Living with Social Anxiety Disorder and Tips to Recover
To handle the situations that give rise to the social anxiety disorder, one may make use of self-help techniques. Although medical assistance is required for treating the disease, these techniques may be practiced for bringing the symptoms down. These techniques may involve the following:
- Take assistance from people with whom you feel relaxed and happy.
- Connect with an online or local group sessions
- Indulge in various physical activities on a daily basis
- Get an adequate amount of sleep
- Consume a healthy and a balanced diet
- Avoid alcoholic beverages
- Avoid caffeine consumption or limit its intake
One Step at a Time:
Consider all the fears that trigger the anxiety in your body. Combine the self-practice techniques and bring down the levels of anxiety. To begin with, start practicing smaller instances that seem less overwhelming. Consider the following situations for a regular practice:
- Grab a meal with a close family member, friend or colleague in a free environment
- Be the first one to greet your friend by making an eye contact.
- Give someone a flattering remark
- Ask a vendor at a shop to help you purchase an item.
- Get directions from a stranger
- Show some interest in interacting with others by asking about their children, homes, grandchildren and various activities.
- Make plans with friends.
Prepare In Advance For Social Situations:
Trying to be social while being struck with anxiety can be very challenging. However, you must never avoid the circumstances that trigger the symptoms. By facing all such situations on a daily basis, one will understand how to cope up with them. The following strategies will be helpful in tackling all the nervousness:
- Prepare yourself for all sorts of conversations by reading newspapers and gather topics for discussion.
- Make a note of the qualities that you like the most in you and focus on them.
- Practice relaxation exercises.
- Adopt stress management techniques.
- Pay attention to the occurrence of stressful situations and their impact on your mind.
- When you are bound to be a part of an embarrassing situation, remind yourself that they will pass with time.
Social Anxiety Disorder Recovery Tip 1: Become Aware of Negative Thoughts
The sufferers of social anxiety disorder have their minds fogged in various negative thoughts and beliefs. These thoughts indirectly trigger all the symptoms. If you are suffering from social anxiety disorder, you might be overwhelmed by the thoughts such as:
- "My tone will start quivering and I will humiliate myself."
- "People will think I am stupid."
- "I won't have anything to say. I will seem uninteresting."
Putting away all these negative thoughts can be done by practicing the self-help techniques or undergoing a therapy session.
The negative thoughts that occur in the brain should be recognized in an effective way, which is the first step in the process. The next step is to analyze and combat them. Self-questioning at such times will prove to be helpful. By evaluating the negative thoughts in a logical manner, you will replace them with the ones that are more positive and realistic as well.
Social Anxiety Disorder Recovery Tip 2: Focus on Breathing
The body undergoes various changes when it is bound to anxiety. The primary symptom that the body shows is heavy breathing. When an imbalance of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs, it often leads to dizziness and muscle tension.
Practicing to control breathing can bring down the symptoms of anxiety. This method will be extremely helpful when you are subjected to attention in public.
Breathing Exercises Will Help You Keep Your Calm in Social Situations:
- Position your body at ease while keeping the back straight. Relax the shoulders and place one hand on the chest and another one on the stomach.
- Inhale deeply and in slow counts through the nose for four seconds. Your stomach should rise and the hands on the chest should move very slowly.
- Hold the breath for two seconds.
- Exhale calmly through the mouth for six seconds and push out the maximum amount of air. The movement of hands placed on the stomach and chest will be same as before.
- Continue inhaling and exhaling in repetitive counts that are mentioned above.
Social Anxiety Disorder Recovery Tip 3: Do Not Avoid your Fears, Face Them
The most important step of recovery is to overcome the situation of social phobia rather than avoiding it. Avoiding a situation only keeps it going without overcoming the symptoms of anxiety.
Avoidance Causes More Problems:
Avoiding a disturbing situation may help you in feeling better for a shorter time span but it also makes you uncomfortable in various social situations. To be frank, the more you avoid a situation, the fiercer it becomes.Avoiding a certain situation may also prevent you from reaching your goals. Fear of speaking up in public might hamper your skills at work and you may refrain from sharing your ideas as well.
Facing Social Anxiety Step by Step:
Taking baby steps to overcome a fearful situation might prove to be helpful. The key is to handle the situation. Begin with handling smaller situations and work your way up until you are able to control the challenging situations. Move up the anxiety ladder by building the level of confidence.
Social Anxiety Disorder Recovery Tip 4: Give Priority to Relationships
Join supportive groups and gain help from them. This will help in tackling the social anxiety disorder effectively. Following suggestions will help you in giving a kick-start for making a positive interaction with different people.
- Take a Social Skills Class or an Assertiveness Training Class: Local adult education centers or community colleges offer such help to the needy.
- Volunteer for Activities You Enjoy: You can walk your dog or stuff an envelope for a campaign. In short, choose an activity that will keep your mind busy and focused for a long time. Participate in small groups and indulge in conversations with like-minded people.
- Work on your Communication Skills: Relationships are built on clear communications that are emotionally intelligent. When in doubt, learn about the basic skills of communication.
Social Anxiety Disorder Recovery Tip 5: Change your lifestyle
Lifestyle changes solely cannot help in overcoming social anxiety disorder or social phobia. However, they can be a part of the entire course of treatment and its progress. The following lifestyle tips will help in tackling the anxiety levels and set a level for a successful treatment as well.
- Avoid or Reduce Caffeine: Anxiety symptoms can shoot to a new level by consuming tea, energy drinks, Coffee, caffeinated soda, and chocolate. They act as stimulants and increase the level of anxiety.
- Skip Drinking Alcohol: Drinking may relieve anxiety briefly, but it tends to increase the risk of anxiety attacks in the later stages.
- Quit Smoking: Smoking does not bring down the level of anxiety, but boosts it. Nicotine, which forms a part of the cigarette, is a powerful stimulant.
- Get Good Amount of Sleep: Vulnerability to anxiety increases when your body does not get enough sleep. A good night's sleep is essential for calming all your senses in social situations.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Social Anxiety Disorder?
A combination of medicines and professional counseling can prove to be effective for treating generalized social anxiety disorder (fear of public interaction). Some people need treatment and counseling throughout the year, while others may recover after a specific point of time.
Recovering from Social Anxiety Disorder does not have any magic solution or easy fixes. The more you accept the existence of anxiety, the less will be the pressure. Changing the thought perceptions may help greatly in the long run. Think of anxiety as a part of your daily life, rather than a disorder from which you wish to recover. Forcing yourself to come out of the situation may eventually worsen the condition.
Learn to be positive and you will eventually get over your anxiousness. Never let it control you.