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The uncontrollable stuttering, rapid heartbeats, weak knees, and a shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, then there is a chance that you have social anxiety. Social anxiety makes it difficult to do simple everyday tasks that involve communicating with others. One can see that as an incredible nuisance, as we have to communicate with others if we want to survive in society. When you overcome the heavy burden that is social anxiety, you will never have to worry about speaking in front of a crowd ever again. As technology separates us more and more from each other, we find it harder as a society to communicate others than we would a couple of decades ago. I imagine that over time, this will grow into an epidemic. So, I feel that learning how to overcome social anxiety is nearing to the point where it will be a requirement.
The first thing you need to do when it comes to overcoming social anxiety is recognizing that what you are experiencing is in fact social anxiety. Symptoms may include fear of speaking with others, depression, heart palpitations, sweating, and social isolation. Of course you need to understand that even if you recognize and have experienced these symptoms, it does not mean that you have social anxiety. When it comes to any mental or physical condition, self-diagnosis is not a sufficient way of recognizing a problem, as you may find yourself attempting relieve the problem with an insufficient solution. It’s best that you seek out a professional, who can give you a proper diagnosis to be completely be certain that you do indeed have social anxiety. Worst case scenario, you'll will have to take medication to relieve the social anxiety. Be sure to look at the alternatives before you decide to start taking medication.
Whether you have or have not been properly diagnosed, you can still try some exercises that prepare you for the specific situation which triggers these symptoms. This method can apply to nearly everything, buts it’s still necessary that you practice your social skills. Make a list of questions and your answers to them. I would use controversial topics such as politics, as those are topics which many people feel the most anxiety when they speak about them. Think of different ways to respond to the individual or group. Choose which response you like best, and practice giving that response. Give a clear answer, so that you will not have to worry about messing up when you speak. Another exercise would be to take deep breaths, lasting for 10-15 seconds. While doing this, raise your arms and stretch; this will help lower your heart rate and it help prevent a panic attack. The deep breathing exercise is also a way to combat hyperventilating, and that's definitely something to avoid. Unless you want to pass out in front of someone and then get rushed to the emergency room. I personally have never had that happen to me, but I know many people who have. Though I have experienced these symptoms. It was during Christmas, and we had the entire family together. Even though I was excited to open presents, I still felt very uncomfortable with the fact that all eyes would be on me. My dad had to walk me out of the room to calm me down. That was the first time he had ever seen how bad my anxiety was, and the fact that he had no idea is what made me feel even more anxious. That another thing you must take into account when trying to overcome social anxiety. You don’t have to tell everyone you meet about it, but you need to at least tell a close friend or family member. Having someone there can help to keep the anxiety from getting worse than it already is. But don’t become too dependent on others for calming your social anxiety. If you do, you will experience an even greater anxiety attack when they are not there to calm you down.
One last thing you need to do: you need to start speaking face-to-face. This is most important, as you are doing the very thing you’ve been having a hard time doing. If you truly want to overcome your social anxiety, then you must face it directly. Do not worry if you mess up; improvise if you need to. If it's just small talk, repeat yourself, and try not to dwell too much on the fact that you made in error. You shouldn't worry all of the time if you've said the wrong thing. Simply acknowledge the mistake, and carry on.
When it comes to many people with social anxiety, including myself, social anxiety seems like an endless battle in which your enemy does not lose, you just keep it at bay for the time being. In other words, it will likely always be there, but whether or not you can control it is up to you. Social anxiety is not an easy to thing to overcome, but through hard work and dedication you will be able to have that sense of relief. As you become more and more familiar with communicating with others, you will find yourself a lot happier than you were before.