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9 Principal Rules to Fight Against Social Anxiety and Social Phobia Once and For All

Anxiety Disorder &  Unshakable Fear 

Some people are gripped by unshakable anxieties in normal everyday situations and suffer from various dramatic symptoms, such as palpitations, fainting and blind panic.

 

Social Phobia & Self-Isolation 
Some people are dread of becoming the center of attention in a group. To avoid possible attack, humiliation or embarrassment, the sufferers shy away from human contact by isolating themselves at home.

 

The medical researchers in Bonn found patients who suffer from a severe form of panic disorder showed a much more highly activated coagulation system than the healthy control group. The coagulation system goes out of balance as the coagulation tendency rises and the imbalance potentially leads to blockage of a coronary artery. That’s why patients with anxiety disorders have a statistically higher risk of dying from heart disease or heart attack.

 

As to intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, high adjustment, sociability, sensitivity, and prudence count. There are downsides to any human trait. Extremely considerate individuals pay a great deal of attention to others’ emotions and needs. However, extremely caring individuals are usually highly sensitive or even emotionally vulnerable. EQ is positively correlated with leadership, job performance, job satisfaction, happiness, and well-being. Moreover, EQ is negatively correlated with counterproductive work behaviours, psychopathy, and stress proclivity.

 

Emotions shape our attitudes and behaviours and decidedly dictate our success. There are at least six universal emotions, ranging from fear, disgust, anger, sadness, surprise, and happiness. There is power in positivity. Positive emotions have been shown to boost inner strength and build connections with others.

 

Does everyone gossip? Does everyone judge others’ privacy? What’s good for socializing? What’s good for branching out connections? Why there are so many betrayals and flat-out lies between friends and lovers? Are we able to give full trust to other persons after encountering successive betrayals? 

 

As social animals, we internalize the morals and values from our parents, friends and mainstream society. Mostly, the way how other people perceive us does have an impact on our self-value to a certain degree.

As Coplan and Rudasill claim in ‘Quiet at School: An Educator’s Guide to Shy Children’, for an introvert, ‘being in a crowd of people is overstimulating and draining’. Introverts ‘will seek a retreat into solitude to recharge their batteries’. The school day can be stressful,  tiring or even debilitating for the introverts who are not good at socializing with others.

The introverts are good at making themselves invisible in the group. As to my observation, most introverts are highly cooperative and they are talented at making compromises in the group by sacrificing their needs and wants by showing forever silence or even utmost obedience to avoid any possible conflicts or attacks.

 Those who suffer from social phobia rarely seek help.  They are not good at approaching others. They feel uncomfortable and vulnerable when being ignored or isolated in the group. They are passive in personality by nature. And it’s terribly difficult for the introverts to start a conversation with the people they’d like to get to know more. 

 

We’d seen the spotlight of the group can easily become a target. The introverts sense the phenomenon. Thus, introverts desire invisibility because they attempt to avoid attention and possible dangers. They only interact with few people who approach them with utmost kindness out of self-protection.

As to my observation, most people who suffer from social phobia are relatively more talented in spending time alone. In a sense, being alone is more comfortable for them than dealing with dishonest or unfriendly persons. 

“ internalizers are extremely sensitive to the quality of emotional intimacy in their relationships [….] and they can’t be satisfied with less.” ― Lindsay C. Gibson, Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents

What are the pros and cons of socializing? you feel panicked in social situations? 

 

We can never run away from our fears. People who suffer from social phobia should identify their fears and confront their fears.

 

Rule 1: Learn to Defend Yourself. You have to be tough when necessary. 

You must learn to defend ourselves properly. Overly silence can be taken as a sign of weakness. Offer explanation is needed. 

I suppose the introverts are those who are relatively bad at defending themselves or justified themselves as they receive offensive remarks in the social gatherings. They overly fear about conflicts and they would rather keep silent than having an argument with others in person. That’s why they get hurt or bullied more easily than the extroverts.

 

Silence might not be the best response when people make offensive remarks to you. Make responses and push them to rethink their words or ideas. Addressing a serious issue might create possible conflicts or even debates, which might potentially damage the relationship.

It can be stressful to confront anyone, especially if he or she is an elder relative. Acknowledge the fact that whether that person meant to offend you or not.

How much do you value the person? How often will you meet each other? You have to decide whether it’s worth speaking up. If the comments bother you so much, you should bring it up.

You might get irritated after being offended, but try not to take them as an enemy. Avoid making similar offensive remarks. 

You can start the conversation by saying “I’ve been thinking about what you said last time about ______. I know you probably didn’t mean to offend or hurt me, but ……” Solve the issue privately would be a better option. Remember, further discussion to inform your relative or friend how you feel after hearing the rude statement. If there’s any misunderstanding, clear the air.

 

Most People Are Not Receptive to Criticism.

Focus on the comment, not the person. Before you confront with rude guys, you have to make sure what do you expect from them? An apology, an explanation or clear the misunderstanding.

Rule 2: Grab chances to accumulate good social experiences 

People who suffer from social phobia should hang out with their loved ones more to boost your confidence and sense of security. We can never avoid offensive or rude persons.  And we should never let unfriendly offensive person stop us from joining social gatherings.

 

Rule 3 : Remind yourself of the bonus of engaging in social gatherings.

It can be a powerful response to your unshakable anxiety.

 

What can we gain from social interaction?

  1. Get to know something new or interesting.
  2. Get to befriend with new people or more people
  3. build connections 
  4.  Excessive self-isolation can be harmful to the mind and body 

 

Rules 4: See what you can offer instead of focusing on how you might be judged or treated. Get rid of your passive role in social gatherings. 

Rule 4: Never let your fears limit your chance to meet good persons. 

DEAUVILLE, FRANCE – AUGUST 31: Cate Blanchett arrives at the premiere of the movie ‘Blue Jasmine’ during the 39th Deauville American film festival in Deauville, France. (Photo by Francois Durand in August 31, 2013 /Getty Images)

Rule 5: Challenge Your Fears,  Negative Assumptions and Emotions. 

Rule 6: Do something about your fears by joining small group gatherings or something like that. 

Practice makes perfect. As you practice, you have more chance to build up more good experiences. 

Rule 7:  Stop guessing people’s judgments. You would never know the answer. And it’s a waste of your energy. 

People with social anxiety tend to be unusually anxious in the face of upcoming social events. People with strong social anxiety often turn inward and focus on how others will perceive themselves. They wonder how others will judge them in one way or another.


According to Klimaite, Smerling and therapist John L. Clarke[2], People with social anxiety are suffer from the following self-doubt thinking.

“I’m going to do something embarrassing.”

“I am not going to belong.”

“I am not likable.”

“People are going to hate me.”

 “I don’t know what to say.”

“I have nothing to offer.”

“Nobody will want to be my friend.”

“I am going to say something stupid.”

“Something is wrong with me.”

 

These thoughts are highly connected to a person’s self-esteem. When people feel like they are not worth much in the public’s eyes, they might feel vulnerable to people’s criticism.

Rule 9: Keep a safe and polite distance from everyone. Don’t outlet your old wounds or secrets easily. 

Reveal your own secrets or old wounds too easily to anyone can put yourself in danger. Most people are not good at guarding secrets. They can’t help it. Self-protection is needed, which can lower the likelihood of getting hurt by a friend’s betrayal.

 

How Do Defense Mechanisms Work?

In Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, a defense mechanism is a tactic operated by the ego to safeguard the mind against anxiety.

 

Social Anxiety leads to Excessive Self-Isolation

Social anxiety or frustrating interpersonal relationships does keep the individuals from going out and stop socializing, which became a social phenomenon in Japan, especially for those who haven’t secure a presentable job offer.

 

People with social anxiety perceive social interactions as threats, and they harbor negative beliefs and maladaptive behaviors. Consequently, they are more likely to isolate themselves from the crowds.

They tend to avoid situations where people might evaluate themselves badly, including job interviews, public speaking, dating, etc. They are dread of catching an offensive judgmental or disapproving looks from anyone.  If a person does not involve in-person or face-to-face interaction with others in the long term, there would be an issue. 

 

People limit their life opportunities and social circles. To avoid distress and disappointments, they withdraw themselves from stressful situations and unfamiliar people to avoid any possible harm or trauma.

 

According to a study from Kent State University, “The extinction of the fear by virtue of avoidance reinforces avoidant behavior later in life.”

