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Don't Let Social Anxiety Diminish Your Happiness

By Paul Rothbart

Anxiety is common and can be debilitating. It is estimated that 12 percent of the population has been affected by social anxiety disorder at some point during their lives. This form of anxiety can wreak havoc with quality of life. It's a battle that I have fought since childhood. Before getting it under control, it cost me job opportunities, the chance to meet new, interesting people, and a lot of potential fun. If you are afflicted by social anxiety, there are ways to combat it. Therapy and medication are effective, but in addition, here are some things you can do on your own.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

This is probably the most difficult thing to do if you suffer from social anxiety, but it is one of the most effective ways to counter it. Rather than avoid social situations, accept the opportunities that interest you. Go to that party your best friend wants to take you to. Tell yourself you only have to stay for five minutes. You don't have to be the life of the party. Just getting there is the first step. Go to other events that interest you. Visit a museum, go to a concert or a play. Get out there where people are. You don't have to chat anyone up at first, but it will help you start to feel comfortable in social situations. People will speak to you and you will find over time that you can handle socializing much better than you believe you can.

Maintain Good Health

The mind and body are linked and your mental health will suffer if your physical health is suspect. Exercise, eat properly, and get good sleep. See your primary care provider for regular checkups. If your body is healthy, that will be a huge boost to mental health and getting your social anxiety in check. As my therapist used to tell me, "Move a muscle, change a thought."

Seek Help

While getting help may not seem like doing it on your own, you still have to reach out. For a person with social anxiety disorder, making a phone call can be like climbing a mountain. Talk to your doctor or if you prefer anonymity, call a national hotline who can guide you to qualified therapists in your area. Ask a friend or family member to help with this if need be. Taking the step of seeing a qualified mental health professional is the best thing you can do for yourself and well worth the effort it takes.

Social anxiety disorder is damaging to leading a happy and successful life. While things may seem hopeless, you can get it under control and live your life to the fullest. Trust me. I did it. You can too.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Hermitage, Tenn.

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