"It's sad, actually, because my anxiety keeps me from enjoying things as much as I should at this age."
– Amanda Seyfried
It's estimated that more than 15 million Americans suffer from social anxiety. This common form of anxiety is characterized by discomfort and/or fear of social interaction.
Whether it's speaking in front of an audience or just attending a birthday party, social anxiety can make otherwise simple tasks painfully difficult.
As a result, many people who suffer from this condition avoid social situations, choosing to remain isolated instead. So, how can you overcome social anxiety?
Social Anxiety is Normal During Childhood
It's important to note that developmental social anxiety is completely normal in children. It's a part of their social functioning development, with most children growing out of it.
If it persists, however, it could turn into a more serious problem, known as chronic social anxiety. Teenagers and adults often experience chronic social anxiety.
Create an Exposure Hierarchy
Many professional psychologists recommend creating an exposure hierarchy to better deal with social anxiety. Much like a ladder, this is essentially a list of situations that cause anxiety, along with a 1-100 measurement of how much anxiety you believe they will create.
If you are terrified of public speaking, for instance, place a 100 next to it. But if you are just slightly afraid of going out to dinner with friends, place an 8 or 9 next to it.
After interacting in these social situations, go back and write down your actual level of anxiety. Chances are you'll notice the perceived/expected anxiety was greater than the actual anxiety.
Eat More Fermented Foods
You might be surprised to learn that eating fermented foods can reduce social anxiety. According to several studies cited in an article by PsychologyToday, people who consume fermented foods exhibit fewer symptoms of social anxiety.
The general belief behind these studies is that fermented foods contain healthy bacteria and yeasts known as probiotics, which work to improve GABA receptor expression while subsequently calming overexcited nerve cells.
Furthermore, probiotics have a positive effect on the vagus nerve, enhancing its ability to ease stress and anxiety.
Here are some of top sources of probiotics:
- Yogurt (choose the Greek variety for maximum health benefits)
- Miso soup
- Sourdough bread
See a Hypnotherapist
Can hypnotherapy really help to overcome social anxiety? Absolutely! In fact, anxiety disorders are one of the most common reasons for seeking hypnotherapy. The University of Maryland Medical Center even states that hypnotherapy is "frequently used" to treat addiction and anxiety.
Hypnotherapy works by rewiring the brain's subconscious to view social situations in a different manner. With social anxiety, interacting with other people causes certain neurological firings in the brain that ultimately lead to anxiety and its associated symptoms.
Hypnotherapy rewires the brain's handling of neurological impulses so social interaction does not cause these effects.
Get the support you need to make important life changes. If you would like to compliment your therapy with an alternative treatment option (or need a place to start), you might consider trying hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy can help you sort out your feelings and give you the courage and strength you need to move on with your life, set new goals, and rebuild an always damaged self-esteem.
Call for your FREE consultation. No pressure. No obligation.
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