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social anxiety at work

When you have social anxiety disorder work can be stressful and it can affect your productivity. While this is all too familiar to sufferers, this was also the insight of Dr Lynn Bufka, a licensed psychologist, when sharing advice on treating social anxiety and stress related problems in the workplace.

Her comment was in response to questions during the “Ask Me Anything” segment on Reddit about coping with stress. Social anxiety can be at its most acute at work and often people who suffer from social anxiety don’t only put their careers at risk but their personal lives as well. There are also many people who spent months or years struggling to get a job because their social anxiety prevents them calling potential employers for an interview or showing up for interview at all.

Social anxiety in the workplace is often misunderstood

A lot of people don’t understand what it is like to be living with social anxiety. Some even criticize them with lack of self motivation and laziness. But motivating yourself is hard when your mind is filled with negative thoughts.

If you are currently working, social anxiety can also decrease chances of promotion and might affect your performance because you are not comfortable in the company of your colleagues. This may lead your co workers thinking that you are unfriendly and mean. There are times that you are unable to complete any task because you are too focused on your anxiety.

While this all sounds doom and gloom, the good news is that there are strategies you can use to reduce your social anxiety and feel more relaxed and comfortable at work:

1. Slow down your breathing – relax and give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and place your hand on your abdomen. Do this for five seconds and repeat as many times until your chest stops feeling tight and your mind has stopped racing.

2. Make small talk – people love to talk about themselves, so focus your attention on what your colleagues or clients want to talk about rather than yourself.

3. Practice at home – think of the stressful things that you are anxious about. Practice them with people whom you are comfortable with, like your family members and friends.

4. Remember that you are not the center of everyone’s attention – we are always worrying about what other people might think if we say this or that. But we don’t know that the other person is also worrying about themselves.

If you suffer from social anxiety, I know these tips are easier said than done. The key is to think about including them in a long-term strategy for overcoming social anxiety, where you have the goal of feeling confident and relaxed around people and then plot the steps towards getting there. This can include getting in shape, taking up more hobbies and interests, gradual exposure to social situations and forming mutually supportive friendships with other people that understand what you’re going through, whether in a live support group or in the online world.

Originally posted 2014-08-14 14:49:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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You feel the way that you think, and now UK school children are being taught how to think more positively to help them cope with the stresses of teenage life. Initially, 1500 11-year olds from 22 schools are being given lessons on how to assess situations objectively, how to be assertive and many other skills that can help them cope better with emotionally difficult situations. If the scheme is a success then it could be expanded into class rooms on a national scale.

The scheme uses lessons taught in the USA by the Penn Resiliency Program, based in Philadelphia, which adopts tried and tested cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to ‘detect inaccurate thoughts, to evaluate the accuracy of those thoughts, and to challenge negative beliefs by considering alternative interpretations’.

Teaching children cognitive behavioural therapy could help them avoid problems later on in life

Whilst some might remember their school days with fond memories, childhood can be a difficult period because of peer pressure, the desire to fit in and having to cope with all the struggles of teenage life.

Psychotherapists believe that it’s during childhood that you form your belief system: opinions on yourself, other people and the world around you. Upsetting childhood experiences, such as being neglected or bullied, can lead to problems later on in life because of the negative associations you attach to similar situations.

So equipping impressionable school children with the skills to identify inaccurate, unhelpful thoughts and then to replace them with healthier, happier ways of thinking could prove invaluable in helping them grow into secure, confident adults.

Treatment for anxiety and depression is a global issue

In a 2006 international survey UK children ranked bottom for happiness and well being. Some blame celebrity culture, with its focus on money and possessions, for giving children an unhelpful value system (although the problem is far more complicated than a single root cause). However, teaching them how to feel confident and secure, without needing the latest designer clobber or the approval of others, could be coming at just the right time.

Awareness on the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy, for treating anxiety and depression, is spreading all the time. The UK’s ‘happiness tsar’ Professor Richard Layard even believes it could help people living on benefits to get back to work.

