Happy minds … write happy words

What is social anxiety.

I was asked this the other day by a reported “what is social anxiety ?”
I replied “social phobia, a fear of social events/people”
Still she looked blankly at me, at first i thought it was strange that someone would have no concept of what social anxiety was, since  my life has been guided or even dominated by social anxiety for over 12 years. but i guess some people are lucky enough to have never needed to know. 

The reason of course my life and now my work has been guided by social anxiety is that my long term partner has been a social anxiety sufferer all her life. It was her that got me started in my quest to cure social anxiety, by the time the quest had stated I was suffering various other anxieties and emotional issues. So it was a quest worth taking and along the way i have become quiet the expert on social anxiety and have discovered we all suffer it from time to time.

So what is social anxiety ? 

In its simplest form its having anxiety when faced with social situations/people. People feel anxiety differently sometimes they feel a tightness in there chest, sometimes butterflies in there stomach. These can lead to shaking of hands, sweating, it can be an uncomfortable feeling around people. it Can be characterized by feelings of low self worth as well. Social anxiety suffers believe themselves to be almost telepathic mind readers, reading negative thought into whoever may be around.

Nervous are one thing but what I feel the worst thing about social anxiety is that the suffer misses out on one of the biggest parts of life, being social, human being are social animals we are at our happiest when we are together. It is very difficult for a social anxiety suffer to go to a bar and not imagine every person is about to start to laugh at them.

This of course makes work life very hard. Sometimes social anxiety surfers just have the negative feelings, at other times they suffer low self esteem and crippling self doubt making working or socializing almost impossible.

You generally find the negative feelings bread negative thoughts, which in turn lead to an increase in negative feelings. So someone on a night out, starting to feel a bit anxious has the thought “every one hates me” increases the anxious feeling which then increases the thoughts its a viscous circle !

Over the years I have had suffers tell me about how they feel overwhelmed by things, big characters intimidate them.  This is something that bothers me greatly,  believe any one has the right to be whoever they want to be, but this should not be at the cost of others. So i teach social anxiety sufferers how to effectively deal with these situations in there minds, because its there minds that are interpreting things wrong. That is for another blog post.

So in short social phobia, social anxiety is in fact a fear of social situations(some times large some time one to ones, sometimes just going to the shops, peoples, events). Its a terrible anxiety which cripples and paralysis a persons life and holds them back from being part of the tribe.

Andrew Milne runs www.happy-minds.co.uk they treat all anxiety related issues effectively and quickly, we are based n Glasgow but will travel around the UK. Relief comes quickly and effectively.

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