in, and long breaths out
2. Try to concentrate on something in your surrounding environment. Just notice how real it is, the texture of it, think about where it came from.
Why do this? Because your focus has gotten so far into your own head, that you need a direct antidote, and the antidote to internal focus, is external focus.
Be safe in the knowledge that social anxiety attacks always subside, and also tell yourself that panic attacks are ultimately harmless – because honestly, they are harmless.
Symptom 5: Guilt & Shame
Help with feelings of shame
When it seems as if you’re the only one who gets these anxieties, you can actually slip into thoughts and feelings of being ashamed or guilty about it. “I must be bad person to feel this way!”
It can appear that nobody else around you suffers from these uncomfortable social phobia symptoms, which makes it easy to think “if it’s just me with this, then there must be something wrong with me”.
There are 2 types of shame to deal with:
1. Internal shame: When you feel like something’s wrong with you, your opinion of yourself drops. This is what internal shame is; a lowly view of oneself.
2. External shame: This is how you believe you exist, in the minds of other people. If you believe that other people think that ‘you don’t measure up’, then that can be considered as external shame.
I wrote a social anxiety disorder self help article about overcoming shame.
Symptom 6: Loneliness
Help with feelings of loneliness
It can feel really lonely when you’ve got social phobia. If something makes you feel so awkward, the natural thing to do is avoid any stimulant of that awkwardness…so, you start avoiding socializing, and the knock on effect of that is being alone much of the time.
Obviously, the only way to overcome it is to see more of people, but that involves feeling anxiety again. I can tell you that in the long run, it’s easier to face the anxiety than to experience loneliness.
Symptom 7: Depression
Help with feeling depressed
I believe that it’s the feelings of loneliness that lead to depression. However, regardless of what causes depression in people who have social anxiety disorder, it happens in so many that it cannot be coincidence.
To be happy, people need to feel connected to others. You can’t be a happy person without having positive relationships with other people. Intense social anxiety makes forming and keeping such connections to be overly hard work.
Thus, I’m pretty sure that the main reason for depression in people with social phobia, is that their anxiety has blocked off their ability to form the connections that would make them happy.
The Emotional Symptoms of Social
Phobia CAN Be Eliminated!
Of all the symptoms, it’s the emotional ones that need to be stamped out more than any other. Why?
Because there’s nothing more important in this world than how you feel. Nothing. Which is why I’m so pleased that the negative emotions brought on by social anxiety can die out.
If you take the steps required for overcoming social anxiety, you’ll find that you feel more and more comfortable about mixing with people.
When that happens, comfort replaces fear, paranoia and nervousness, whilst pride replaces shame. Contentedness replaces loneliness, and joy steps in in place of depression. It’s so much more possible than you might currently believe.
PLEASE NOTE! That optimism is not coming from a doctor who’s felt about as much SA in his life as a pebble; it’s coming from me, a successfully recovered social phobic. There IS a LOT of hope for you. Or I wouldn’t have spent so much time developing this site.