Do You Have Social Anxiety?

Does your heart ever race or palms ever sweat before or after a social interaction? When you have to go grocery shopping do you start imagining yourself stumbling over your words when talking to the cashier? Do you ever start to irrationally worry about having to make a dentist appointment? Do you feel like you overanalyze every single social interaction that you have throughout the day? You might have social anxiety.

What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is a social phobia where one experiences symptoms of fear during any social interaction with other people. There are various severities of social anxiety ranging from a fear of presenting a keynote to a room of 20 people or as severe as experiencing fear when talking to a close coworker, friend or family member. It is considered normal for one to experience anxiety during certain social interactions such as presenting in front of a large group of people, but when you experience this fear & obsessive worry during small social situations such as going grocery shopping or making a dentist appointment, that is when it can negatively affect your life and prevent you from living a happy & fulfilled life. 

What Are The Symptoms?

Symptoms vary from person to person and the severity of each symptom can vary. These are the most common symptoms of social anxiety in situations that "shouldn't" cause social anxiety. There are also two categories of symptoms. Emotional/Behavior & physical.

Emotional Symptoms

• The fear of being judged

• Thoughts of being embarrassed or humiliated

• Intense irrational fear during mundane & ordinary social situations

• Fear that others will notice you

• Fear that others will notice your physical symptoms

• Conscious avoidance of doing mundane things

• Conscious avoidance of mundane social situations

• Having a negative anticipation for no particular reason

• Obsessing & replaying past social situations

• Continuously expecting the absolute worst case scenario in social situations

Physical Symptoms

• Blushing

• Trembling

• Nausea or upset stomach

• Fast heart rate

• Lightheadedness or dizziness

• Muscle tension

• Feeling that your mind has gone blank

• Shortness of breath

• Sweating

People who suffer from social anxiety will usually experience these symptoms in seemingly normal or "mundane" social situations such as going grocery shopping, making a dentist appointment, asking for the price of something, talking to a customer, taking their car to the mechanic etc. Situations that shouldn't cause any fear or discomfort. It is understandable for a person to experience such symptoms if they were to present to a room of people, but not if their neighbor starts talking to them. 

Negative Affects On Life

If social anxiety goes untreated or is simply ignored it can have catastrophic and incredibly negative affects on a persons life. A person will be deprived of human pleasures and it will prevent them from following their dreams in life. If a person does nothing to free themselves from social anxiety, they may never find love, they may never get higher education, they may never have a successful career, they may never build genuine friendships, there are so many things that every human should experience in their lifetime that untreated social anxiety can prevent them from experiencing and as a result a person could live a miserable and unfulfilling life.

What Causes Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is caused within the mind, there are many potential triggers such as trauma, bullying, failure and others negative past experiences. Social anxiety is born within the mind because of perception of a persons reality and the beliefs that are built as a result of that perception. These beliefs will shape how a person experiences reality and views the world. These beliefs also shape a persons mental model of themselves, also known as a self image or identity. The self image is simply a giant concoction of beliefs that a person has of themself. 

These beliefs are usually something like "I am not a social person" "I am not good at talking" "I am a quiet person" "I am not confident" "other people are better than me" etc. These beliefs create a persons reality and shape the way they experience life. All feelings, behaviors and actions must align with the self image, if you attempt to do something that doesn't align with your self image then you will experience social anxiety and you will not be able to execute the desired actions. 

Example: Desired action is to spark up a conversation with a stranger. 

Self image beliefs "I am not a social person" "I can't hold a conversation" "I can't talk to strangers"

Even though a person wants to spark up a conversation, since their self image is made of the type of beliefs above, they literally will not be able to execute their desire and when they are put into a situation that does not align with their self image, they will experience social anxiety and often try to avoid the situation, once again because it does not align with their beliefs.

How To Free Yourself From Social Anxiety

In short, you need to reprogram your beliefs. Beliefs about the external world and beliefs about yourself. What so many people do not realize, is your beliefs create your entire perception of reality. There are various way to reprogram your beliefs, some easier than others. Here at the Alchemic School we are experts at helping people change their beliefs, so they can not only free themselves from social anxiety, but also so they can become whoever they want and achieve whatever they want. 


Christian Stordahl


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