Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) affects as much as 13% of the population though it is commonly underdiagnosed. While it is one of the most common mental health disorders, many treatments exist – including natural remedies and self-help.
This article discusses the symptoms and causes of social anxiety as well as tips to ease social anxiety symptoms. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from minor social anxiety, read on for our tips and tricks to help ease the symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Social Anxiety?
While those who struggle with it understand the fear they experience does not match the level they should experience in a social situation, it is difficult to control. The symptoms of social anxiety vary from person to person, as do their severity, and they fall under three categories – cognitive, physical, and behavioral.
Some of the more common symptoms include the following:
- Anxiety over social situations with people you don’t know.
- Fear of being humiliated or that your anxiety will be noticed.
- Worrying excessively before an event occurs.
- Sweating more than usual
- Shaky hands and a racing heart
- Dry mouth
- Avoiding social situations
- Self-stemming or coping behaviors
What Causes Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety can start as early as childhood, affecting people well into adulthood. It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that vary in how they impact an individual. Social anxiety has been attributed to an imbalance of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which prompts feelings of calmness and relaxation. Other sufferers are triggered by bad experiences or situations they may have been exposed to at one point in their life.
Tips to Ease Social Anxiety
While more serious cases of social anxiety should be treated by a professional, mild symptoms may be curbed with some natural remedies and self-help strategies. Some tips to ease mild social anxiety symptoms without medication include the following:
Before attending a social event or a first date, do something that relaxes and settles your mind. Some ideas are going for a walk, listening to music, or talking with a friend. Staying ahead of irrational thoughts and fears will be easier if you get yourself into a relaxed state before attending the event.
Breathwork is also a great technique to use before and even during social events. Box breathing works by inhaling, holding, exhaling, and holding for a count of four. Repeat as many times as you need to.
Aromatherapy can also help you calm anxiety. Lavender is a calming scent associated with helping anxiety and stress. The most common delivery method is essential oils and other aroma compounds.
Mindfulness is a relaxation technique that focuses on the present moment. It helps one observe the present without judgment and detach from intrusive thoughts. With meditation and practice, it can significantly reduce social anxiety.
Visualization, like mindfulness, helps a person detach from anxiety by imagining calming visuals, sounds, and sensations. It doesn’t have to be real for your brain to get a serotonin boost. Imagine your toes in the sand or the feeling of the sun on your skin and feel your mood instantly boost.
The best way to get over fear is to expose yourself to it. Start slowly by attending smaller events or inviting new people to socialize with your regular friends. Bring a plus-one you trust to business functions for support, and gradually increase your exposure to social situations.
As you gain more exposure, you will learn your fears are not bigger than you, and you can meet new people who like being around you.
In addition to aromatherapy, herbs and botanicals may be ingested to assist with anxiety and stress. Many take these in teas, capsules, or through functional foods. Some botanicals that are connected to anxiety relief include the following:
- English peppermint oil
- Lemon balm
Maintaining good self-care habits is the springboard to good mental health. In addition to exercise and eating healthy, self-care also includes: getting enough sleep, recognizing your triggers, drinking enough water, advocating for your needs, setting healthy boundaries, and setting aside time to do things that make you happy.
Key Take Aways
- Many people suffer from mild to moderate social anxiety.
- There are natural ways to ease anxiety without having to medicate.
- Botanicals can be delivered in many forms.
- Self-care is the starting point for taking care of your mental health.
- You can build your tolerance slowly.
Soothing botanicals delivered in delectable chocolate bars are a great sidekick for any social situation. Try our Carefree Chocolate and melt away your anxiety.