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Overcome Social Anxiety

Many of us feel some degree of shyness in certain situations like when meeting new people or being in a new place. This is normal. What is not is being extremely shy to the point of avoiding social situations as much as possible. It’s called social phobia. Based on statistics, about 5 to 10% of people in the UK suffer from this kind of fear.

Social anxiety is a form of disorder in which there is an intense and unreasonable fear of social interaction. People with social phobia feel the rise of anxiety and self-consciousness when dealing with other people. They have this excessive fear of being judged, criticized, or watched close by.

Millions of people worldwide are suffering from social anxiety. Based on epidemiological studies, social anxiety is the third-largest psychological disorder in the United States. About 7% of the U.S. population is suffering from this type of anxiety disorder.

Risk Factors

Some factors increase one’s risk of developing a social anxiety disorder. Some of these factors include gender, family history, negative experiences especially during childhood, and personality.

Gender Although an equal number of men and women seek treatment for social anxiety disorder, this form of anxiety is more common in women than in men.

Family History A review done on the environmental factors that affect social anxiety disorder, revealed that there is a connection between parental overcontrol and parental psychopathology with childhood social anxiety disorder. Marital problems in the family were also seen as a risk factor for developing this anxiety disorder.

Negative Experiences In a study done to find out which childhood experience plays a major role in the development of depression and anxiety, researchers found out that sexual abuse and neglect play a significant role. The more the abuse and neglect take place, the stronger the connection observed between the negative experience and the development of the psychological disorder.

Personality Factors Certain personality traits trigger the development of anxiety disorder. Extremely shy children as well as those who cannot tolerate uncertainties have higher chances of developing anxiety disorder later in life.

Triggering Factors

People with social anxiety disorder experience a significant amount of distress when exposed to any of the following situations:

  • Being the centre of attention

  • Being introduced to other people

  • Being criticized

  • Being observed or watched by other people when doing something

  • Doing certain activities in public like talking or making phone calls

Symptoms of Social Anxiety

When in certain social situations, a person with a social anxiety disorder experiences intense levels of fear and nervousness. These emotions usually come with other symptoms including tachycardia (rapid heart rate), sweating, trembling, dry mouth, blushing, and muscle twitches.

Many people with this anxiety disorder know that their fear is irrational but they feel they couldn’t do something about it.

Dealing with Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder can be managed with the help of cognitive and behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy.

Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy One way to deal with social anxiety is to shift your focus inward. Start by finding out what causes your anxiety in your relationship.

If chronic stress triggers anxiety, then you may try doing some stress-relieving techniques. These include doing regular physical activity practising mindfulness and making sure that you’re getting sufficient sleep. One study shows that sleep deprivation can lead to an elevation of cortisol the following evening. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is typically released when one is stressed.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is another way to address relationship anxiety. It is particularly useful for those whose cause of anxiety is brought by negativity such as negative thoughts about one’s self. CBT has been shown to work well for individuals with depression. In CBT, the client and the therapist work together to agree on certain behavioural patterns that need to be changed; this includes negative thinking.


Hypnotherapy is another useful therapy for relationship therapy. In my practice, I make use of guided hypnosis to help clients deal with certain issues like fear and negative thinking. Hypnotherapy helps as it puts one into a completely relaxed state where one can be more open to positive suggestions.

Hypnotherapy for anxiety can make a person calmer and “balanced.” It works for almost any type of anxiety disorder including social anxiety and panic attacks.

Being in a relationship will teach you a lot of things. Don’t let your anxious thoughts and feelings keep you from making the most of your relationships. Know that there are things you can do to overcome anxiety.


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