Social Anxiety: How to Overcome It

Chyna Grochoske, Staff Writer

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Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as SAD and social phobia, can be a lot to deal with, and it can be especially hard to overcome social anxiety as a whole. Many people have social anxiety and do not realize it. According to Mayo Clinic, social anxiety can affect people ages 3 to 60 and over. Though social anxiety isn’t talked about much, Illyanna Taylor, freshman, helped by answering a few questions about this particular subject.

The definition of social anixiety can vary. “It’s like regular anxiety except when you’re around people,” Taylor said. According to socialphobia.org, social anxiety is a pervasive disorder, and the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people who may judge and evaluate you negatively. Social anixiety has many disadvantages and no advantages. “You can’t connect with people as much as someone with social anxiety would want to. You have a harder time clicking,” said Taylor. The reasons people develop social anixiety can also be a bit scattered- the main reason being that people are not comfortable with who they are, and the initial outlook they have toward people.

You can’t know exactly know if somebody has social anxiety, or even what it looks like, but you can have a pretty good idea of the identification of it. According to heathline.com, “Physical abnormalities such as a serotonin imbalance may contributes to social anxiety. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps regulate your mood. An overdrive amygdala, a structure in the brain that controls fear response and feeling or thoughts of anxiety, may also cause this disorder.” Taylor says social anxiety is “Staying to yourself when you’re in a big group of people, and not really talking.” Overcoming this anxiety can be hard, but it’ll definitely be worth it in the end. Just in case you need any pointers, Taylor also recommends to “…try to be more outgoing, and not stay to yourself. It’ll be less difficult to get rid of that anxiety.” According to Psych Central (psychcentral.com), it could also be good to try a self-help manual, work with a therapist, practice deep breathing everyday, create an exposure hierarchy, create objective goals, and keep a rational outlook.

Social anxiety is most present “in places you’re unfamiliar with, in places you don’t know, with people you don’t know,” said Taylor. Social anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder, and the third/fourth most common mental disorder in the U.S., after depression and alcohol dependence. To help someone with social anxiety, means to make them feel more comfortable.To someone who doesn’t have social anxiety, it is recommended to try and make people with social anxiety a bit more comfortable being themselves, as that’s how it should normally work. “If I’m in a public space, then I’m really shy. I was at a party, and didn’t really know any people there. I didn’t really talk until someone approached me,” Taylor said of her own experiences with anxiety.

Dealing with social anxiety can be super stressful. According to Social Anxiety Ireland (from socialanxietyireland.com), the disorder most often surfaces in adolescence or early adulthood, but can occur at any time, including early childhood. It is more common in women than in men, as well. Out of all the disorders and most of the mental health care problems, social anxiety is least understood. Taylor’s advice to the people who have social anxiety is clear: “Be comfortable with yourself. Don’t worry about what other people think about you.”

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Social Anxiety: How to Overcome It