Social Anxiety

What is Social Anxiety?

 

We all know the feeling of nervousness and stress of public speaking or walking into your first job. You might feel your heart beat faster, palms get a bit sweaty and have alertness during these moments of anxious events.

 

If you are suffering from social anxiety, these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to your experience of anxiety on a daily basis. You avoid many interactive situations and crowds are too overwhelming. Your anxiety is triggered by 'small' social interactions in conversations, eye contact, and even walking out of your home.

 

Social anxiety goes beyond merely a ‘shy’ personality and interrupts you in every social aspect of your life. It may even be affecting your career. Social anxiety is experienced differently for each person, but there are some shared experiences as well. 

 

If you are suffering to go out in public due to fear of judgment, avoid making eye contact most of the time, have difficulties initiating conversations, and doubt about going to most gatherings, you may be suffering from social anxiety.

Is my social anxiety treatable?

 

Living with social anxiety is very crippling for many individuals. It takes over your ability to function in your daily activities and prevents you from advancing in the direction of life that you desire.

 

Your anxiety may be a reasonable response to your situation. If we look deeply at your values about society and your identity, we may find a deep-rooted issue that manifested into social anxiety. You can and will be able to integrate all parts of you for a successful life in society.

 

I will assist you in developing mind-body awareness to find ways to calm ourselves in response to stress and work towards building a coping tools kit. Learn to have a new lifestyle, the belief of self, and a sense of safety in the world.

 

Your fears and anxiety are very real but if you are motivated for change, it doesn’t happen alone. Contact me today to take the steps necessary to succeed in life.

 

Social anxiety is a combination of both physical and emotional reactions to a triggering situation.

You may notice your heart beat faster, hands get sweaty, eyes losing focus, and breath getting heavier when triggered with a social situation that is particularly difficult for you. Some people will also experience stomach issues, headaches, or loss of strength and balance as a result of severe stress at the moment. 

 

Your mind will wander in all different directions, fear gripping you about how you are judged or viewed a certain way. You might experience the feeling that everyone in the room is watching you. 

 

After suffering through social interaction, you begin the mental battle about how you acted, what you said, and what you shouldn’t have done. The devastating social experience doesn’t seem to end once you are left alone.

Why do I have social anxiety?

 

Social anxiety is very common in our society today. “Just in the US, social anxiety is considered the third largest psychological disorder. The lifetime prevalence rate for developing social anxiety disorder is 13-14%.”(1)

 

You may have acquired social anxiety from your upbringing, genetically, and environmentally. 

 

It is recommended to first check with your doctor to make sure that you do not have any physical health conditions that are causing or adding to the anxiety.  If you have a first degree relative with Social anxiety, you may also be 2 to 6 times more likely to develop the disorder.(2)

You may carry certain genetics more prone to reacting with anxiety and fear, causing you to develop social anxiety. 


Social anxiety may also be learned from your environmental upbringing. Perhaps you lacked exposure to social events growing up or internalized fear about the public as a child. Many people also slowly develop social anxiety from general anxiety or a traumatic event. Depending on what you were taught and the values that you adopted about your sense of belonging in this world, you can develop a stress response in social situations.

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©2020 by Soo Jin Lee, LMFT