With depression the world’s biggest mental health problem, teaching more people cognitive behavioural therapy (whether self taught, with a therapist or in a group) could make a positive impact on not just on the lives of children but society in general.

Originally posted 2008-09-08 17:02:59. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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getting over social anxiety

One of the (many) problems with social anxiety disorder is that it can affect your motivation to get out there and do things. The fear of negative evaluation by others might mean you prefer the safety of your bed, rather than face (usually misinterpreted) stares of disapproval.

However, human beings by nature need to be stimulated. And avoiding activities will simply make you feel worse rather than better. Being isolated can make you feel depressed. So the best antidote to changing the way you feel is to change the way you think and behave.

If you lie in bed all day waiting for the motivation/desire/energy to do something then you’ll be waiting a longtime. Instead you’ll find that doing literally anything other than nothing will raise your mood, boost your confidence and give you the drive to be more active.

Why am I so lazy?

First of all, don’t make the mistake of ‘labelling’ yourself ‘lazy’. As a human being you’re too complicated to define yourself by a single word or phrases. You might be lazy ‘sometimes’. But that doesn’t mean you have some sort of genetic imprint that prevents you from getting dressed and doing stuff.

Here are a few of the common excuses (particularly if you suffer from social anxiety disorder) that might pop into your head to avoid getting stuff done:

  • ‘I don’t feel like it’ – it’s a myth to think that you have to wait to ‘feel’ like doing something before you can do it. It’s only after experiencing the rewards of achieving something that you’ll find the motivation to do more. Even little things, like cooking yourself dinner rather than eating dry toast, will improve your mood because of the beneficial outcome from your activity.
  • ‘I’m too depressed’ – you feel the way that you think. So if you lie in bed all day staring at the ceiling tormenting yourself over your latest (perceived) social faux pas then you’re not going to feel like going on a 10k bike ride. The best way of fighting your depression is to change the way you think. Being active and pursuing fulfilling goals, whether it’s teaching yourself Spanish or learning to cook, is what will banish the black clouds in the long run.
  • ‘I might fail’ – So what? Nobody is good at everything. And we all have our strengths and weaknesses in life. Thinking you shouldn’t play tennis or attend a job interview because you might not get the outcome you want is only going to be a self fulfilling prophesy. To get better at things you have to practice. And there are enough hobbies, sports and jobs out there for you to find one you get satisfaction from.

Remember that thinking you must win at something or must get the job is a rigid way of looking at things. You should give yourself some flexibility and have preferences for the outcomes you’d like rather than rigid success/failure demands.

So how do I get myself out of bed and combat social anxiety disorder?

A tried and tested method of beating the bedridden blues is taught by Dr David Burns in ‘Feeling Good’. He suggests writing out a time table for what you’d like to get done each day.

This can include the minor things, such as getting dressed and reading the paper, right up to shopping or attending a dinner party. At the end of the day you then rate out of five the satisfaction you found in the completion of each task. The easier tasks might only rate as a one, but the more demanding challenges could rate as a four or five.

What you should find is that the sense of accomplishment you get from scoring your activity each day will drive you to do more. Having a schedule also helps you to structure your time and keep yourself occupied.

Gradually, you should also find that you start pushing yourself to keep improving your score and pursuing ever more demanding tasks.

The list of things you could do is limitless. But here are a few ideas:

  • Learn a new musical instrument
  • Learn a new language
  • Read a book (I’d highly recommend ‘Feeling Good’)
  • Take up jogging (exercise is a great anxiety reliever)
  • Start an eBay shop for some extra cash
  • Decorate your bedroom to create a bright, warm atmosphere
  • Learn to cook spicy Thai dishes
  • Start writing a blog (doing something creative is always recommended for providing an outlet for expressing your social anxiety disorder)
  • Practice meditating (also recommended for anxiety treatment)

So, if you’re currently lying in bed, feeling glum and reading this on your laptop – start writing a list of all the active things you could be doing.

