In this article, I want to address social anxiety. However, let’s start with symptoms of social anxiety because many people do not realize that they may have social anxiety.
Main subjective symptoms:
· Worrying about doing something that you find embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating, or worrying about not being good enough to do certain things.
• Worries about daily activities that may involve meeting strangers, starting conversations, having to call, e.g., to a doctor, or something else practical.
• Worries about social situations such as eating in front of others, taking having to take part in group discussions, or going to parties.
• Worrying about having to do something in front of others, feeling like someone is watching you or judging you.
• Fear of using a public restroom or someone else’s restroom.
• Anxiety about receiving criticism – low self-esteem.
Physical anxiety symptoms can include sweating, hyperventilation, redness, faster heartbeat, frequent toilet trips, nausea, or stomach pain.
When everything went into a “lockdown” here in Denmark, I experienced a specific relief among certain individuals with social anxiety. In other words, they “had to” avoid social situations, could not travel, could not go out to eat or attend certain social events, and were recommended to buy food online.
As time passed, I experienced that many of these individuals had become so isolated with the result that their anxiety has intensified & depression crept in as a side effect.
This happened gradually, since one of the best ways to deal with social anxiety is to work with thinking errors and, secondly, exposure, meaning you face your fears, e.g., call the doctor, go to the store or meet a friend. However, when everything is swept under the rug, and things can start to pile up, it’s like fuel for social anxiety.
If you recognize yourself here, then it is time to start working with your social anxiety.
What is it that you should be doing? Most people know the answer to this question, whether it is calling a friend, contacting your doctor, or going to the store, start today. Write a to-do list, add a number to the most straightforward task, and get started with that one. As soon as you finish one “easy” task on the list, you build up confidence. Then slowly start working your way up the list. It is the small steps that create significant changes. If the social anxiety has become so great, that it has begun to paralyze you & the tasks on hand, I recommend seeking help. It is possible to work with social anxiety and never too early or too late.