Have you ever been invited to a party by a friend who said she would meet you there? You arrive and are greeted by total strangers, your friend has not got there yet. You start to feel nervous, tremble inside, palms feel sweaty?
You feel a sense of panic and all you want to do is get the hell out of there, even though there is no real danger. This is a typical example of social anxiety, and it is more common among our population than you think.
Social anxiety is just one of the many types of anxiety that are around. Other types of anxiety include generalized anxiety disorder, fear of flying, agoraphobia, claustrophobia, arachnophobia.
Phobias are a more severe form of anxiety. Anxiety can really mess with your life. It can prevent you enjoying a fun social life, it can cause you to do badly in exams, it can stop you from applying for jobs that you want, to which you are entitled.
Physical symptoms of anxiety have been described as;
Shortness of breath
Feeling dizzy or faint
Choking sensation in the throat
Sweating not due to heat
Fear of dying
Fear of the worst happening
Fear losing control
Nervousness or trembling
Tightness or disturbance in the stomach
When experiencing any of these symptoms it is wise to have a medical check up to eliminate physical causes. Once these have been eliminated then it is very possible you have some kind of anxiety issue and in the extreme it can lead to a panic attack.
In their book HYPNOSIS FOR CHANGE Josie Hadley and Helen Staudacher have broken down the steps that lead to anxiety and described the process as the ‘ABC’s of Anxiety.’ This is how it goes:
The situation A, gives rise to the thought B, which in turn causes the anxiety C.
In the example above, when you arrive at the party and your friend is not yet there and you are among strangers (The Situation A), you might think ‘oh, I’m embarrassed, I don’t know how to handle this.’ (The Thought B) This can cause the anxiety Anxiety C.) This ABC sequence can escalate like a feedback loop.
The feeling of anxiety can lead to further catastrophic thoughts such as ‘I feel so nervous, I don’t know these people, I don’t know what to say, I’m going to make a fool of myself.’
This kind of anxiety escalation can be difficult to stop when you are in a situation like this, at a party that you can’t leave, because you are waiting for your friend to show.
Your anxiety can be managed so long as your thoughts about this difficult situation are realistic and accurate. If they are not, there you are predicting disaster where disaster will not happen. In the extreme, this kind of process can lead to a Panic Attack. You can learn more about how you can help yourself through anxiety and PANIC ATTACKS by clicking here.