SAA 006: How To Deal With Physical Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder - Social Anxiety Advice

SAA 006: How To Deal With Physical Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder

Would you say that physical symptoms of your social anxiety make your anxiety even more intense? They do, right? And there’s a perfectly good explanation for this.

You see, when you get to experience the symptoms, you get reminded that the situation you’ve found yourself in, is dangerous. It’s your survival mechanism kicking in. It wants to warn you about a perceived danger and it wants you to remove yourself from that danger immediately.

So blushing, feeling hot, sweating excessively, shaking, feeling a sudden need to swallow, experiencing a rapid heartbeat are just your body’s reaction to a social situation and a warning mechanism that is supposed to help you escape the situation as quickly as possible.

In a way these physical symptoms help you survive.

But the problem is that you get these warning signs in situations that are not really dangerous to you. There’s nothing life-threatening going on and yet your subconscious mind thinks it is.

However, this isn’t the only problem.

These physical symptoms can be visible to other people and that makes you even more self-conscious and anxious in social situations.

It’s something about these symptoms that makes us feel embarrassed and ashamed and unfortunately this only adds fuel to your anxiety.

When you get to experience the symptoms you’re not only anxious about the situation itself but you become anxious about the symptoms as well. You try to keep it a secret. You try to hide what’s going on inside you and this makes you even more tense and nervous.

That’s why you need to learn how to deal with these symptoms. You need to have a way to release the anxiety about your symptoms being seen by other people.

So make sure you listen to this episode of my Social Anxiety Advice podcast, because that’s where I share with you a long-term solution to this problem.

I help you reframe your limiting beliefs that you have about other people seeing you anxious and commenting on that.

So, if you haven’t listened to it yet, make sure you do it now; because it will help you replace your limiting beliefs with better ones.

You’ll see that this is way better than merely changing your focus. Sure switching focus away from the physical symptoms can help and I actually recommend you to do it if and when you experience the symptoms, however I want you to stop worrying about the symptoms altogether.

You’ll notice that when you stop worrying about other people seeing you anxious, your symptoms become far less intense and more often than not they vanish completely.

Listen to this week’s show and let me know what you think about it. There’s a comment section below where you can express your thoughts, ask questions and share your own tips and strategies with other people who might find them helpful. They will appreciate it and so will I.

And one more thing… This time I’ve recorded a video version as well. So if you’re more of a visual type of person and you prefer to learn that way, you might want to watch this video instead.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 14 comments
Kent

When I get anxious I become extremely self-conscious. My walking becomes weird and I get all stiff. And of course, I blush a lot. I think your tips were very helpful and I can see how this will help me in the future. Thanks.

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    You’re welcome Kent. I’m glad you’ve found it helpful.

    Reply
Melissa

My heart beats super fast when I’m nervous. It feels like running a marathon. It gets so ridiculous that I feel like I’m going to pass out. Do you think deep breathing would help?

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    Hey Melissa, breathing techniques can be very helpful when you need to calm down. You should definitely try it. Just a few weeks ago I described a very effective breathing technique in one of my podcast episodes. You can learn about it here:
    https://socialanxietyadvice.com/how-to-handle-holiday-anxiety/

    Reply
Steven

I just watched this video, and I thought it was very insightful. I’ve struggled with social anxiety for as long as I can remember, and it has held me back from so many things. When I get anxious in social encounters, I feel like my chest becomes really tight and my throat becomes soar. But the biggest thing, by far, is that my mind goes absolutely blank. In situations where I’m expected to talk, I literally just don’t even know what to say. It’s like I freeze up and there are just no thoughts whatsoever. In fact, I remember giving a presentation a few years ago, and even though I made flashcards to help me remember what to say, I still froze up. I felt like I was going to faint. I couldn’t even read the words, even though they were right there, plain as day. Do you have any advice on what I could do to help with the ‘mind going blank’ problem?

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    Hi Steven. It looks like you have a “freeze” response to social situations. This means that when there’s a threat you freeze up. When there’s a slight change of doing or saying something wrong or out of context you freeze up and your mind goes blank.

    It’s your survival mechanism trying to protect you from getting hurt.

    Thousands of years ago we had to develop the fight-flight-freeze response to danger. When we encountered a dangerous animal we either fought it, ran away or freezed up and played dead.

