In this video I describe how you can cope with and eventually overcome social anxiety or social phobia.
This advice is based on my personal experience of how I learned to control it and overcome it.
I fully empathise with those who experience the symptoms and would like to pass on my knowledge to help others.
If you suffer from this condition then you probably already know that it can lead to feelings of isolation and depression. You may tend to avoid social interaction with others and it may be having a detrimental effect on your life in school or college, at work, and among friends.
Not only do you feel stressed during simple interactions with other human beings but you also wonder whether you’re going mad, a freak, or just useless.
In this video I offer the benefit of my experience. However, I am not a medical professional so if your symptoms are severe then you should seek assistance from trained and qualified professionals.
So let’s begin with some definitions.
What exactly is social anxiety?
According to the Social Anxiety Institute people who suffer from social anxiety or social phobia may experience anxiety and fear when:
• Being introduced to other people
• Being teased or criticized
• Being the center of attention
• Being watched while doing something
• Meeting people in authority (“important people”)
• Most social encounters, especially with strangers
• Going around the room (or table) in a circle and having to say something
• Interpersonal relationships, whether friendships or romantic
When I was a teenager I could put a tick next to all those symptoms!
You may be fully aware that logically there is nothing to be afraid of but you feel the symptoms anyway.
Social anxiety is not just the shyness we feel when meeting someone new or the nervousness we might feel before giving a presentation.
Most people experience those symptoms and they are perfectly normal reactions.
Social anxiety is an acute or extreme form of shyness that leaves the sufferer unable to function and enjoy life at work, socially, or even among at home with your family.
Consequently it can lead to low self-esteem and mild depression. It can hold you back in your career and your social life.
So let’s work out some ways to deal it with it.
How to cope with social anxiety.
Once you’ve identified that you’re experiencing these symptoms you can begin the process of managing the condition and eventually overcoming it.
The good news is that the way ahead is clear and you can look forward to feeling confident and enjoying life.
But you won’t be able to build enough confidence to, for example, give a lecture to 500 people overnight. You’ll need to take small steps and build confidence gradually.
The first step is to admit that “OK, Houston, we have a problem”. It’s known problem and there are solutions.
When I realised that I had a problem I went to see the local doctor and eventually I was given some pills that masked the symptoms but did nothing to cure the condition.
Once I realised that prescription pills were not the answer I worked out a real cure by myself.
One of the first tools that helped me to cope is the habit of controlled breathing.
At school we were encouraged to learn to play a musical instrument and I chose the flute. As you can imagine, in order to play the flute well you need to have control over your breathing.
So the first few lessons were all about learning abdominal breathing. This is type of deep breathing fills your lungs to capacity with fresh air and empties all the used up air.
It’s a simple but highly effective method relaxing your muscles by efficiently oxygenating your blood.
It’s the ideal way to begin any type of relaxation or meditation.
It also helps if you feel a little nauseous for any reason, or when you just want to relax and wind down before sleep.
Continued in the video….
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