Remember that you feel the way that you think. So start giving yourself a daily dose of uplifting brainwaves from pursuing fulfilling goals, and banish the bedridden blues for good.

thaifood

[Photo courtesy of SqueakyMarmot]

Originally posted 2008-06-26 18:38:10. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

You can overcome social anxiety disorder

If you suffer from social anxiety disorder, simple everyday activities, such as going to the shops or standing on a crowded bus, can seem daunting. Worrying about what other people think of you and if something bad will happen blights the lives of millions every day.

Thankfully, I learned to overcome my anxiety through learning more about the mental triggers and the underlying causes. I created this website to share what worked for me in the hope that it can help others overcome their social anxiety disorder (and without medication!) and live a happier, more fulfilled life free from the fear of strangers.

I’m guessing you arrived here whilst hunting for info on social anxiety disorder. Answers to questions like ‘Why does it happen to me?’, ‘Why do I feel afraid of people I don’t even know, am I crazy?’ and, most importantly, ‘What can I do about it?’.

The reason why I know this is because I did exactly the same thing myself a few years ago.

Social anxiety disorder had put a dark cloud over my life since my teenage years.

Simple everyday things, like catching a bus, walking around the shops or going out to meet friends, were a struggle because of overpowering feelings of nervousness, panic and fear over who I might meet or what might happen .

To combat the symptoms I used to ‘self medicate’ to get through social situations. But this just made me feel ten times worse later on.

Eventually my life reached a point where I had a simple choice – continue suffering in silence and simply coping day to day, or do something about it.

So off I went to see my doctor for advice on what I should do.

Unfortunately, as has happened to many people suffering from social anxiety disorder, I was swiftly prescribed a course of beta blockers to help ‘calm me down’.

Suffice to say this wasnt the answer I was looking for – unless you want to feel like a subdued, unemotional robot all day.

So I decided to look for some answers of my own.

Changing the Way You Think WILL Change the Way You Feel

It was while looking into the causes of anxiety that I started finding out about the more specific symptom of social anxiety disorder.

After reading through a number of books on the subject and blogs of other sufferers, I started to discover more about the condition – what causes it and what you can do to overcome it.

I then set about applying what I’d learned to my daily life and making changes to the way I thought about things, how I reacted to situations and making lifestyle changes so I became more active and raised my self esteem.

I wasnt cured overnight. But with practice and patience, the changes I made to how I thought about the people around me and how I reacted to social situations helped me to gradually reduce the fear, nervous thoughts and uncomfortable feelings of social anxiety disorder.

I can still feel anxious from time to time. But my social anxiety disorder is nowhere near the levels it was. It no longer stops me from going where I want to go or doing the things I want to do. And my life has vastly improved as a result.

Rather than being stuck at home, I’m now out living my life, taking part in activities like rock climbing and trekking, and I can even go out and meet friends without worrying what other people are thinking.

I created this website to help others struggling with social anxiety disorder by writing about the strategies and tactics that worked for me in the hope they can help other people as well.

Originally posted 2012-01-05 18:58:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Taking medication for social anxiety should always be done after consulting with a doctor and fully understanding the side effects and if it's the best option.

social anxiety medication

If you suffer from social anxiety then the lure of a magic pill that can make your fears and worries vanish is highly appealing. And social anxiety medication does actually exist.

There are a variety of medications that are available to cure anxiety disorders, including but not limited to traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants and beta-blockers. But before taking any kind of medication, you must first consider the fact that medication cannot cure anxiety entirely or over the long-term.

Social anxiety medication is at it’s most beneficial when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy to address the underlying thoughts driving social phobia. This is because social anxiety medication can offer temporary relief to the symptoms so that it’s easier to put the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy into practice when trying to overcome social anxiety disorder.

Side effects of social anxiety medication

Just like any other over the counter drugs, antidepressants and other social anxiety drugs have their own share of side effects. These drugs are not safe for everyone even when used with precautions. They can lead to complications when combined with other substances, especially when you are using them for a long period of time. That’s why it is important to weigh carefully the pros and cons before taking any social anxiety medication, which must only ever be taken after speaking to a doctor and getting a prescription.