According to psychologist Helen Odessky., caregivers might instill social anxiety in their children by negatively framing social opportunities as “dangerous” rather than positively framing them as “challenging.”

 


Symptoms of  Social Phobia: Hide from Possible Fears, Dangers, and Threats

 

Social anxiety definitely has something to do with the individuals’ past trauma. They sense ignorance, danger or threat or as they attend social gatherings. Social phobia is absolutely has something to do with defense mechanism, which often occurs unconsciously. 

 

They are unwilling to expose themselves to dangerous or feared situations. In other words, they suffer from uneasiness in social gatherings. Why? The answer is self-evident.

 

It’s people, people’s harsh judgment, rumors, backbiting, or deliberate ignorance, something like that. Former bad social experiences, old trauma or fears encourage them to avoid another experience like that. They fail to predict or visualize any possible positive bonus of interacting with others or meeting someone who might value their self-worth.

 

After repeated similar bad experiences from social gatherings, they are unwilling to get hurt again.

 

In other words, they would rather put themselves in a non-threatening environment, be alone and safe than build connection with others. Over time, they lose the desire to interact with the outside world. Or rather, they lose their desire to build interpersonal relationships. They would rather confine themselves at home or stay in a comfort zone with the ones who love them and accept them unconditionally, such as their parents or lovers.

 

Solution: Overcome social anxiety and Shyness 

# Be aware of your thoughts and feelings and value yourself in a nonjudgmental and positive way.

Describe yourself from the view of an outsider.

Debate your negative and anxious thoughts. Analyzing the anxious thoughts that pop into your head when you feel dreadful of the upcoming social events. Analyze how you feel by assuming the worst possibilities of engaging in social gatherings.

 

#Find your personal strength by keep learning 

# Deal with your weakness or old trauma directly. Do not run away from your weakness or trauma 

#Practice meditation and avoid sleep deprivation 

In a study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, researchers found that participants’ anxiety levels decrease 39% after four 20-minute mindfulness training classes. Other studies have found supporting evidence that meditation and help reduce depression as well.

 

# Focus your attention on observing other people. Be more interested in other’s life and ask questions. 

#  Gain information from others.

# You don’t have to force yourself to build connections with others. Still, you are able to grab chances to share information with others.

# If you are being overly anxious or nervous, you unveil your anxiety in your facial expressions without awareness. Pretend to be an actor and set yourself a calm and collected role.

# Being an attentive listener. But, don’t be afraid to express your ideas and thoughts.

Without sharing your opinions, people can’t get to know you more.

#Figure out the causality of your low self-esteem.★★

Nobody can gain confidence overnight. As you explore more of the world or specialize in something, you will earn more confidence. Perfect your skill in anything you are interested in.

# Be patient with your weakness.  Work on your weakness and fear.

Numerous studies have shown that facing your fears is effective in treating anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder or even obsessive-compulsive disorder. Forcing yourself out of your comfort zone is a must for the sake of personal growth.

As you accumulate more pleasing experience in socializing with others, it will boost your confidence simultaneously.

Analyze your fear. What are the most fearsome social situations to you?

#Don’t be too harsh on yourself. You do not have to be perfect to be lovable.

# It’s good to speak up. Do not be hide your personal viewpoints.★★

 

Social anxiety disorder potentially has a broad negative effect on numerous areas of our lives, ranged from family life to the workplace and love relationships. Evidence shows it’s common for a person suffering from social anxiety.

 

social anxiety constantly interferes with people’s daily life and future blueprints, which might even stop people from pursuing their dreams. It’s worth overcoming your fears and lives your life to the fullest.

 

[1] Therapist Asta Klimaite offered the example of a child whose parents forbade him from playing sports by trying to avoid the kids getting hurt. With an attempt to protect the kid from encountering dangers, the kid avoided social situations and developed social anxiety as he grew up.

[2] He studied psychology with the father of Cognitive Therapy, Aaron Beck.

What causes social anxiety disorder? How to deal with social anxiety?

As noted, roughly 15 million people are dealing with social anxiety on a worldwide scale. Social gatherings can make them stress out and hide from the crowd by limiting their lives.

 

Common causes of social anxiety. Knowing the causes of social anxiety help a person to beat their symptoms of social phobia. 

