Social anxiety disorder or social phobia is as real as it gets. It’s not about being shy or being introverted – it’s an authentic fear that can be debilitating for some people. Those who suffer from this have an irrational and exaggerated fear of being judged by others. Because of this, they may have difficulty building and maintaining relationships.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

According to research, about 12% of us have this disorder at one time or another, but it usually remains undiagnosed. Here are some of the symptoms you may experience in a social setting if you have an anxiety disorder.

  • Trembling or shaking;
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness;
  • Upset stomach and nausea;
  • Rapid heart rate and blushing;
  • Worry intensely that you’ll be judged or embarrassed;
  • Feel panicky in a social setting and often way before an event;
  • Anxious that people can tell that you’re being anxious;
  • Missing on opportunities because of fear.

Do’s When You Have Social Anxiety

Practice relaxation exercises. 

Learn and practice relaxing breathing techniques. To start off, you may breathe in slowly through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds longer, and exhale slowly through pursed lips. Repeat a number of times until you feel calmer.

Start small.

Exposing yourself to small-scale gatherings or responding to small talk in public places may be a good start. Be patient with yourself. Aim for small wins before exposing yourself to a bigger crowd.

Ask for help.

You may want to speak to a life coach or a therapist. If your anxiety is making you miss opportunities such as interviews and promotions, or miss important events, consider getting professional help. There are treatments and therapies that can work for you. Moreover, unmanaged social anxiety can lead to addiction, alcoholism, and depression.

Don’ts When You Have Social Anxiety

Don’t push yourself too hard.

You may want to give in to the pressure or trivialize your fears. Don’t make that mistake. If you push yourself too hard and too fast, it can make your anxiety get even worse.

Don’t embrace your negative thoughts.

It’s the negative thoughts that trigger the anxiety. Talk back at your negativity. Keep affirming yourself that you’re wonderful as you are, and it’s all in your power to try to do better.