There is a profound difference between shyness and having social anxiety. When you experience extreme self-consciousness when speaking to others or being in public, it can be disparaging to have someone tell you “get over it.” Social anxiety is a mental health disorder that can significantly affect a person’s ability to function in daily social interactions. This can be terrifying for someone trying to succeed in a world full of social interactions and contact. Learning how to cope with social anxiety properly can help you lead a happy and healthy life away from potential crutches that could make the symptoms worse, such as addiction.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that involves a person feeling particularly anxious or fearful in social situations. These can include group meetings, meeting new people, answering questions in group sessions, interacting with the cashier at the grocery store, or simply being in a crowd of people. Symptoms need to last for a minimum of six months for a diagnosis. Symptoms usually begin in youth and can wreak havoc on a person’s life without treatment.
Common symptoms of a social anxiety disorder include:
- Nausea in social situations
- Difficulty meeting new people
- Being self-conscious in front of others
- Fearful of being judged
- Socially withdrawn to avoid others
- Rigid body posture
- Rapid heart rate
Healthy Coping Strategies
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals with social anxiety to self-medicate to relieve symptoms. However, self-medication can lead to addiction, making symptoms worse and wreaking further havoc on the person’s life. Knowing how to cope healthily can boost your mental health and help you find healing.
Consider these tips next time you struggle with social anxiety:
- Exercise and eat well to reduce anxiety
- Arrive early to talk to people one-on-one
- Practice being assertive in the mirror
- Educate yourself on nonverbal communication
- Practice deep breathing
- Try meditation to gain a deeper understanding of yourself
- Keep up with current news to help with small talk
Social anxiety can be challenging to overcome if you are unsure how to cope with it properly. You should do your best to avoid drugs and alcohol as a means of self-medication, as this is a temporary fix that will lead to further consequences down the road. If you are currently struggling, Alta Loma Transformational Services can help. We work with men to help them overcome chronic mental health disorders and addiction through our individualized programs. Call us today to find out how our programs can help you at (866) 457-3843.