If you think you are considering taking medication for social anxiety disorder then there are five things to think about:

1. Be patient. The effects of anxiety medications is gradual, it would take time until you can feel their full therapeutic effect. It can often takes time and patience to find the drugs that works best for you so you will have to work closely with your doctor to find the right dosage and evaluate its effectiveness.

2. Avoid Alcohol. Avoid dangerous drugs interaction, do not mix alcohol with any anxiety medications. The after effect is lethal, even in less toxic doses it can cause poor coordination and impaired thinking, increasing the risk of motor vehicle incidents and other injuries.

3. Monitor your medication response. Everyone has varying reactions to medications that’s why it is important to keep a record of your reaction to your anxiety medication, these includes the physical and emotional changes that you are experiencing after taking the medication. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery if you are taking benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and et al., wait until you know how the drugs affect you. Always remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has weighed the benefit to you is greater that the risk of side effects.

4. Talk to your doctor. Be open and honest about side effects your anxiety drug is causing. Don’t be afraid to discuss problems or concerns. And while you should never stop your anxiety medication without talking to your doctor first, ultimately the decision is up to you. If you’re unhappy with how the pills make you feel, ask your doctor to help you taper off.

5. Continue Your Therapy. Medication can control the symptoms of anxiety, but it doesn’t treat the underlying problem. Therefore, it’s crucial to pursue therapy or some other form of anxiety treatment. Therapy can help you get to the root of your anxiety problem and develop better coping skills.

So before taking any kind of social anxiety medication, think carefully about these five points and then consult a doctor, psychologist or other medical professional for further advice.

Disclaimer

All advice on this site is merely advice. I am not a trained psychologist and you should always consult a doctor or other medical professional is social anxiety is adversely affecting your life and you have reached the stage where you are considering whether to take social anxiety medication.

Originally posted 2014-12-10 09:35:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Deep breathing business man

You may not think about breathing during the day because it is automatic. But while we do it involuntarily,  breathing is the bridge between our mind and body and a key to our health and wellness. Oxygen is vital to help our brains function properly and assess situations objectively. For this reason, learning how to regulate and improve your breathing can help you stay relaxed when you can sense your social anxiety prickling your self consciousness.

Breathing is also one of the five principles of yoga, as breathing brings more oxygen to the blood and to the brain and helps the prevention of major diseases and cure minor illness. Breathing is also a good way to get rid of waste products and toxins from our body.

It needs to be noted that the effects of breathing techniques on social anxiety disorder have not been studied in a controlled clinical setting. But many experts encourage those who have social anxiety to incorporate breathing exercises into their therapy, as breathing exercises helps reduce self consciousness and increases more relaxed state of mindfulness.

Whether you are on your bed, your office or even when out in public, deep breathing can help to reduce feelings of stress and panic. The following breathing exercises can help  you keep calm and carry on with your day.

1. Equal Breathing or Sama Vritti

This is a good breathing exercise for beginners. One major benefit of Sama Vritti is its ability to calm the body and focus the mind.
How it’s done:

• Choose a comfortable sitting position and cross your legs.
• Close your eyes and focus on your natural breathing.
• Slowly count to four as you inhale and also count to four when you exhale.
• Continue this breathing exercise for a few minutes, you can also experiment on increasing the counting.

This breathing technique is particularly effective before going to bed. So if you have a hard time sleeping, instead of counting sheep try doing this breathing exercise.

2. Abdominal Breathing Technique

This is considered as a deep breathing exercise, the single most important coping technique for panic disorder or social phobia.
How It’s done:

• Place your one hand on your chest and the other on your belt line.
• Your hands tell you what part of your body and what muscles you are using to breathe.
• Take a deep breath through your nose to ensure that your diaphragm inflates enough air to stretch the lungs.
• Take a pause, you decide whatever time feels comfortable to resume.
• Open your mouth. Exhale through your mouth by pulling your belly in.
• Pause again.
• Continue and repeat the process as you wish.

You can do this any time and any place comfortable for you. This is a good stress reliever before any major exams or a nerve wrecking presentation you are about to take when you fear your social anxiety may be about to kick in and you need to calm it down.

