Social Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders. This can also be known as “social phobia,” a strong fear of being in social situations. Social anxiety can involve speaking to strangers, using public restrooms or even making eye contact with another person. When experiencing social anxiety at a young age, it can be commonly disregarded as shyness. While this may be true for a ten year old, the term is not as applicable in teens or adults.

Social anxiety is much more debilitating and should not be written off as being shy. There is a genuine fear that those with social anxiety experience. This fear is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, stomach aches and can often lead to panic attacks. These symptoms also come with deeper rooted issues like low self esteem or depression and can make it very difficult to live a normal life. Slowly building up confidence and healthy, supportive relationships are good ways to start coping with social anxiety. Easing yourself into social situations like attending small gatherings or speaking up in class are also important. Rather than thinking about how others may judge you, it is important to realize that everyone has their own issues and they are never judging you as harshly has you judge yourself—or at all for that matter. This idea is also applicable when it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone. The reaction or response that you receive is much less significant than the accomplishment of pushing yourself. Like most anxiety disorders, social anxiety stems from self doubt so the more you begin to trust and love yourself, the more this will reflect into other aspects of your life.

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