Social anxiety, also referred to as social phobia, can be a condition that is very difficult to deal with. We can’t go through a day, or even a week without interacting with another individual; this is from popping on the grocery store to stock up your fridge and pantry, going to work or school, while struggling with social aspects of your life. 

As a result, this leads a person to feel sad and isolated from the world. And with the pandemic, there have been restrictions on proper social life, thus making it hard for people to interact. Many people who are outwardly extroverts may have a difficult time being all alone cooped up in their apartments with no one to talk to or interact with. 

We all have some level of social anxiety. Still, if you feel incredibly terrified to deal with social situations or feel it is too stressful to handle, you need to take the necessary steps to control your life. In this regard, let’s better understand social anxiety.

The Cause of Social Anxiety

The good news is, you’re not the only one dealing with this situation, especially with the pandemic hovering over our heads. But to reclaim your life back, you need to understand what causes it; these are some of the common triggers.

– Making some small talk with a stranger, maybe in the grocery store waiting in line.

– Meeting new people when at a gathering.

– Performing on stage or doing some public speaking.

– Being criticised or teased by your peers, this might be in the office, school, or hanging out.

– Going on a date and getting personal and intimate.

– Picking up a phone call, or even taking exams

These are some of the common triggers, and it could start as early as teenage hood; thus, if it is not addressed early on, it could progress and become a more significant issue. Many fail to realise that social anxiety can lead to difficult life situations in both your personal and professional life. 

Fear of getting along with the friends of your partner or not being able to hang around your office colleagues is what people with social anxiety might experience. Understanding that you have an issue and finding out ways and means to address the same will allow you to better handle situations when they present themselves. 

How to Handle Social Anxiety

Most people who suffer from social anxiety have negative beliefs and thoughts; thus, the fear builds up as they doubt themselves, hindering the ability to interact with others properly. So how about challenging these negative thoughts? This will help in reducing these symptoms.

Even the best of us cannot escape from having negative thoughts. If you have had negative experiences in the past on personal relationships or professional failures, you are already a prime candidate for having social anxiety. With so much or pressure all around us, it might be hard to even find one individual on this planet that does not suffer from social anxiety. 

  1. The first step is identifying the negative thought as it slowly creeps up when you are about to do something.
  2. Once identified, go ahead and challenge these negative thoughts and doubts. Take a step back and analyse your thoughts logically; this way, you can replace these with positive affirmations, and a positive outlook on the social situation.
  3. The third important step is focusing on others rather than these millions of thoughts that go through our head, as these thoughts make us feel anxious and nervous. Avoid self-focus and doubts; try and switch from the internal focus to external environment and surroundings. Because you cannot focus on two things at once, this will help calm your nerves.

You do not need to be overtly self-judgmental about yourself and your actions. You are just anormal human being and should try holding yourself to a high pedestal. This creates unnecessary expectations and triggers social anxiety. 

According to experts, too much of negativity, especially by watching the news is something that should be avoided. Every time you open the news on the television or read the newspaper all you find are cases on COVID-19 deaths, wars, murders and other societal ills. All these things can trigger negative feelings and foster depression-like syndrome. 

These are Few more Pointers to Try Out

In this section, we speak to leading mental health experts and ask them to share some light on what can be done to prevent social anxiety. The following are some of the major recommendations- 

– When in a social gathering, try and focus your attention on the people around you, rather than yourself.

– You need to remember that this anxiety you feel is not as visible as you might be thinking. 

– Nobody is perfect; we all have our imperfections. It’s a matter of acceptance. Thus, remove this pressure of being perfect, because if we analyse it, what is perfect? And it is perfect according to who?

– Facing your fears is also the best way to manage anxiety. Try and find a supportive social environment and challenge these thoughts. 

It is important to note that you stick to all the pointers at all times. Going for a combination of the strategies or following them all at once is the best way to avoid social anxiety. 

The Bottom Line

Rather than being too hard on yourself, it is better to sometimes let things go. We are all constantly trying to become such perfect versions of ourselves that at the first moment of something going wrong, we experience social anxiety. What someone thinks about you, or what you think about yourself are far too complicated questions that require answers to. 

In this article, we have tried to look at social anxiety from various angles. We have also tried to offer constructive solutions to help you prevent the negative triggers from happening. If you want our experts to answer more of your questions on the same, please drop your questions in the comments below. We will try to address as many of them as possible.