According to Wikipedia, social anxiety is an experience of various types of emotional discomfort such as fear, apprehension or worry when a person is placed in social situations where there is the possibility that they will be evaluated by others. Typically, people who experience social anxiety expect a negative evaluation from other people regardless of the situation. Social anxiety disorder is a psychopathological form of social anxiety or social phobia. Social anxiety can present itself in a variety of forms such as shyness, performance anxiety, public speaking anxiety, stage fright, etc. In everyday life, most of us experience some form of social anxiety; however, for many of us, it is not that severe. For example, sometimes when we have to get up before a large group of people to speak, sing or act, we may become nervous.
Our hands may become clammy; our mouths may suddenly become dry. For some people, we may start sweating profusely or trembling slightly. Some people experience light headedness, while others become dizzy or actually faint. In more severe cases, people will actually have to see a doctor, who will then prescribe them medication to help calm them down before they have to interact with people. Social anxiety, for most people, is totally manageable. Usually, all it takes is a couple of deep breaths and some other mental relaxation techniques. For instance, many teachers or peers will advise each other on the art of public speaking, saying: “Just get up there and imagine everyone naked or in their underwear!" It would almost seem that easy, right? After all, social anxiety is nothing more than a manifestation of one's mind. Therefore, all we would have to do is play mind games with ourselves to get a handle on it, right? Wrong. For some people; or in fact, for most people, dealing with social anxiety is simply not that easy. In fact, public speaking was listed as one of the top fears that most people in the United States have, more so than going to the dentist! That's pretty serious!
There are many relaxation techniques that one can perform when they know that they are about to encounter a situation that is going to make them nervous. One of the methods is simply reasoning with yourself. Rationalize and think: Do I have any rational reason to be nervous? How is this going to affect my performance as well as my own perception of how I want others to perceive me? In addition, people shouldn't rely solely on prescription drugs to help them with their anxiety because a) it's not healthy to become too dependent on any one drug and b) you should always seek healthier alternatives to help yourself! Also, there is a growing problem with people becoming addicted to prescription medication. In order to stay out of that bracket, it is best if you just didn't start. Talk to others and brainstorm on ways that you can collectively work on lowering levels of anxiety. Make fun of yourselves (in a healthy way of course) and have fun with it!
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