    For now it’s enough to understand that this is your social anxiety trying to protect you and once your subconscious understands that social situations are safe and you won’t get embarrassed or emotionally hurt… the anxiety is gone and so is this fight-flight-freeze response… and you don’t freeze up anymore.

    A while ago I actually made a comprehensive article on what to do when your mind goes blank, so you might want to check it out here:
    https://socialanxietyadvice.com/i-dont-know-what-to-say/

    Reply
Rich

Great video. It was very helpful and insightful. I am 40 years old and have had social anxiety for as long as I can remember. The one symptom that persists the most is blushing. I worry so much about it sometimes that just thinking about it can bring on the blushing. I want to be able to accept the fact that I blush and not worry about it.

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    Hey Rich. This might help… ask yourself how many times you have blushed in last month and how many times people have commented on it. You will see that there is a huge difference between the numbers you will come up with. This proves that most people don’t even notice you blushing and if they do, they don’t really care. Some might even see themselves in you because they might have been the same some time ago. And even those people who do comment and make you feel embarrassed, forget about your blushing very quickly. Realizing these things might help you accept the fact that you blush and that there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s very likely that once you stop carrying about it, you will also stop blushing or your blushing will get far less intense.

    Reply
Giovanni

Hi,
I’ve just found your website and I find it very helpful. I wanted to ask you how lately I’ve been noticing my face twitch when I smile or laugh which makes me very anxious to the point my face trembles, this makes social situations very difficult, I turn away because the feelings and symptoms are so overwhelming. Any advice?

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    Hi Giovanni. I had a situation like this when I was still in college. While waiting on the class to start I was talking with a small group of other students and I noticed how my upper lip started twitching like crazy. I never experienced anything like that before and it made me feel even more self-conscious. Just like you I tried to hide it and tried to look away from the group as much as possible. But my lip didn’t want to stop twitching and I was going crazy in my mind. But you know what? No one said anything about it. No one! They probably didn’t even notice it. It’s very likely that you feel the intense feeling of your face twitching but it’s not really visible on the outside. You can excuse yourself and go to the toilet to check it out yourself. You will probably see that your face is just fine. This is also the time you can use to recompose before you get back to the group.

    Reply
Alison

Any advice on bad physical shaking?? I find it difficult to eat and drink in front of others because my hands shake so much, never mind do a presentation where my heart beats out of my body and I shake violently from head to toe!! The minute I get a tiny bit anxious, it seems to manifest in shaking. It’s difficult to accept something which prevents me from physically doing things because of shaking. I feel absolutely mortified if someone notices these symptoms and they have stopped me going for promotion in work and isolating myself from friends. I do have the blushing and sweating too but can accept these a bit better.

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    Hi Alison. Shaking is one of the symptoms of social anxiety that seems to be the very visible to other people. This is why your anxiety escalates even more. You’re afraid that other people will see your shaking and then all your energy goes into hiding these symptom from other people. The good news is that most people never notice your shaking. Most people are too much in their own heads. They are dealing with their own insecurities and problems or they are thinking about something else completely. Not that many people pay attention these days. And even if they see you shaking and do comment on this, I know you can handle that.
    A while ago I’ve made a video about dealing with physical symptoms of social anxiety and you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iD2sstHBLo

    Reply
ravi

I think that social anxiety is not a problem at all if we stop thinking what other people will think about us.

I m living my life in different ways so that i may live a normal life like others. I always think of expressing myself best in front of others but this triggers all of my symptoms. I try to develop humour in me so that i could have friends like my friends have.

Reply
    Andre Sossi

    Hi Ravi, you are basically right. Social anxiety is a consequence of our beliefs about ourselves and how we should be perceived. It’s also a consequence of our limiting (negative) beliefs about other people.

    The problem is that these limiting beliefs make us focus on ourselves because we want to prevent getting rejected by other people. We want to be perceived as normal and not as some weird individuals who don’t know how to act. Overcoming these limiting beliefs allows you to switch your focus on other people. It allows you to focus on what’s fun. It allows you to focus on the experience itself. So, the solution lies in overcoming your negative limiting beliefs.

    Reply

Leave a Reply: