Do you find yourself uncomfortable or cringing at the thought of almost any social situation?
Do your palms get sweaty and your knees feel weak whenever a person you don’t know talks to you?
Then, my friend, you might have a little case of social anxiety disorder.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is the fear of being negatively judged by others in any social interaction. The fear that you won’t be accepted by others because of what you’ll say or do, or because you are inferior or inadequate in some way. The fear of being rejected because of who you are. No one should ever have to feel this way.
If this resonates with you, you’re not alone. A LOT of people experience social anxiety disorder every single day. In fact, it is the most common mental illness in the U.S. and affects over 40 million teenagers and adults. And one of the reasons is that most of us think of the WORST–CASE SCENARIO in any given situation. You’ve probably done this too. You know, when you go into a frenzy mode and think “Oh god, what if everything goes wrong?!” “I’ll say the wrong thing and no one will ever speak to me again” “Everyone has accomplished more than me / is better than me” or “What if I mess everything up?”
Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder
As cheesy as it sounds, all you have to do is chill out. Relax. Take a deep breath and tilt your chin up because everything is going to be okay. Fear is an emotion. That emotion is the result of thoughts you’ve had, like those worst-case scenarios we run through your minds constantly. Simply by becoming aware of that, and deciding to think the opposite “it’ll be ok”, is a huge victory over that fear, and is the first step to overcoming your social anxiety.
Whether you’re about to do a presentation in front of class or at work, or when you want to talk to someone you really like, your anxiety will always find ways to whisper in your ear. But the trick is to believe that NO ONE can stop you from what you want to do. You have the power to turn away from fear-based negative thinking and focus on thoughts that make you feel calm, peaceful and in control.
Effects of Social Anxiety Disorder
Don’t let social anxiety rule you. More than an emotional burden, it can also physically drain you to be so worried an anxious all the time. Granted, sometimes a little anxiety is okay. Sometimes that does make you more careful and helps you plan ahead more. The gravest consequence of submitting to social anxiety would probably be…regret.
That pang in your chest as you question why you didn’t just do or say what you wanted. What might have happened?
I may not be an expert at this. I’m still in school and I’ve got a lot more to go through and learn before I can go giving people advice. However, as someone who goes through social anxiety every day, I can personally tell you it feels good to let yourself go and not let it control you.
A little treat from me to whoever’s reading this:
“Everything is going to be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end” –John Lennon