Social anxiety is an unpleasant experience. On the one hand, you might really want to make friends, connect with others, and enjoy yourself when you’re in a group of people. On the other hand, you might feel afraid that someone might reject you, or worse, the whole group might not like you.
These kinds of thoughts are common with social anxiety. And as a result, there are various physical and emotional symptoms that someone might experience.
Symptoms That Can Come With Social Anxiety
- Heart pounding
- Tachycardia (heart racing)
- Overwhelming sensations
- Lump in the throat
- Shakiness in hands, head, knees, or elsewhere in the body
- Blurred vision
- Tightness in the chest
- Pain in the chest
- Ringing in the ears
- Shortness of breath
- Blushing or feeling flushed
- Tingling in the fingers, toes, face
- Depersonalization / Derealization (feeling as though you or your surroundings are not entirely real)
Most human beings reach for something to help themselves feel better when they’re feeling uncomfortable. And there’s no question that the above symptoms can create uneasiness, more anxiety, and fear. When feeling this way in a group of people, some people may go immediately to the bar and grab a drink in order to feel better.
They might reach for alcohol as a way to soothe their emotional, physical, and psychological state.
How Social Anxiety Makes You Feel
One thing you should know is that if you do feel this way, you’re not alone. Social Anxiety Disorder is a real illness. It’s a psychological disorder in which the fear of social situations, specifically fearing judgment and embarrassment in those situations, is excessive. You might be excessively worried about how you look or how you will behave.
You may even attempt to avoid some situations to escape anxiety, rather than enjoying the experience with others. Social anxiety tends to also come within an extreme feeling of self-consciousness and a fear of humiliating oneself.
If your experience of social anxiety is too overwhelming, you may need to get professional assistance in order to learn healthy coping tools to manage your anxiety. You might also need medication to ease your anxious thoughts and experiences.
Steps You Can Take to Help Yourself in Social Situations
Learn and practice relaxation techniques on a regular basis. Once you are familiar with the state of relaxation in yourself, you’ll have a greater ability to relax yourself when faced with a social event.
Become aware of your thoughts and feelings when in the presence of others. Sometimes, your anxiety might come on so quickly that you’re not aware what’s going on inside. However, if you can slow down, see if you can identify thoughts that are making your anxiety worse. Once you become aware of these thoughts and identify them, then you have the power to change them.
Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have these thoughts and anxiety. If you’ve always experienced anxiety while in groups of people, perhaps your imagination can help you with what it would feel like to be comfortable and at ease with other people. Having a sense of what this would be like can help you in future social experiences.
These are tips for easing the experience of social anxiety so that you’re not turning to drugs or alcohol to feel better.
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