Social anxiety can be the biggest hindrance to developing true confidence. It is more than just
being shy. It is defined as the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people,
leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression. These feelings are caused by over-activity in the part of the brain that controls fear response.
This is a major issue because it can hinder social interaction; it can make socializing difficult or even impossible for some people. Similar to shackles, holding you back from doing what you know you should and ought to be doing. These shackles are created from a subjective fear and later strengthened by individual logic.
When I was younger, I was a bit on the shy side. I also could have been socially anxious, but I didn’t know much back then so I can’t be too sure. I avoided people and confrontation so much that I even avoided bumping into people for fear of interacting. Sometimes I just moved aside if the hallway was too narrow, and other times I had to use some slightly more complicated maneuvers. Over time I grew out of that phase, but looking back now, the main reason I was shy was that I was afraid. I was afraid because I believed I did not have the strength to confront others.
I have always been an individual with strong principles and I that helped because I attracted
people who shared and/ or respected those principles. I have a post on Principles, and how it acts as a social filter. When you are polarized, you will have a lot of “haters”, but those who love you will be people who rank high in your values. The first step in overcoming social anxiety is to know what your values are because that will affect the types of people you even socialize with.
The second step is to understand why you are afraid. Social fear/ phobia does not necessarily
lead to anxiety, but rather feeds anxiety- worsening the effects (From Normal Fear to
Pathological Anxiety, Rosen 1998). I was surprised to find so many studies that positively
correlated social anxiety and fear to some degree, but it raised an important question; how to do we deal with this fear?
Fear is linked to risk perception. Risk is measured based on the combination of how subjectively valuable something is and how likely are you to lose it, in other words- how much you care. This
is an important question. How much do you care? How much should you care? It is normal to care about how others view you, especially if they rank high in your values, but if they do not, their perception of you shouldn't mean anything. Find your values, find what truly matters to you and select on that basis. Value the people close to you and disregard any social pressure placed on you by the extras.
If you are a selective individual and still experience social anxiety, that becomes a worth issue.
The good news is that that is relatively easier to resolve. If you surround yourself with people
who rank high in your values and feel inadequate, it means that you have more work to do on
yourself. This is good. You have people you can learn from who are also indirectly pushing you
to become a better you. We are surrounded by so much knowledge, but only a few take advantage of it. Always be expanding your comfort zone and be willing to learn. Personally, audio books are great for my schedule. Check out AudiobooksNow for 50% off.
There are people who are genetically dispositioned to experiencing social anxiety and people who were traumatized as infants, the best solution in these cases would be therapy, and I wish you strength. Anxiety is mental, but the physical also takes a hit if it is left unchecked. A healthy lifestyle is always a good thing. Get fresh air, exercise, meditation and a balanced diet are great ways to maintain a healthy body and mind. Health and diet supplements are also popular, but those can be a bit tricky. Keep it organic. One recommendation would be the Mega-Nutrition Organic Superfood developed by the Quantum Wellness Botanical Research Institute.
I hope this was helpful. No matter where you are right now, always strive to hit that next level.
Personally, I think it is socially important to have some knowledge of psychology, especially if you suffer from social anxiety.
Comment below your opinions on the best ways to overcome social anxiety.