7 things people with social anxiety disorder go through

By Pallavi Kandhari, Freelance Contributor 

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Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. Social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. A person suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) may sometimes think that people would ‘judge’ them if they talk about this fear. But it is the most common anxiety disorder with up to 10% of people being affected at some point in their life. So, you are not alone. Here are some points every person going through SAD can relate to-

1) Excessive worry about one’s looks

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They tend to spend more time in getting ready than what an average person would do and that is because of the fear of being negatively “judged” by people they don’t really know… So, they need to look their best every time they step out of the house in order to avoid the fear of being negatively evaluated. And as Eleanor Roosevelt said rightly,” No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
2) Being the center of attention is a NIGHTMARE

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Have to give a presentation at work, school or college? Have to give a speech? The mere thought of being the center of attention is equivalent to a nightmare and cripples them with fear and anxiety. They are afraid that what if people notice, how anxious they are? Sweating, trembling and other physiological reactions come naturally when asked to give a speech or presentation.
3) Shyness is a pervasive personal state

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Having any sort of conversation with any stranger or sometimes even known people triggers shyness related anxiety and they begin to having irrational thoughts that they might end up getting judged, mocked or negatively percieved in some way. However it is important to remember that many people who are shy do not have the negative emotions and feelings that accompany social anxiety disorder. They live a normal life, and do not view shyness as a negative trait.
4) Hesitance and low self confidence tend to be mostly around the corner

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People with social anxiety usually (but not always) tend to have a low self esteem due to the fear of being rejected or being mocked at. They try to avoid conversations as much as possible in order to avoid being judged or evaluated. They constantly have the fear of being criticized and disapproved. They sometimes hesitate to take decisions and risk ending up coming across as ill-equipped in handling pressure situations.
5) Ordering food is not meant for them.

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Ordering food in person or on phone can be very stressful as it involves taking a decision and then interacting with a stranger. When they go to a restaurant they constantly feel that people will judge and laugh at them. Sometimes they may have the fear of pronouncing something wrong and that raises their anxiety even before they order as they feel that they may end up sounding silly.
6) Escape becomes their best friend

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Leaving a party, social gathering or a family function after spending a brief amount of time is very common. They are the last ones to enter and the first one to leave. Escaping from these situations when anxiety raises can sometimes help them to calm down and they have no regrets of leaving early or escaping from anxiety provoking social gatherings.
7) They become their own best friends

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With the constant fear of being negatively evaluated or criticized by people, they mostly avoid their company and start to enjoy their own company. They become their own best friends and end up spending a lot of time with themselves which sometimes curbs the anxiety provoking thoughts and make them a feel a bit relaxed.

 

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7 most common negative thought patterns and how to handle them

by Avnie Garg, Freelance Contributor

All of us in life go through failures, doubts, criticisms which make us think negatively. These thought patterns can prove to be dangerous for our mental health and eventually may negatively affect our personal and social life. It is important to realize your negative thought patterns to live a peaceful and happy life. Following are some examples that you may like to go through:-

  1. Only bad things happen to me:

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Many of us generalize the life events and think that this is how things have happened till now and this is how they will continue to be. We start pitying ourselves and create the thought that things might never get better.
How to handle: realize that you may be only considering negative aspects of all that happens to you. Try some gratitude exercises which will help you to thank all the good things in life.

2. What if this happens? :

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We may overthink many trivial things which do not even require our attention. We tend to think the most extreme consequence of a particular situation that we are going through in life. This muddles our thought process and we end up taking undue stress.
How to handle: realize that this is doing you a lot of harm. Train yourself to ‘go-with-the-flow’. Engage in useful stuff that prevents you from overthinking.

3. “What could have been”:

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Some people contemplate a lot about what could their lives have been, had a particular thing not happened. They delve into the past just too much. This keeps bad memories intact and creates emotional and professional problems.
How to handle: ask yourself if your thoughts are really true! You may think that other alternative in life would have been better but you are ignoring the cons related with it. Try being happy in the present and work hard for things to happen your way from now on.

4. I can’t do it :

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Questioning one’s abilities creates feelings of self-doubt. We start losing faith in ourselves. This thought is a big obstacle in achieving success in life.
How to handle: practice self- compassion. Be kind to yourself and think instead of your accomplishments. Find out what you are good at and hone your skills in that area.

5.’must/should’ statements:

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“Everyone should love me”, “I must be present there” etc. are some of the unrealistic thoughts we create in our mind. It is essential to refrain from such thoughts. It affects the way you think about yourself and the world.
How to handle: flexibility rules the world, rigidity does not. Counter question yourself next time you think of such statements. For instance, “why should everyone love me?” tell yourself that you loving yourself after all is the most important thing.

6.All-or-none thinking:

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It happens when you think at the extreme ends. Example- “there is nothing good about my job” or “Leela is worst person I’ve come across in life”. So you think no in-between. It is also called black and white thinking.
How to handle: try thinking the pros and cons of everyone and everything you get extreme thoughts about. This will help you to balance your viewpoint. And take some time before you make judgments about others.

7.I’m so unlucky:

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This thought may be the outcome of the people around you (your mom tells she has been unwell since she gave birth to you) or you might have created them in your head(I’ve never won a lottery in my life). Incidents taking place now and then reinforce this thought.
How to handle: realize that luck is just a probability. Try affirmations like “I am fortunate to have a so and so thing”, “I am really lucky for myself”.

The most important thing is to firstly identify your negative thoughts, know that they are not permanent and then distort them one by one. You can also write them down on a piece of paper and destroy the paper after that. This can help relieve you!