Social Anxiety

You try to come up with interesting things to say to keep the conversation going. Instead you are hit with a wave of anxiety, ridden with feelings of nervousness, self-doubt and uncertainty. You manage to say something but aren’t sure if it went well.

You find yourself in an endless loop of self-criticism, comparing yourself to others and worrying about how you are perceived.  The last thing you want is to come across as socially awkward or incompetent.

Signs and Symptoms

Social anxiety can show up and feel differently for each individual person. The idea of meeting someone new or talking in front of a group can bring up many uncomfortable feelings. 

Each person’s level of comfort when socializing whether it is in person, by phone, or social media, can differ. You may find yourself quite capable of maintaining relationships and being active in some social arenas. And at the same time, you may feel less confident in others.

Some signs of social anxiety are felt in the body. For example, trembling and shaking, sweaty palms, muscle tension, and increased heart rate are physical signs. 

Other signs of social anxiety are related to thoughts and emotions. Fear of being negatively judged or observed by others, being easily embarrassed, or fear of behaving in a way that can lead to being rejected or criticized.

This can make socializing feel far from exciting. The impulse to withdraw is common. Avoidance often becomes the primary way to alleviate your anxiety. It temporarily reduces feelings of nervousness and fear. As a result, you can feel ashamed and tired of missing out on life’s adventures. It affects important areas of your life such as school, work and friendships. But, you have discovered that it is also not a long-term solution to resolve the anxiety. 

Counseling Can Help

Overthinking, questioning yourself, and rehearsing before, during, and after a social event is time consuming and stressful. 

Counseling can help you to discover the underlying causes of your fears. You will learn to build confidence, social skills, and relaxation techniques that work in various scenarios. 

Connecting with others and allowing your personality and awesomeness to shine through during social interactions is possible. It begins with some willingness to explore thoughts, emotions and behaviors that may keep you feeling stuck.

Therapy can help you strengthen your inner resources and learn how to tone down your inner critic. Imagine socializing with less fear and anxiety. 

If you are looking for support in managing social anxiety, give me a call. I’d love to hear from you.