Social Anxiety--How do you find your peace?

Social anxiety can feel debilitating.  It can stop you from doing things in order to stay feeling comfortable.  Does this mean you need to avoid everything? 

One aspect of social anxiety—which is not the same for everyone--is that you can tend to feel judged by others.  You may feel powerless or awkward.  These feelings can stop you from getting involved with things you might be interested in that could add to your life--even if you have a strong desire to, “get yourself out there”.   You may isolate due to the worrisome thoughts you feel.

How can you get past this, find your peace, and feel comfortable with yourself?  The cliché of, “Knowing is half the battle.”  really is a beginning.  Once you understand what or who makes you feel uncomfortable, you have a choice about what or who you involve yourself with. 

You can see this as an opportunity to work on overcoming your fears, facing them, "head on".  But, you do not have to.  It is okay to avoid situations that cause you extreme anxiety.  Extreme anxiety can turn into such things as experiencing a shortness of breath, insomnia, cause panic attacks, or turn you towards substance abuse as a means to cope.  Instead, you can begin practicing different relaxation techniques or daily practices to help you make it through. 

You can set boundaries for yourself.  Once you find what or who causes you less anxiety than others, you may choose to combat your anxiety in situations that do not cause you such high levels of stress—a symptom of anxiety.  It’s kind of like experiencing claustrophobia—maybe one-on-one, or smaller group situations, make you feel more at ease than very large groups.

Pay attention to what your body is telling you.  Combating any type of anxiety can take time and effort.  Just like changing your body, it takes time to change your thoughts.  Start exercising ways that benefit the quality of your life.  Your mind and body will thank you.

1. Pay attention to physiological symptoms.
2. Set boundaries.
3. Practice relaxation techniques.