  1. Negative experiences of social interactions or past traumatic experiences of being bullied, or humiliated, or ill-treated by encountering emotional, physical, sexual or verbal abuse from peers or anyone.
  2. Those who rarely go out to meet new people or those who situated in a highly limited social circle of the comfort zone. Some kids are raised in a way that encourages socially anxious behavior.  For instance, if a person’s parent or guardians who are overprotective, controlling by restricting a kid’s social life, that could be the possible cause too. [1]
  3. A person who is overly concern about his weakness or any negative labels about themselves.
  4. Excessive moving during childhood

 

Overcome Social Anxiety in 3 Steps  | Youtube | By Matthew Hussey

 

WHY DO PEOPLE SUFFER FROM SOCIAL  PHOBIA?

 

LIVING WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY

Overcoming Social Anxiety | Marielle Cornes | TEDxYouth@MBJH

 

 

 

PTSD and Social Anxiety Disorder

  • PTSD and social anxiety disorder (SAD) commonly co-occur.
  • The chief reason why people feel depression has something to do with the reason that they feel their self-worth is depreciated. And the common reason why people feel loneliness is that they feel disconnected to others. Whereas patients with PTSD have higher difficulty to build a connection with others.
  • Persons with PTSD generally have difficulties in interacting with others. Because communication or discussion can potentially trigger trauma-related topics, which may lead to social withdrawal and self-isolation.

Lady Gaga

Speaking to NBC ’s: ‘I suffer from a mental illness; I suffer from PTSD. I’ve never told anyone that before […] But the kindness that’s been shown to me, by doctors as well as my family and my friends, it’s really saved my life. I’ve been searching for ways to heal myself and I found that kindness is the best way. One way to help people that have trauma is to inject them with as many positive thoughts as possible. It’s priceless.’

I was angry, cynical and had this deep sadness like an anchor dragging everywhere I go. I just didn’t feel like fighting anymore. I didn’t feel like standing up for myself one more time – to one more person who lied to me. I really felt like I was dying – my light completely out. I said to myself, “Whatever is left in there, even just one light molecule, you will find it and make it multiply. You have to for you. You have to for your music. You have to for your fans and your family.”’

Brad Pitt

I was hiding out from the celebrity thing. I was smoking way too much dope. I was sitting on the couch and just turning into a doughnut, and I really got irritated with myself. I got to, “What’s the point? I know better than this.” I used to deal with depression, but I don’t know, not this decade – maybe last decade. But that’s also figuring out who you are. I see it as a great education, as one of the seasons or a semester, “This semester I was majoring in depression.” I was doing the same thing every night and numbing myself to sleep, the same routine. I couldn’t wait to get home and hide out. But that feeling of unease was growing and one night I just said, “This is a waste.”’

Ellen Degeneres

‘When I walked out of the studio after five years of working so hard, knowing I had been treated so disrespectfully for no other reason than I was gay, I just went into this deep, deep depression.’

Kesha speaks out about her mental illness after she accepted her Trailblazer Award at the 2016 Billboard Women in Music awards: ‘If I’m lucky enough to have a voice someone will listen to, then I should use it for good, for truth. That is why I have recently spoken openly about some of my struggles including my crippling anxiety and beginning recovery for an eating disorder amongst many other things. I know I’m not alone. These are struggles millions of people around the world deal with on a daily basis.’

 

How to deal with social anxiety and loneliness?

There are people surrounded by friends and loneliness.  Is it possible that people feel lonely and disconnected in the highly digitally ‘connected’ world? How to deal with loneliness in the midnight when you are alone?

 

Question for contemplation:  Does the problem or any misunderstanding of every interpersonal relationship have something to do with the lack of communication skills? Are we allowed to hide our old wounds?  Is there anyone whom you can give your full trust without being worried about being hurt, judged or betrayed?

Most people might agree that the quality of the intimate relationship counts over quantity. It is said that introverted people are more likely to suffer from social anxiety because of lack of social skills or having a sensitive mind. I would say, the introverts generally are those who are not talented at promoting themselves, especially in the public. Further, it might be stressful or frustrating for people to build new friendships if the fear of possible rejection.

 

Some people manage to maintain solid and long-term friendships from their school days, workplace or anywhere by chance. Nevertheless, most people gradually lost contact with old friends as they graduate or change their job or life track.

 

Margaret W. Lavigne 司馬儀

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