For the most part it’s been wonderful being at home the last few months, away from social pressures and, for many, free of the pressures of work… although daunting in some respects too.
But now that we’re easing into a ‘new normal’, what does this mean for those who experience Social Anxiety? Particularly after a hiatus from people interactions.
Sure, it’s quite common to feel nervous in some social situations. But Social Anxiety Disorder is a chronic mental health condition where social interactions cause people to experience unfounded anxiety, fear, and increased self-consciousness. This can manifest physically and emotionally, and ultimately affect daily life.
Are you fearful of interactions with acquaintances and strangers? Do you suffer from low self-esteem and constantly worry about embarrassing yourself? Do you catch yourself amid negative self-talk? Do you run through interactions afterward and scrutinise your part in the exchange? Or maybe you prefer to self-isolate so that you don’t have to deal with the outside world at all. These could be signs that you are suffering from Social Anxiety.
Left undiagnosed and untreated, the disorder can run (ruin) your life. But getting to the root cause of the issue and learning coping skills can be a lifesaver. Know that it is possible to work through it and come out on the other side unscathed.
Firstly, acknowledge that you are in a quandary. Give yourself permission to really experience the feelings of anxiety. Embrace them with a loving heart by recognizing that the feeling is there to guard you against a perceived threat. Then ask yourself whether the situation is a threat or just uncomfortable.
Once you’ve acknowledged the issue, think about what small measures you can put in place for yourself in order to release the feeling of anxiety and take one step at a time back into everyday life with confidence and ease.
You don’t have to do it alone. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) addresses negative thoughts patterns and Rapid Transformational Therapy (RTT) is a fast and effective way of quickly taking back control of your mind and freeing yourself from the restraints caused by anxiety.
There are tools. You don’t have to be a captive in your own mind forever!