3. Nadi Shodhana or Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is a simple but powerful technique that deeply relaxes your mind and body.
How It’s Done:

• Sit in a comfortable crosslegged position.
• Use your right hand. Hold your thumb over your right nostril.
• Inhale deeply through your left nostril.
• When you are at the peak of your inhalation, close of your left nostril with your third and fourth fingers, and then exhale smoothly through your right nostril.
• Inhale through your left nostril.
• Continue alternating the process 5 to 10 times.

If you want to refocus your mind into something or re energize, this is the right technique for that. Just don’t try this before going to bed, because it has the tendency to keep people awake.

4. Kapalabhati or “Skull Shining Breath”

Also considered as pranayama practice, which means a purification and preparation exercise before doing pranayama proper.
How It’s Done:

• Sit in a comfortable position on a mat or chair.
• Rest your hands on your knees.
• Gently close your eyes.
• Breathe normally for some time.
• Exhale once every two or three seconds for about ten to twelve times in the first round.
• Notice how the inhale happens automatically.
• Wait 30-60 seconds with everyday breathing to see how things are going.
• Do one to three rounds of 10-12 breaths (exhales) each.
• Relax with normal breathing.

It’s best to do this after you wake up every morning, it will warm up you up and shake off that musty energy and wake up the brain. However, if you are suffering from cardial problems, nasal obstruction, cold or any severe respiratory infection, it is better to consult your doctor first.

5. Progressive Relaxation Technique

This is the best technique when you want to reduce your overall body tension.

How It’s Done:
• Close your eyes and focus on tensing and relaxing each muscle group from your body for two to three seconds each.
• Start with the feet and toes, move up to the knees, thighs, rear, chest, arms, hands, neck, jaw and eyes. Make sure to maintain deep, slow breaths all throughout the process.
• To keep on track you can breathe in through the nose while the muscles tense, then breathe out through the mouth on release.

You can do this for just 5 minutes if you go for the shortened version, you just need a comfortable place, some privacy and a few minutes of your time.

6. Visualization Breathing Exercises

This is not only found to be great as a social anxiety stress reliever but is also often used  to heal on minor ailments like headaches and pains.
How It’s Done:

• Close Your Eyes and Relax. Let your breathing get become slower and deeper.
• Practice Stress Relief breathing. Breathe from your diaphragm or belly instead of from your shoulders.
• Visualize. As you breathe in, imagine that relaxation is coming into your body and flowing through your limbs, reaching every part of you. When you exhale, imagine that all the stress from your body is being exhaled. After a few minutes, you should feel fuller of peace and the stress in your body should be reduced.
• Keep Breathing. You can continue this exercise for five or twenty minutes and helps you return to your normal activities with a renewed sense of strength and serenity.

This breathing exercise is very helpful for those who are having trouble sleeping.

These six different exercises can provide you with welcome relief at any time during the day. So if you start to feel socially anxious at work or in a public place, allow yourself to take 5 minutes to practice breathing properly and allow the oxygen work its magic in helping you feel calmer and more relaxed.

Originally posted 2014-09-30 15:04:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

feel happy reduce social anxiety disorder

It’s believed that, in most cases, social anxiety is driven by mindset, rather than a chemical imbalance. It tends to go hand in hand with negative thinking, and interpreting situations as being much worse than they really are. As such, it’s a good idea to work on improving your mental processes if you want to overcome social anxiety for good.

Abraham Lincoln once said that “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So if you are already feeling depressed, settling for feeling down won’t fix the problem. Why not choose to be happy instead? You won’t lose a single thing if you chose to smile.

I know this is easier said than done, but learning how to maintain a happy state of mind is key to being able to overcome social anxiety for good through correcting the negative thoughts that drive it. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way, and there are many other healthy habits you can adopt that will improve your mood and reduce your social anxiety as a result.

Here are six habits for improving the way you think, feel and behave in social situations:

1. Waking up early

Early risers are generally happier and healthier than those who prefer the night life, this is according to a study by the researchers from the University of Toronto. “Society’s expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person’s schedule.” says Renee Biss, a graduate student research at the University of Toronto.

