Things like going to birthday parties or barbecues can be a lot of fun for most people, but not if you have social anxiety disorder. That’s because it’s not just being a little shy or nervous around people you don’t know. You get symptoms like dizziness, nausea, sweating, trembling, and stuttering.
Having social anxiety disorder (SAD) means having an excessive and unrelenting fear of being judged or rejected by those around you, which makes you avoid any social situation that you feel might lead to embarrassment or humiliation.
This, of course, makes it very difficult to meet new people, make friends, and date. It also undermines your chances of making progress in your career and can even interfere with simple day-to-day activities like talking to someone on the phone.
If you are experiencing symptoms of SAD, you should talk to your doctor, who can help you get into contact with a psychiatrist or a psychotherapist. The best treatment approach is a combination of medication and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy). However, there are also some self-help strategies that can make life a little easier.
Take Care of Your Health
Although a healthy diet and exercise won’t cure you your social anxiety, it will make it easier to manage your symptoms. The most important thing is to make sure you get enough sleep since sleep deprivation makes your amygdala more reactive to negative stimuli and reduces your prefrontal cortex’s ability to mitigate those reactions.
Exercise will stimulate your body to release endorphins, which improve cognitive function and your ability to cope with stress. A healthy diet ensures that your brain gets the nutrients it needs and has similar benefits to exercising. Poor diets strain your body and make it less resilient to stress.
Many people who struggle with social anxiety turn to alcohol as a way of coping with social situations that make them nervous. Consequently, research shows that 1 in 5 develops alcohol use disorder. Considering the risks, it’s better to avoid alcohol and try healthier alternatives like Sunday Scaries CBD.
Set Goals for Yourself and Take It One Step at a Time
Social anxiety has a way of making you feel stuck. On the one hand, because of your symptoms, you miss out on a lot of things, which makes you feel lonely and frustrated. On the other hand, the very same symptoms make you feel too scared to change your situation.
If you’re reading this article, you already have a goal: to learn how to manage your symptoms better. But this is too vague. You need something more specific so you can take a more systematic approach similar to the strategies used in CBT.
A good example of a goal would be to go to some sort of social gathering once a week. You start by doing an assessment of your current symptoms using the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS).
As the weeks pass, you write down the thought and feelings you experience in relation to these social gatherings so you can figure out your patterns. You use the same scale to reassess your symptoms every two or three months.
Now you might be thinking that one social gathering per week is too much for you. Start with whatever makes you’re more comfortable with. It could even be making small talk with the barista when you get your coffee in the morning.