Eps 159: feel scared around


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Tom Shelton

Tom Shelton

Podcast Content
People frequently experience a momentary sense of dread or anxiety in response to a stressful situation, such as giving a presentation at work. We all experience nervousness during social situations, such as a job interview, or if we are giving a presentation. When we are in social situations that cause nervousness, many of us tend to fall into a trap of anxious thoughts and feelings.
The fears people with social anxiety disorder experience when socializing People with social anxiety disorder Social anxiety is so intense they feel like it is out of their control. This kind of social anxiety is generally less chronic and intense than the fear that people feel about most social situations and performing.
The anxiety often increases the more you avoid situations that you are afraid of. The key to overcoming agoraphobia is learning how to manage your anxiety symptoms and gradually get out there in situations you are afraid of. If you change how you think about the social situations that cause anxiety, you will feel and function better.
People who have social anxiety can learn how to handle their fears, build self-confidence and coping skills, and stop avoiding things that make them anxious. Therapists can help people make a plan for facing their social fears, one at a time, and help them develop the skills and confidence to do so. If you are having trouble dealing with a long-standing fear or anxiety problem alone, keep in mind that a therapist may be valuable for helping to develop coping strategies.
It should also be noted that while anxiety has a strong physical component, as mentioned earlier, there is considerable evidence suggesting you can learn cognitive coping skills that are effective at decreasing anxiety and fear. The mind and the body are intimately linked; and by training the brain to react in certain ways, you may experience genuine relief from your anxiety. By de-stressing yourself in the right moments, you can encourage your mind to concentrate on things that are unlikely to cause anxiety.
When you are feeling anxious, and feel that you need to soothe yourself, mindfully choose to distract yourself by, for example, engaging in a fun activity, calling a friend, listening to nice music, watching a nice TV show, or any activity you can use to shift your thoughts in a more positive direction temporarily. If you find that social or performing situations make you feel exhausted, but they do not trigger your specific anxiety, it may be that you are just wired to prefer spending more time on your own. For instance, if you have not developed enough social skills, you might feel frustrated after talking with people, and might be worried about doing so in the future. Feeling pressured to interact in ways that you are not comfortable, being critiqued or shamed, or having other fears and worries may make a shy or frightened person more likely to have social anxiety.
As a result, the person feels uncomfortable participating in daily social situations. People who have social phobias often feel self-conscious and are uncomfortable being noticed or being judged by others. With social phobia, the person has extreme shyness, self-consciousness, and a fear of embarrassment that interferes with their lives. When individuals experience such extreme self-consciousness and anxiety that they are not comfortable speaking or being social much of the time, this is likely to be something other than shyness.
For some, the anxiety associated with feeling shy or self-conscious can be extreme. While social anxiety is always about the fear of being negatively evaluated, the actual situations that trigger it can differ wildly between people. If you think that you may be suffering from social anxiety, you may want to assess the fears you feel around people to try and determine whether they may reflect underlying mental health conditions. If possible--and with help from a therapist, if needed--people with social anxiety disorders can gradually increase the amount of contact they feel they need with situations that they are afraid of.
For instance, if giving a presentation makes you extremely anxious, so much so that you may even call in sick to avoid it, then the first introduction will be a similar, but less anxiety-provoking, situation, like telling a story to a group of friends. These situations are anxious because you are afraid that if you begin feeling panicked or experience other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms, you cannot flee or get help. Some people might experience panic attacks or experience certain physical signs of anxiety when confronted with social situations. Some people with this disorder experience physical symptoms of anxiety when faced with situations like giving a speech, playing in sports, dancing, or playing musical instruments on a stage.
People with an anxiety disorder often feel intense feelings of nervousness or anxiety. Anything that causes anxiety or fear may cause feelings of nervousness. Interestingly, though, nervousness may trigger fears in our minds, rather than only our bodies. For others, anxiety is related to a particular social situation, like talking with strangers, mixing it up at parties, or performing to an audience.
Doing everyday things in front of people--such as eating or drinking in front of others, or using the public bathroom--also causes anxiety or fear. A person with social anxiety disorder experiences symptoms of anxiety or fear in some or all social situations, such as meeting new people, going on dates, being on a job interview, answering a question in a classroom, or having to speak with the checkout operator at a store. Someone with social anxiety may feel too nervous to ask a question in class or go to the teacher for help. If you feel that your social phobia is truly affecting your life (for example, getting in the way of your career or relationships, or making it difficult to attend social events that you would like to go to.
While avoiding high-stress situations can make you feel better in the short-term, it can keep you from becoming more comfortable with social situations, and learning to deal with them, for the long-term. While both introverts and extroverts may experience social anxiety, those who are introverted can be misidentified as being socially anxious.