Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is an intense fear of being watched and judged by other people, such as meeting new people, eating in restaurants, speaking in public or dating.
It is a common problem that often starts in teenage years but can develop at any time. Feelings can be become overwhelming and so intense that you feel are beyond your control. These feelings can develop weeks before the social event potentially resulting in cancelling events and avoiding future events.
can worry so much about what other people might think or behave towards you, that everyday life becomes challenging.
Can go through in detail all the things that could happen to you,
Can create scenarios of “what if…”
Can have a sense of blankness, forgetting what you want to say,
Can worry about how you handled a situation after the event,
Can go over and over a particular part, looking for perceived failures.
Can have a very dry mouth,
Can become very hot very quickly,
Can feel sick,
Can have a pounding heart,
Can need to go to the toilet,
Can get pins and needles (due to breathing too fast).
Some people can have panic attacks, where the sense of fear and anxiety becomes overwhelming, where you may feel like you are dying or going to pass out. Panic attacks usually last a few minutes, reaching a peak and rapidly subsiding which can leave you feeling exhausted.
- Focus on your breathing, counting as you breathe in for 4 and counting as you breathe out for 7.
- Talk to someone you trust about your experiences
- Practice regular relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness and breathing techniques.
- Use grounding techniques such as 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
- Writing grounding techniques down on a small card and having it with you as you can pass it to someone to be able to help support you. It can be incredibly hard to remember grounding techniques when feeling overwhelmed.