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Fear of Scrutiny to Avoiding Social Meetings: 5 signs of social anxiety and ways to cope with it

Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is a common condition characterised by excessive fear and worry in social situations. It can be debilitating, affecting your work, relationships, and daily life. But the good news is, social anxiety is treatable.

Rahul Pratyush Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Updated on: April 02, 2024 12:00 IST
signs of social anxiety
Image Source : FREEPIK 5 signs of social anxiety and ways to cope with it

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a debilitating mental health condition marked by overwhelming fear and anxiety in social situations. Individuals with SAD often anticipate negative judgment or scrutiny, leading to avoidance of social interactions. Physical symptoms like sweating, trembling, and rapid heartbeat accompany the psychological distress. Difficulty making eye contact and excessive self-consciousness are common manifestations. Coping mechanisms include therapy, relaxation techniques, gradual exposure to feared situations, and challenging negative thoughts. Despite its challenges, with proper support and strategies, individuals can learn to manage social anxiety and lead fulfilling lives. Here are 5 signs of social anxiety to look out for and ways to help you cope with it.

Fear of scrutiny:

People with social anxiety often worry excessively about being judged or scrutinised by others. This fear can manifest in a variety of ways, from avoiding eye contact to panicking over a perceived social misstep.

Coping Mechanism: Challenge negative thoughts! When that inner critic pipes up, talk back. Remind yourself that most people are preoccupied with themselves and that minor imperfections are unlikely to register on anyone's radar.

Physical symptoms:

Social anxiety can also cause a range of physical symptoms, like blushing, sweating, or a racing heart. These symptoms can be frightening in themselves and can fuel the fear of being judged.

Coping Mechanism: Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation can all help to calm the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Avoiding social situations:

One of the biggest signs of social anxiety is a tendency to avoid social situations altogether. This might mean skipping parties, cancelling plans, or even avoiding work events.

Coping Mechanism: Start small. Instead of trying to tackle a huge party right away, set yourself smaller, achievable goals. Maybe it's striking up a conversation with a cashier, or joining a small social group. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small!

Negative self-talk:

People with social anxiety often engage in a lot of negative self-talk. They might tell themselves they're boring, awkward, or unlovable. It might be harmful if you carry this inner critic.

Coping Mechanism: Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would offer a friend. Challenge those negative thoughts with positive affirmations.

Dwelling on past blunders:

People with social anxiety often ruminate on past social interactions, replaying awkward moments and cringing over perceived mistakes.

Coping Mechanism: Forgive yourself and move on. Everyone makes mistakes, and chances are, the situation wasn't nearly as catastrophic as your mind makes it out to be.

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