The past 18 months have revealed how many people suffer from social anxiety, a serious mental health condition, where every day social interactions cause anxiety, fear or embarrassment. PICTURE: Unsplash
The past 18 months have revealed how many people suffer from social anxiety, a serious mental health condition, where every day social interactions cause anxiety, fear or embarrassment. PICTURE: Unsplash

Get over your social anxiety in 5 steps

By IANS Time of article published Jul 20, 2021

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The past year alone has revealed that many people suffer from social anxiety, a serious mental health condition, where every day social interactions cause anxiety, fear or embarrassment.

Model-actor Darasing Khurana, an active philanthropist, came up with the Pause.Breathe.Talk Foundation to help those who suffer from a mental condition and to offer mental health services to the needy.

Khurana has come up with five things to overcome social anxiety. Here's what they suggest:

Watch your breathing

Breathing techniques are often recommended to promote relaxation or for dealing with stress or anxiety attacks. When you breathe, your blood cells receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide. When people are anxious, however, they tend to take rapid, shallow breaths from the chest.

Whenever you are anxious, focus on your breathing. Breathe in, hold your breath and count till 5, and then breathe out. If you do this for 70-80 times, you'll definitely feel calmer.

Behaviour modification is a must

Remember, nothing will change around you! The social situation will continue to remain the way it is. So, the best way is to plan thoroughly for a social situation that makes you nervous. For instance, if it's about going on a date, you should plan for each and every aspect of it.

The idea is to recognise what triggers your anxiety and try to minimise the activities that might trigger anxiety. Also, if you feel socially anxious and you want to work on it, you must start going out with people who are close to you and who will take care of you when you're feeling anxious.

Have a gratitude journal

You must write down the positive things that happened with you throughout the day. One thing that counters anxiety a lot is gratitude. Initially, it might look a bit fake and may demand a lot of effort, but you must still do it.

Initially, your negative thoughts might be too overpowering, but you must understand the negative thoughts are already there within you, so you must cultivate thoughts of gratitude to balance things out.

Sweat it out

When we feel anxious, our body is primed for fight or flight, and releases the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline; this can cause elevated blood pressure, a racing heart, and sweating. Exercise can help us burn off the negative energy that, in our more primitive days, would have been used either fleeing, or fighting, a threat.

You could take a brisk walk, put on your running shoes and hit the tarmac, or jump around to an aerobics video or your favourite music in your living room. Regular exercise and meditation really help in keeping one centred. That's something you must do if you want to overcome social anxiety.

Open up, meet the experts

Communication is the key in all mental health conditions. Sharing your feelings and speaking to people around you is pertinent. Listening is also important at times. Imagine something is triggering your anxiety, which is a result of negative thoughts about you that come to your mind again and again. If you shift the focus of your thoughts towards someone else, that also helps in containing the anxiety.

Also, make sure you reach out to a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Professional guidance is a must if you want the best results. It's imperative to use these two services simultaneously rather than giving importance to one and skipping the other. Medication and therapy are equally important.

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