Do you worry excessively about how others will perceive you in social situations?
Do you worry afterwards about how you acted and what you said to others?
Are you overly concerned about other people’s opinion of you?
Do you worry hours, days, or weeks in advance of upcoming social situations?
Are you afraid that you will say or do the wrong thing and be embarrassed, judged, or humiliated?
Are you extremely self conscious in everyday social situations?
Are you concerned that people will notice how nervous you are?
Are you afraid of making mistakes?
Are any of the feelings mentioned above accompanied by physical symptoms of anxiety, such as shortness of breath, lightheadedness or dizziness, nausea, butterflies in your stomach, diarrhea, racing or pounding heart, sweating?
Do you feel like you need a drink to get through a social event?
If you answered, “yes” to several of these questions, you may have Social Anxiety, also called Social Phobia. This is a condition characterized by an excessive and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur.
According to anxiety experts, David A. Clark, PhD and Aaron T. Beck, MD, Social Anxiety is characterized by these 3 elements:
1. a fear of being negatively evaluated by others
2. heightened self -focus on your social performance, how you are coming across to others
3. excessive avoidance of social situations
People with social anxiety may experience symptoms in various types of social or performance situations, including giving presentations, meeting new people, attending parties, being the center of attention, talking in meetings or with authority figures, being called on in class, eating in public, making phone calls, or using public restrooms. Even everyday situations such as going shopping or making phone calls can be problematic for some people. It is normal and common to feel some degree of anxiety in social or performance situations, but when it becomes excessive, persistent, and causes so much distress that it interferes with your quality of life, it is important to get some help.
The good news is that there is effective treatment available for Social Anxiety! One focus on treatment is on the negative thoughts, which is a cognitive approach. As Drs.Clark and Beck explain, social anxiety builds during anticipation, actual exposure, and postevent remembering of the social experience. Your therapist can help you develop a plan to identify and correct your biased thinking and unrealistic expectations in each of these phases. You will also learn to face your fear and start “avoiding avoidance!” You can also learn breathing and relaxation exercises to accompany your treatment. With practice, you can reduce your anxiety and increase your self-confidence.
To learn more and get help with overcoming social anxiety, call 513-310-6755 or CLICK HERE to email me.