Frustrated and exhausted from enduring social anxiety? Don’t rely on the brain draining pharmaceuticals until you try these 10 ways to manage your anxiety.
Do you experience a deep fear of interacting with other people in social situations? – You may have Social Anxiety.
You could be suffering from social anxiety. Social anxiety arises from a fear of being judged by other people, hence the tendency to shun social situations. If it becomes chronic, it develops into social anxiety disorder.
It is very difficult to deal with social anxiety on your own without seeking a form of treatment. Most people opt for a combination of therapy and medication, especially if the problem has grown into an inhibiting disorder. But medication can be expensive and sometimes even unsafe.
There are plenty of safe natural products you can use to treat social anxiety. Here is a sample of the best natural remedies.
1. Lemon Balm
Lemon Balm is herb belonging to the mint family. The herb has been in use for decades for its calming effects. This calming effect was confirmed by a study in which volunteers that took Lemon Balm were calmer than those who took a placebo.
You can buy lemon balm in different forms including as a capsule or tea. Taking it in combination with other calming products such as chamomile can be especially helpful in managing social anxiety. Experts however advice that too much of it can actually increase anxiety. Start with a small dose and increase it as you see fit.
2. Hop Plant
Hops refers to the flowers of the hop plant, often used to flavor and stabilize beer. This is not to say that you should seek your anxiety remedy at the bottom of a beer bottle.There are far better ways of getting the sedative effects of the volatile oil in hops. Most stores will sell it in form of tinctures or extracts.
Prepare your taste buds because it is quite bitter. To make it easier on your mouth, mix it with something like mint or chamomile.
This is perhaps the best known natural treatment for anxiety. It is often taken in form of tea (prepared from dried chamomile) though you can also take it as a capsule. In a study done by the University of Pennsylvania, chamomile capsules were found to have significant impact on anxiety symptoms.
For people with asthma, experts advise that they should avoid this calming herb. Despite its many relaxing benefits, it can aggravate asthma symptoms, putting you at a serious health risk. Two other groups of people who should avoid chamomile are pregnant women and individuals who are allergic to sunflower, daisies or aster.
Also called May Apple, Passionflower has been in use for years to treat anxiety and insomnia. Scientists believe that compounds from the plant work to lower the activity of some brain cells, causing an individual to feel relaxed. In Germany, the herb has been approved for treatment of nervous restlessness.
Passionflower does not exhibit any toxicity and has not been shown to react negatively with any drug. You can get the herb in form of tea bags with which you can brew some soothing tea. Or you can get it as a liquid, where you squeeze a few droplets into water or juice. Some stores also sell the herb in form of capsules or tablets.
Like Passionflower, Valerian has been around for years, being primarily used to treat anxiety. Valerian has a slightly stronger calming effect compared to passionflower. People use the herb to treat various forms of anxiety including hypochondria, hysteria and psychological stress. If you are suffering from insomnia, the herb could prove very helpful.
You can get Valerian in form of capsules or as an oil extract. While the common way of taking it is by drinking it, you can also add it to your bath water to induce relaxation.
A number of essential oils are used in the management of anxiety and associated symptoms like insomnia. One of the most commonly used essential oil is lavender. The sweet smelling oil is not just good for your smelling sense, it is also a balm to a troubled soul.
The oil contained in lavender has been found to have a relaxing effect on the brain, nervous system and certain muscles. You can take lavender as a tea, inhale it (aromatherapy) or add it to your bathwater.
It is not just herbs and flowers that can help calm your nerves, some exercise can also make a big difference. A few minutes of exercise everyday have been proven good for the body and brain. Specifically, it calms you down, reduces stress levels and fights depression.
Exercise can also help reduce your anxiety in an indirect way. If you are unhealthy and perhaps a little bit overweight, your social anxiety will get worse because of the heightened fear of judgment. By getting fit through exercise, you do away with one major contributor to your anxiety.
8. Yoga breathing
In your battle to contain, and one day overcome, social anxiety, consider getting into yoga. One of the most beneficial aspects of yoga, in regards to treating anxiety, is the breathing. By breathing in deeply and letting out the breath slowly through the mouth (several times), your brain and nerves tend to calm down. This calming effect can last for hours past your yoga session.
You can even learn this breathing technique and use it whenever you feel your nerves getting on edge. It’s simple, effective and discreet enough that you can do it anywhere.
Meditation, particularly mindful meditation can be very effective at managing social anxiety. Mindful meditation involves focusing deeply on the present moment without any judgment. You can also explore other forms of meditation to help you stay calm in social situations.
10. Take a breath, think it through and stay calm
One thing that really exacerbates social anxiety is our own thinking. In a moment of anxiety, the brain has a tendency to think the worst. “I look horrible”, “are they are laughing at me?’’, ’they are going to reject me’’.
This tendency is called catastrophizing; your mind only pictures one negative catastrophe after another.
Take a deep breath or two (see number 8) and immediately stop this chain of thoughts. Tell yourself that everything will be alright and that you can handle the situation.