I always consider myself as an early riser. I love the fresh atmosphere in the morning, I notice that I am more enthusiastic to face the day whenever I wake up early. I accomplish more and everything seems to be easy. I don’t like to rush myself to office or scramble myself to catch a meeting.

2. Daily Exercise

Maintaining a moderate exercise everyday will not only help you sleep better, keep your heart healthy and keep your body in shape but also helps to lighten up your mood the entire day. When you are physically active you will have a sense of accomplishment in attaining your fitness goals and most likely inspired to accomplish more during the day.

According to a study conducted at Penn State, people who are more physically active have also shown greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less active physically. “David Conroy, a professor of kinesiology also suggest that it is more effective to set short term goals in exercising to stay motivated, to be able to keep up with the program that they started.

3. Make a habit of Disengaging yourself

Giving yourself a time to regain your strength back after a long day of exhaustion at work is important to be equally happy when you return home at night. There are times that stress gets you and people who are often stressed out during the day have difficulty sleeping at night. It’s because they did not give themselves a time to disengage themselves from their stressors.

The book entitled “The Power of Full Engagement” by Loehr and Schwarz talked about how to disengage yourself periodically and seek renewal to fully achieve happiness and prosperity in life.

4. Help Others

A survey conducted by Do Good Live Well Survey in 2010 has found out that most of those who volunteered have shown a positive impact on their lives. Most of the volunteer feel that their participation made them physically healthier, lowered their stress levels and improved their sense of well-being.

I can speak from my own experience that unbelievable feeling of happiness whenever I participate with the feeding program of my church. It increases my satisfaction for a moment, it gives me a sense of meaning and purpose.

5. Learn new skills

A key to happiness is when you don’t lack enthusiasm to tackle each day with eagerness and excitement. Maintaining that level of enthusiasm is hard, but by learning some new stuff and a new skill perhaps will give you a new goal to fill.

6. Have multiple ways to “WIN” each day

Challenging yourself to achieve your short term goals would give you a complete boost on your ego and would feel accomplished at the end of the day. Of course there are always blunders that would make it more difficult for you. But instead of feeling disappointed and giving up, why not challenge yourself to win them over.

Overcoming social anxiety disorder comes from adopting healthy ways of thinking and making small changes that raise your self esteem.  It can be a long process,but through adopting habits, like those listed above, you can learn how to improve your mood and reduce your social anxiety for good.

N.B. Remember, if social anxiety disorder is adversely affecting your life and making you feel depressed then you should always consult a medical professional, like a doctor or psychologist for professional advice. The severity of social anxiety can vary tremendously between individuals and what helps some people overcome it might not be as effective for others.

Originally posted 2014-10-22 21:48:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

exercising to reduce social anxiety disorder

We’re told all the time about the benefits of being active. Working out makes you fit, builds muscle and helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle. There have been countless studies on the advantages of exercise and what it can do for your body. In fact, many clinical psychologists use exercise as a key part of their treatment for depression, general anxiety and the more specific social anxiety disorder.

This is because research has proven that exercising on a regular basis may boost a depressed person’s outlook and thought processes by helping them adopt a meaningful activity that provides a sense of accomplishment. It can provide you with something worthwhile in your life and help raise your self worth as well as improve your self confidence. Better yet, it gives you a new perspective on how to approach your problems in a goal driven manner.

If you’re not already convinced of the benefits of exercise for overcoming social anxiety disorder, here are 8 reasons why exercise can make you feel better and reduce your social phobia as a result:

1. Reduce Stress

Perhaps the most common mental benefit of exercise is stress relief. If you are having a rough day, at home or in your office, then taking time out to exercise can work wonders. Whether you’re up to working out at the gym or would prefer to stroll through a quiet park, taking a break to exercise can help free your mind from the daily chaos of busy life. It’s believed that exercise increases norepinephrine, which is a chemical that can help the brain deal with stress more efficiently and focus better.

