Social anxiety disorder (SAD) affects millions of adults in the United States. Anyone who lives with a diagnosis knows all too well the anxiety that comes with daily life. Listed below are a few tips for dealing with it and ultimately improving your quality of life.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is an intense fear of personal judgment, social rejection, and negative evaluation by others. As such, people who live with this disorder often avoid situations that can make them susceptible to any of the above. Many are also fearful of being viewed as inferior or boring and worry about revealing physical signs of their embarrassment.
Know the Signs
Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder can include an accelerated heart rate, sweating, nausea, and shortness of breath. Some people also experience uncontrollable shaking, dizzy spells, and blushing. Some of the emotional symptoms may include constant self-consciousness and daily worries and avoiding becoming a voice in any conversation.
Trying to Fit In
Living with an anxiety disorder makes it nearly impossible to feel comfortable when around groups of people. As a result, many teens turn to alcohol as a way to cope and feel comfortable. Unfortunately, this type of self-remedy will lead to a lifetime of co-dependency. You may be able to keep it under control for a while. However, as you become older and must interact with others more often, you may have trouble avoiding alcohol. You may also consume more than you realise and completely forget the conversations. This will only make your anxiety worsen. Thankfully, for those times when you overindulge and suffer from hangover anxiety, there are over-the-counter products that can help.
Conquering the Illness
The first step necessary in controlling the illness and improving your quality of life is seeking medical and emotional help. Through the use of medication and therapy, you will uncover your fears and learn how to deal with your anxiety. Therapy will also give you a chance to release bottled-up frustrations and find out situations that trigger the disorder. This will allow you to find solutions together with your therapist.
Things to Practice at Home
It’s important to remove your negative thoughts and replace them with positive conclusions. Most people with extreme anxiety always find the worst possible outcome and this prevents them from having friends, relationships, and even holding a job. By putting an emphasis on transitioning to positive thinking, you’ll start to lose the fear of interacting with others.
Take Baby Steps
Start by attending a smaller function or get-together with just a handful of people. Instead of putting the focus on what others may think of you and become over-anxious, start up a conversation with others in the group. Another way to build self-confidence is to get your daily life organized and on track. Sometimes, the lack of schedule can frustrate and stress people out. Things like budgeting for your bills, setting up a free checking account, and planning out your financial goals can be super relieving.
Find a Hobby
People who live with SAD often have too much down, unengaging time on their hands causing them to feel anxious more than they need to. Finding a hobby, something that you are passionate about that gets your creativity in full play will help keep your mind from returning to worries and remain positive. You can paint, build things with your hands or take up cooking.
Exercise and Anxiety
Exercise is not only good for helping you maintain a healthy body weight. It also provides a way to pick up your spirits and calm your thoughts allowing you to find peace. For someone living with a social anxiety disorder, exercise can reduce the symptoms and help them achieve happiness. When at the office, doing yoga or meditating on breaks can help you remain stress-free.
Living with SAD doesn’t have to dictate your life. With the right support, you can learn how to control it.