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Understanding Social Anxiety: What Are the Impacts and How to Overcome it

Updated: Nov 12

Many people occasionally worry about social situations. But understanding social anxiety is about

more than just occasional shyness or nervousness. It's a persistent fear of social situations and an intense worry about being judged, or embarrassed by others. People with social anxiety often dread situations like public speaking, attending social events, or even everyday interactions such as answering the phone or ordering food at a restaurant.

Impact of Social Anxiety

1. Emotional Distress: Social anxiety can lead to a constant state of emotional distress. If you have social anxiety, you may experience feelings of dread, humiliation, and an overwhelming fear of being negatively evaluated by others. This can result in persistent worry and emotional exhaustion. 2. Isolation: To avoid anxiety-provoking situations, those with social anxiety often isolate themselves. This can lead to loneliness and feelings of exclusion, further exacerbating the condition. 3. Negative Self-Perception: Social anxiety can lead to a distorted self-image. If you have social anxiety, you may perceive yourself as inadequate, awkward, or unlikeable, which can have long-term effects on your self-esteem and self-worth. 4. Impact on Career and Education: Social anxiety can really get in the way of academic and professional progress. Fear of public speaking or speaking up in meetings in front of a group ot class can limit opportunities for growth and advancement.

Overcoming Social Anxiety

The good news is that social anxiety is treatable, and with the right strategies and support, a person with social anxiety can learn to manage and overcome it. Here are some steps to help you or someone you know conquer social anxiety:

1. Professional Help: Seek the guidance of a mental health professional, such as a counsellor or psychologist who understands social anxiety. They can provide evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and exposure therapy. You can also speak with your general practitioner or a psychiatrist about medication. 2. Self-Help Techniques: In addition to professional assistance, you can learn and practice self-help techniques to manage anxiety. These may include relaxation exercises, mindfulness, and deep breathing. 3. Build Self-Esteem: Engage in activities that boost self-esteem. Achieving small goals, pursuing hobbies, and recognizing personal achievements can counteract the negative self-perception that social anxiety often brings. 6. Join Support Groups: Connect with others who share similar experiences. Support groups provide a safe space to share feelings, insights, and coping strategies. 7. Medication: In some cases, medication, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be prescribed by a psychiatrist to help manage symptoms. It's important to consult a healthcare professional before considering medication.

Asking for help can be difficult but many people struggle with social anxiety. With the right strategies, support, and determination, you can learn to manage and overcome social anxiety.

If you or someone you know is struggling with social anxiety, remember that help is available. If you would like counselling for social anxiety, visit the contact page for a free 15 minute consultation.

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