Social Anxiety Disorder is found in over 15 million Americans and has yet to be diagnosed in countless others.
When I first heard of Social Anxiety Disorder, I had so many questions. Do I have social anxiety, or am I just shy? How do I overcome social anxiety? What are ways to treat social anxiety disorder? What are some of the signs of social anxiety? Do I have to medicate social anxiety, or are there natural ways to “get rid of” social anxiety?
First off, I am not a doctor. I am merely someone who suffers from social anxiety, and I have seen results from a variety of ways, and I want to help other people.
I was sitting in the parking lot of my new job–with my loving boyfriend next to me–sobbing.
I knew what it was, I was terrified to go meet these new people, be judged, and interact with them. I was scared of what they might say to me, or what I might say to them.
I always say something stupid, and then curse myself for weeks after.
They were all wonderful and nice people, but there I was, paralyzed with fear.
I didn’t know what to do, or how to fix the fear I was feeling. I spent so much of my time there crying in the bathroom because I was too scared to walk out of the bathroom and be around people.
I was worried I would say the wrong things, or they would judge me for the way I did my job.
They would see how scared I am of talking and avoid me.
Isn’t that what I wanted?
Why am I crying?
I thought I would lose my job because I was in tears at the drop of a hat.
I would come home from work and cry until I fell asleep from exhaustion. I would tense up when someone called my name, or even if someone looked at me.
It had gotten to the point where even thinking about working or leaving my house set me off.
How was I supposed to function in society if I couldn’t even leave my house?
Social anxiety is defined as a “chronic mental health condition in which social interactions cause irrational anxiety.”
Seeking therapy is recommended as treatment but there are natural treatments available for you to consider also. You don't have to suffer.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
A great first step to treat your social anxiety is to make small, daily changes to help you feel better and improve your confidence so you can deal with those negative feelings you’re experiencing. I always recommend checking out your sleep schedule first. Are you getting enough sleep? As a mom of three, I understand getting a good night’s sleep is rare, or sometimes impossible. If you find yourself unable to sleep, try implementing a new sleep routine. Putting my phone away before a certain time and washing my face before bed has helped me get better sleep at night. Learn how to meditate! Doing this before bed is a fantastic way to help you sleep. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube you can use to learn. Another good change you can try is eating healthier and exercising on a regular basis. Focus on your whole self to see a positive change in your life.
Avoiding Bad Habits
Not only should you be boosting those positives in your life, and focusing on your healthy habits, but you should be avoiding the unhealthy ones too. It is quite common when you suffer from social anxiety to develop unhealthy ways to cope with your fears. Perhaps that unhealthy habit is drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or doing recreational drugs. Maybe you find yourself emotionally eating to deal with these bad emotions. I highly recommend meal planning in this case. It is important to your health that you try to put a stop to these bad habits and find healthier alternatives.
Finding a Solid Support System
Nothing has helped my life more than finding someone to depend on when times are tough. My spouse is incredible, he will happily hold my hand and breath through some of the toughest days with me. But I also have the most perfect best friend. She always seems to know when the walls are enclosing, and gleefully helps me out. She’s taken my children to the park, she’s literally pushed me out the door to go out to an event with her, and has always lent me an ear when I have needed to get my frustrations out. I couldn’t ask for a better person in my life. Find that person for you. When you have someone who understands you and accepts what your anxiety can do, they are someone that you will always be able to turn to. They can be the person who goes to events or parties with you so you’re not alone or someone you can call or text when you’re feeling your worst. You should always have one person or a small group of people that can provide the emotional support you need.
Writing in a Journal Regularly
I truly can’t say enough good things about journals. There are days when your support system is great and they help you through those dark times, but other days you need to hash those feelings out into paper. It’s incredible how much it can help you. You can safely get all your feelings out, even if those feelings are something that someone might judge you for. You can tell your journal that you hate your kids today, or you want a hurricane to hit your house so you don’t have to clean up toys anymore. Your journal doesn’t judge. Writing in a journal should not replace other treatments in your life, but it definitely has a place, and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s a great distraction to your mind, you can unload all those negative feelings and boil them down to what is really triggering your anxiety. If you write merely five minutes a day, you’ll begin to notice the positive impact it has had in your life. The best part? There are no rules. It’s what you want, and what you need.
I hope these tips help you find a way to deal with some of the pain and fear you’re dealing with.
Do you have any other great natural tips to share?
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