Is It Just Nerves or is it Anxiety?
Made You Smile Back is pleased to present this enlightening blog on '10 powerful tips in overcoming
We shall explore what exactly social anxiety is and the myths and misconceptions associated with it. We will also look at the
Then, 10 powerful tips on overcoming social anxiety using cognitive behavior strategies will be conveyed so that the next time you find yourself with 'sweaty palms, increased breathing, and 'butterflies', you will be well prepared on knowing what to do.
What is Social Anxiety Exactly?
According to Mental Health of America, social anxiety, also known as SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) is an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme fear or anxiety in one or more social settings. Going to a party or even having a one-on-one conversation with a new person can result in increased heart rate, sweating, and racing thoughts for someone with social anxiety.
When social anxiety gets significant, it’s common for individuals to isolate themselves and feel very alone. Often times, the overwhelming feeling of 'dread', makes one who is suffering hard to function in daily life. And taken to extremes, they may regularly avoid the 'anxiety-inducing' situations altogether leading to further isolation from family and friends.
How Common is Social Anxiety Worldwide?
It is estimated that a staggering 264 million people worldwide suffer from this condition as of 2017. The prevalence of anxiety disorders across the world varies from 2.5 to 7 percent by country. Is it any surprise that anxiety is considered to be the most prevalent mental health condition in our society today?
In fact, in the United States alone, 40 million people suffer from social anxiety. Social anxiety can affect both men and women, with women slightly leading in the statistical data of 60%. It does not discriminate. Several well-known world leaders, celebrities and entertainers struggle with this disorder as well.
Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.-- Dennis Waitley
Symptoms of Social Anxiety -- What Does it Feel Like
There are many
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Sweating, especially the Palms
- Feeling Nauseated
- Having Butterflies in Your Stomach
- Dizziness and Lightheadedness
- Trouble Catching Your Breath
- Muscle Tension
- The Feeling Your Mind Going Blank
- The Feeling of your Stomach Tied Up in Knots
The Struggle is Real
There are several misconceptions concerning social anxiety. Those of us who suffer are so misunderstood and oftentimes, people are quick to judge and say 'we're just a basket case of drama'...
It manifests differently in each person. Try to put yourself in their shoes. They suffer from 'overthinking' or ruminating over worst-case scenarios.
It's not just about being stressed -- it's the unknown factor. It's about being overwhelmed with a new situation never experienced before. The struggle is real and is magnified when we find ourselves spending too much time alone.
Stage Fright - Performance Anxiety
Let's take a moment and discuss another type of social anxiety, known as performance anxiety. Or should I say, 'stage fright'?
Many times when we feel anxiety, it can be in a situation experiencing heightened emotions or excitement. Especially when we personally experience something new. So social anxiety isn't necessarily triggered by a phobia of fear. It can easily be that we haven't had that particular experience in our life yet.
One of the most well-known entertainers, Barbra Steisand developed overwhelming performance anxiety at the height of her career; for 27 years she refused to perform for the general public.
And yes, the iconic Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook openly admits that he suffers from social anxiety. In fact, on his first real job interview, he found himself stuttering and sweating 'bullets'. Since then he has transformed from being socially awkward to a polished public figure. But even at the Senate Hearings in 2018, dealing with Facebook issues, he was under tremendous stress and experienced 'performance anxiety'.
My Own Personal Anxiety Attack!
When I made the decision to write about this topic, it was partly because I, myself, experienced this phenomenon while preparing for a new situation I had never faced before.
I just recently became a published author ('The Power of Unexpected Miracles') and a 'book-signing event' was set up. As the event approached, I noticed my anxiety levels were creeping up on me. I don't know why I started feeling the way I did. Public speaking was something I was already doing.
However, upon reflection, this was indeed a NEW situation. I never was an author before... I didn't know what to expect with this event! I allowed the 'fear of the unknown' get to me. And yes, my friends, I almost was very ill and the 'butterflies' just wouldn't go away! I was in fact, experiencing 'stage fright' or performance anxiety!
10 Powerful Tips in Overcoming Anxiety Attacks!
- KNOW that you CAN overcome this.
- STOP overthinking it!
- REALIZE people are too busy with their own issues. They really don't care as much as you think they do!
- STOP feeling embarrassed - you're only human!
- LOOK for the good in people - and remember this - you'll probably will be among empathic people who have stood in your shoes!
- LEARN to BELIEVE in yourself again. This is a confidence issue. You got this!
- DETERMINE your triggers. What situations cause you the most stress? LEARN to quiet these thoughts and feelings.
- RESPOND... don't react or give in to your anxiety.
- REACH OUT to a trusted friend who allows you to vent and who can gently but firmly REMIND you to put everything in perspective and to breathe, reflect and reassure you things will be all right.
- Pray and pray and pray some more. Let God/Allah help you through this!
In conclusion, social anxiety is a real mental health condition and should be treated as such. Made You Smile Back presented 10 strategically powerful tips on how to overcome everyday anxiety attacks. More specifically, these tips are behavior modification techniques. These are great when getting over a singular 'anxiety attack' or if one just has a 'mild case' of anxiety.
That said, do KNOW that if YOU experience anxiety more severely or find that it persistently lasts for months or you find yourself becoming depressed as well, you need to seek professional medical treatment. In addition to behavior modification, you may need 'meds' as well.
Wait... There's More
Watch this YouTube Video from Dr. Alan Mandell in 'How to Get Rid of Anxiety Without Doctors or Medication'