Do you feel uneasy with social gatherings?

 

This is a season of new beginnings and thanksgiving. As we embrace the New Year with parties, sharing gifts etc, how many of us are actually aware of a cohort who are terrified by the thought of social gatherings? In nutshell, this cohort literally battle with their insecurities and negative thought processes when it comes to social occasion/ gatherings. This condition is clinically called Social Anxiety.

Social Anxiety Pic.jpg
 

Some of the negative thoughts and apprehensions individuals with social anxiety experiences are:

  • Self-doubts about their capability to start a conversation
  • Degrading themselves as boring speakers, hence form belief that none is interested to chat with them
  • Anticipation of an embarrassing and awkward moment in a social occasion
  • Conscious about people observing them as they think that they are being judged/ criticised by others.
  • Difficulty to eat in front of others, shop in a busy shopping mall, to attend party etc.

Some of the physical discomfort people with social anxiety face especially when they think or plan of meeting others are:

  • Headache
  • Palpitation
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth etc.,


Social Anxiety V/s Introversion

There is a general misconception between social anxiety and introversion. Introversion is a trait whereas Social anxiety is developed due to various reasons such as our traits, environment, life experiences etc.

Introverts likes to be either in small circle or to spend time with themselves whereas people with social anxiety really enjoys company but they are worried/ afraid of being judged. So it is crucial to understand the reason behind one to avoid social occasions.


Is Social Anxiety Treatable?

Yes, it is a treatable condition as it is not genetically imbibed, whereas it is learnt over a period. People struggling with it in their daily life should take a courageous step to deal with it instead of running away. Being aware of your problem and deciding to help yourself is the best way to overcome any psychological distress.

Some of the tips to deal with social anxiety are:

Mental Rehearsal

Imagine yourself in a social situation which you will be attending in the coming days.Practice how you going to respond to some of the common questions usually people ask to start a conversation. See yourselves in the mirror, observe your body language, facial expression and modify them till you become happy with the way you express yourself.

Make Self Assuring Expressions

It is crucial to motivate oneself everyday. Start your day making positive comments about yourself. For example: “I am Capable”, “ I am good”, “I am Beautiful” etc. Our brain registers this information and in turn help to boost our self confidence. You can even stick those positive thoughts on the walls of your room as a reminder to yourself.

Challenge Yourself with Small Achievable Task

Create small achievable targets  and work towards it. For example: to initiate a conversation with an unknown person, hosting small gathering with 2 or 3 people etc. Make a list of situations which you find difficult to deal with. Later rank them based on the intensity of your anxiety to handle them. This list can be used to make goals starting from least difficult to most difficult situations. Do not give up when you fail doing one, keep trying and modifying the situation till you achieve them. Also appreciate yourself when you achieve your targets.

Create a Positive Anchor

Take some time and think of a very strong happy/ positive moment in your life. Add your favourite colour and music to that scene and visualise it. Imagine yourself at that moment in your life and press your wrist with the other hand. Try to bring back the positive moment that happened in your life when you press your wrist. Whenever you feel anxious or worried use this anchor to come out of such negative thoughts/ feelings.  

Breathing Exercise/ Relaxation technique

Immediately after you get up just sit calmly on your bed. Take deep breaths and just focus on your inhalation and exhalation. Do this everyday for 10 minutes before even you think about all the things you need to accomplish in a day. Breathing exercise not only calms you down but also helps you to gather all the energy you require for a day. This is not a waste of time, in fact studies have proved that people who does breathing exercise have more stamina which helps them to fulfil their task in lesser time than the others.   

Wear Comfortable Dress

Before you step out of your home, make sure you are in your most comfortable clothing. If the dress is not fitting then the focus get shifted to clothing this will in turn trigger worries about others judging you.

Above mentioned are some of the tips that can be practiced, but if you find it hard to do it by yourself do not hesitate to get in touch with a professional counselor/ psychologist.

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