Social anxiety is the third most common mental illness people can experience over their lifetime (after depression and substance use disorders).
Social anxiety occurs when we fear rejection, humiliation, embarrassment, and others’ judgement.
Put simply: we fear making social mistakes.
Sometimes, we play back memories of our interactions and over-analyse or criticise our social performance and fear what others must think or say about us. We may also avoid social situations that make us feel anxious. Even if we do go to social events, sometimes we avoid things in other ways (by not using our voice or giving eye contact, or by escaping quickly to reduce our distress).
Unfortunately, all types of avoidance or escape behaviour maintains our social anxiety and can even make it worse.
Luckily, social anxiety is treatable! Research has shown a number of psychological therapies are effective in reducing your social anxiety. Speak to a psychologist who is trained and experienced in treating social anxiety.
Until then, here are some great tips to get you started: