Social anxiety is an affliction that affects many people around the world, of all ages, nationalities and professions. If you are struggling with social anxiety and need help, contact us. Your Calgary Psychologist will ask about your goals, and tailor your sessions to suit your specific needs.
What is social anxiety?
Social anxiety is described by the Anxiety & Depression Association of America as “intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.”
Social anxiety symptoms can vary from person to person, just like any mental illness. Social anxiety disorders are becoming increasingly common around the world, with around 7% of American adults experiencing them, according to Mental Health America.
If you feel that the above descriptors relate to your feelings when you are in social or group situations, it could be that you are experiencing a social anxiety disorder. Common symptoms of social anxiety include:
- Increased heart rate. If you find your heart is beating super fast when you enter a social situation and doesn’t seem to calm down on its own, this could be a symptom of a social anxiety disorder.
- Rapid breathing, sometimes leading to panic attacks. If you feel like your breathing is constricted, it could be that anxiety is taking over in social situations.
- Intrusive thoughts. People who experience social anxiety often find that their mind immediately goes to the worst case scenario, or feel bombarded by intrusive thoughts. Assuming that a person you meet hates you, judges you, thinks you’re a loser or similar thoughts can often happen if you have social anxiety.
What triggers social anxiety?
Now to the million dollar question: what triggers social anxiety? Of course, every person is different, and your triggers will be unique to you and you only. However, there are some common triggers for social anxiety that are felt among many people; we’re going to take a look at those in detail right here:
Meeting new people
If you have social anxiety, you might have a few close friends and family members whose presence doesn’t make you anxious – but beyond that, it can be very triggering to meet new people. You could experience feelings of intense fear about the idea of having to meet somebody new, for fear that they won’t like you, or will judge you in any way.
Being the center of attention
Just like meeting new people could be a trigger, so is being the center of attention. Social anxiety can be triggered by having all eyes trained on you in a group situation, perhaps if you are giving a presentation at work, or if you are asked to perform in any other way.
Speaking up in a large group
If you are in a class, seminar or meeting where you are asked to give your opinion, this situation can be triggering if you have social anxiety.
Can you cure social anxiety?
Social anxiety doesn’t have a quick fix, but having professional counselling can be extremely effective. Your Calgary Psychologist will tailor your sessions to help you work through triggers and alleviate some symptoms of your social anxiety.