Anxiety disorders are one of the most prevalent mental health issues today. They may impact how we behave, how we form relationships, how we solve problems, and how we take care of our day-to-day lives.
As a result, anxiety can become overwhelming, and may make it difficult to cope with certain tasks, settings and environments without it all getting a bit too much. But what about social anxiety? How can this impact us, and how we try to tackle the day? Let’s find out.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety, or social phobia, is a mental health disorder where you suffer from overwhelming feelings of stress, nervousness and fear towards social situations and social interactions.
Social anxiety is one of the most common forms of anxiety, and people of all backgrounds and ages can suffer from it. That being said, social anxiety typically rears its head at first during the teenage years, as this is a very frustrating and transitional time in our lives. We may have to move schools, meet new people, perform in social settings and outings, which can be a little overwhelming.
For the majority of people, this social phobia may lessen over time as they grow older, and it may not become an issue. However, for others, social anxiety can only get worse if not treated. So, what are some symptoms of social anxiety?
Symptoms of Social Anxiety
While we may all get a little anxious in social situations, or feel nervous before a big event where we will see lots of people we know, social anxiety is much more than this feeling. It is an overwhelming fear of social situations that can impact your work or school performance, your self-confidence, your relationships, and how you build friendships.
Some signs of social anxiety are:
- Anxiety about everyday activities, such as speaking to strangers, talking on the phone, making appointments, working, seeing people, or everyday activities
- Avoidance of social activities such as parties, social settings, or dates
- Intense fear of being criticized or made fun of
- Avoiding eye contact with others
- Low self-confidence and self esteem
- Panic attacks
- Constantly in fear that you are going to embarrass yourself in some way
- Sweating, blushing, and increased heart rate
In addition to some of these symptoms, some with social anxiety may also suffer from mental health issues such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder or others.
How Does Social Anxiety Impact Social Problem Solving?
Social anxiety not only impacts how you think, act and behave in social settings, but it can also affect your problem-solving skills. For example, social problem solving requires you to adapt to the situation and the problem, and come up with effective solutions towards the issue.
When you have anxiety, you may struggle to think about or focus on anything but the current worry at hand. This means that you cannot clear your mind enough to focus on the problem and come up with an effective solution.
In addition to this, when you suffer from social anxiety, your sense of threat is heightened. You feel fearful of social settings, and you go into fight-or-flight mode. This means that the brain is in a maladaptive mode, where you will view the social problem as a negative thing, and you are therefore unable to adapt and construct an appropriate response to solve the problem.
It can be helpful to get your social anxiety under control. This can be done with the help of medication and treatment. If you are concerned about your social anxiety having a negative impact on your life and social skills, reach out to us for anxiety therapy.