2. Boost Happy Chemicals

In severe cases, social anxiety disorder may be treated with antidepressant medication. However, some cases studies have shown that working out may be just as effective as antidepressant medication. A certain chemical called “dopamine” plays a huge role as a neurotransmitter in the brain that is required for feelings of pleasure and happiness, and the best way to increase dopamine production is to exercise.

3. Improve Self-Confidence

Having low self esteem will have a negative effect on all areas of our life. Your relationships are at risk as well as your career and your life aspirations. Working out helps you to feel better physically and mentally, and to develop the positive attitude and emotional stamina needed to take on personal goals and overcome the negative thoughts that drive social anxiety disorder.

4. Enjoy the Great Outdoors

If you don’t fancy going to a gym, then you can exercise in the great outdoors.  Instead of running on your treadmill, why not run a few laps around your neighborhood or go to the nearest park where you get to enjoy the scenery, get fresh air, notice the changing seasons, weather and enjoy nature. Getting much exposure outside under the sun has lots of benefits like Vitamin D that can lighten your mood and  reduce social anxiety disorder symptoms. Aside from that, studies suggest that you can burn more calories when you exercise outdoors.

5. Prevent Cognitive Decline

Age is one of the factors why we go through a cognitive decline. Our brains will gradually become less precise and cloudy over time. Diseases like Alzheimer’s are becoming worryingly more common in old age, where you lose primary brain functions like memory. Exercise can help avoid  cognitive decline out might help in preventing  to prevent the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as we aged. Exercise paired with a balance diet helps improve memory and keeps your thinking, reasoning and learning skills sharp.

6. Alleviate Feelings of Social Anxiety

When you work out or jog for just a few minutes, warm and fuzzy chemicals called endorphine are released during and after your workout which can help you to think in a calmer, more positive manner that naturally helps to reduce the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings of social anxiety disorder.

7. Get More Done

According to some research, people who manage to include workout as their daily habit are more productive and enthusiastic than their inactive peers. No matter how busy your schedule gets, always take time to exercise whether it’s first thing in the morning, in your lunch break or after work to stay more focused on a daily basis.

8. Form New Friendships

Finding a workout buddy is a good way to push yourself when training and to form a new friendship. As well as helping to motivate you when you feel too lazy to exercise, having a workout buddy gives you an opportunity to socialize without being under pressure to be entertaining, to have something interesting to say or any of the other false pressures you might put on yourself if you suffer from social anxiety disorder.

From my own personal experience, I can tell you that regular exercise was one of the key components of my strategy for overcoming social anxiety. The combination of setting yourself new goals, the sense of satisfaction from seeing the improvements in my health and the regular boost of endorphines was crucial in boosting my self esteem and reducing my anxiety of social situations.

So I highly recommend that you dig out some trainers or look up some fitness routines on YouTube and improving your health while reducing your social anxiety at the same time.

Originally posted 2014-10-12 18:08:16. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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social phobia

I remember when my social anxiety was at its peak going outside could seem daunting. The solitude and security of home was far more preferable to running the gauntlet of (perceived) threats and negative stares from going outdoors. But staying insider forever isn’t an option for most people, unless you’re a reclusive millionaire that can hide in their luxury apartment without having to go to work. For this reason, social anxiety can often be confused with agoraphobia, when the two conditions are actually different branches of the anxiety disorders tree.

What is agoraphobia?

As you probably already know, social phobia is a fear of social situations and the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings they can trigger. The most up-to-date research believes this is due to our bodies perceiving threats inaccurately and then triggering our ‘fight or flight’ mode. The result is that our heart rate increases, we become more aware of our surroundings and we feel anxious in anticipation of an imminent threat. It’s also believed that social anxiety disorder commonly develops during childhood, as a result of negative social experiences that cause the formation of an inaccurate belief system on the threat posed by other people.

Agoraphobia, on the other hand, isn’t a fear of people but rather a fear of having a panic attack in an open space without the ability to escape. It can be triggered whenever people with agoraphobia feel as though they are in a situation they can’t control, and no longer feel the security of their home surroundings. Like social anxiety, when sufferers are outside of their comfort zone then their ‘fight of flight’ mode is triggered, leading to a sense of panic, anxiety and fear of perceived threats (which don’t actually exist).

Agoraphobia is believed to develop as a result of genetics, life experiences and individual temperament, which cause people to reach a heightened sense of anxiety and a fear of having a panic attack in public spaces. Unlike social anxiety, people with agoraphobia can function perfectly normally around other people in their own home, where they feel safe. They can chat, laugh and feel relaxed around strangers. It’s only when they step out of the door that their threat impulses kick in and they start to panic and feel afraid.

While the conditions differ, treatment is the same 

Social anxiety and agoraphobia both fall underneath the umbrella term of anxiety disorders. While the triggers are different the symptoms and treatment are the same. Both social phobia and agoraphobia can be treated through changing the subconscious belief system that drives them. Both conditions can have a wide range of severities, and as such the treatment required needs to be tailored for the individual.

As always, the first step is to visit your doctor (or in severe cases they should be able to come to your home) for a diagnosis and professional advice on the best course of action. This could include cognitive behavioural therapy, to address the negative and inaccurate thoughts driving the anxiety disorder, medication to dampen the symptoms and other types of therapy, such as gradual exposure or group therapy.

The key takeaway from this post is that both agoraphobia and social anxiety are treatable conditions. They are both well researched conditions with a diagnosis and a cure. As such, you don’t have to live with them forever. The first step is reaching out and asking for help and then finding the path that will enable you to challenge your inaccurate, uncomfortable thoughts and rewire your brain to attend social events and to go out in public without fear.

Originally posted 2013-05-21 10:45:49. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Over the last few decades recognition of social anxiety disorder has grown rapidly. No longer is it seen as just a case of someone being over sensitive, too shy or introverted, but a recognised and diagnosable condition. But as with all anxiety disorders, it can be difficult to test for social phobia without clear guidance from a doctor or a psychiatrist.

It’s not like having a fever, when you can just check someone’s temperature or their physical symptoms. What’s more, social anxiety disorder can be a complex condition, with symptoms that can very in severity dramatically between individuals. Some people might just prefer to avoid going to parties and speaking in front of people they don’t know, while others might struggle to leave their house altogether due to the fear of negative stares.

Thankfully, a social anxiety disorder test was devised by Dr Michael R. Liebowitz, a psychiatrist and researcher at Columbia University, New York. First devised in 1987, his social anxiety disorder test continues to be the most widely used and recognised method of diagnosing the condition. Studies have shown it to be an efficient and cost effective way for people to test for social anxiety disorder so they can then progress towards beginning a process of treating the inaccurate, underlying thoughts that drive it.

What is the social anxiety disorder test?

The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Disorder Test consists of 24 questions designed to assess the scale at which social phobia affects your life based on an overall score of its severity. Thirteen of the questions focus on performance related anxiety, such as speaking on a phone in public or talking to someone in authority, while eleven deal with social situations, such as going to a party or speaking in a meeting.

After completing all the questions you are then given a score out of 144. If your score is high, and you are classified in the more severe categories, the important thing is to not feel down and depressed. The fact is that, as with all diagnosable conditions, social anxiety disorder can be treated.

With a diagnosis comes treatment

If you think you might be suffering from social anxiety disorder, the wisest thing to do is to visit a medical professional, whether it’s a doctor or a psychotherapist. They can give you a professional diagnosis along with advice on the best course of action to reduce your symptoms to the level where social anxiety disorder no longer gets in the way of living a fulfilling life.

If your social anxiety is fairly mild, it could be that all you may need to do is to start making some lifestyle changes, such as taking up new hobbies that give you a sense of achievement and boost your esteem as well as provide you with healthier interactions with other people. In more severe cases, where social anxiety disorder is causing you to feel depressed and is adversely affecting your life, then seeing a cognitive behavioural therapist along with a course of medication might be advisable.

So it’s wise to consult a medical professional, whether it’s a doctor or a psychiatrist, for a diagnosis and advice if your anxious thoughts and feelings are getting in the way of your ability to enjoy a happy, fulfilling life.

Originally posted 2013-06-04 14:19:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter