social anxiety at work

When you have social anxiety disorder work can be stressful and it can affect your productivity. While this is all too familiar to sufferers, this was also the insight of Dr Lynn Bufka, a licensed psychologist, when sharing advice on treating social anxiety and stress related problems in the workplace.

Her comment was in response to questions during the “Ask Me Anything” segment on Reddit about coping with stress. Social anxiety can be at its most acute at work and often people who suffer from social anxiety don’t only put their careers at risk but their personal lives as well. There are also many people who spent months or years struggling to get a job because their social anxiety prevents them calling potential employers for an interview or showing up for interview at all.

Social anxiety in the workplace is often misunderstood

A lot of people don’t understand what it is like to be living with social anxiety. Some even criticize them with lack of self motivation and laziness. But motivating yourself is hard when your mind is filled with negative thoughts.

If you are currently working, social anxiety can also decrease chances of promotion and might affect your performance because you are not comfortable in the company of your colleagues. This may lead your co workers thinking that you are unfriendly and mean. There are times that you are unable to complete any task because you are too focused on your anxiety.

While this all sounds doom and gloom, the good news is that there are strategies you can use to reduce your social anxiety and feel more relaxed and comfortable at work:

1. Slow down your breathing – relax and give yourself a break. Take a deep breath and place your hand on your abdomen. Do this for five seconds and repeat as many times until your chest stops feeling tight and your mind has stopped racing.

2. Make small talk – people love to talk about themselves, so focus your attention on what your colleagues or clients want to talk about rather than yourself.

3. Practice at home – think of the stressful things that you are anxious about. Practice them with people whom you are comfortable with, like your family members and friends.

4. Remember that you are not the center of everyone’s attention – we are always worrying about what other people might think if we say this or that. But we don’t know that the other person is also worrying about themselves.

If you suffer from social anxiety, I know these tips are easier said than done. The key is to think about including them in a long-term strategy for overcoming social anxiety, where you have the goal of feeling confident and relaxed around people and then plot the steps towards getting there. This can include getting in shape, taking up more hobbies and interests, gradual exposure to social situations and forming mutually supportive friendships with other people that understand what you’re going through, whether in a live support group or in the online world.

stuttering and social anxiety

It’s 4 in the morning I woke up really early and there’s one thing that popped in my mind. Stuttering, I wonder why I stutter so much whenever I’m speaking or even reading a short story to my toddler. I got up and googled to find out if it has anything to do with my social anxiety. But why would I fear of speaking if I’m only with a kid who doesn’t even know how to form a single sentence yet. I was shock on what I’ve found out. According to Psych Central on an article entitled “Stuttering: Myth vs. Fact” by Beth Gilbert, that apparently stuttering is considered by medical community as a psychiatric disorder categorize at the same level with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

I’ve always wanted to apply as a customer service representative as a part time job while I’m studying in College, but I always flunking the final interview and the phone simulation stage. I figured I wasn’t confident enough which was why my voice kept stuttering. I thought I can cure it by enrolling in speech classes. Though it helped me a little bit the stutter just won’t go away. So I gave up and now after 7 years, I thought my speech is better but I still can’t help the stuttering. Could it be caused by my social anxiety? Or am I just too dumb to speak fluently?

Stuttering isnt caused by social anxiety or stress

But it seems the other way around, social anxiety is a concomitant of stammering. In the Psych Central article Catherine Montgomery, executive director and founder of The American Institute for Stuttering in New York City, N.Y. says it’s not caused by emotional or psychological problems nor a nervous disorder or a condition caused by stress. Statistics even show that the average IQ of stutterers is about 14 points higher to that of the national average and the likelihood of to total recovery significantly diminishes as the child grows older. Studies suggest that stuttering has also a genetic basis, a family history of stuttering and strong fears or concerns about stuttering on the part of the child. These factors are essential for the diagnosis and in developing a specific treatment program.

But the best treatment as researchers found out is early intervention. “The earlier the therapy occurs, the better the results in resolving stuttering” says Maguire, a clinical researcher at UC Irvine. The most common treatment is behavioral, that is designed to educate and develop a person’s specific skills or behavior that can improve their oral communication. Pharmacological anti-anxiety therapies are also available for those who have difficulty controlling anxiety using cognitive-behavioural techniques. For those who have a family member, a friend or colleagues who have stutter problems, try to understand their situation and let them finish their sentences. Avoid giving suggestions like “slow down, relax or take a deep breath”. You may think that these are helpful but it can worsen the uncomfort they feel.

 

Parkinsons linked to social anxiety

Social Phobia is recurrent in people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. This is according to a recent study conducted at Erenkoy Research and Training Hospital for Neurologic and Psychiatric Disorders in Istanbul, Turkey. The study involved 80 patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease admitted to the Parkinson’s disease and Movement disorders Clinic. The result was that among the 80 patients 42.5% were diagnosed with social anxiety, of which 20 of the patients had depression, 18 had generalized anxiety disorder, and 6 patients had a panic disorder. A logistic regression analysis was also done and revealed that social phobia is more frequent in males with high Levodopa daily dosage, early-onset PD and the presence of postural instability.
Social Anxiety is more common in women who are twice as likely to suffer from social phobia and panic disorder compared with men, this is according to Harvard Health Publication. Men, however, are more prone to Parkinson’s disease than women, this was supported in American Journal of Epidemiology. Which is why it is baffling to know that social anxiety is more prevalent to male patients with Parkinson’s disease. Moreover, I have found out that there is a current issue of whether antiparkinsonian medications might be the one reason for some of the anxiety manifestation present in Parkinson’s disease patients. But of course these issues with antiparkinsonian medications have yet to be proven.
At the moment there is no present cure for Parkinson’s disease. Treatments are available to alleviate the symptoms and be able to maintain the quality of life with PD patients. The treatments include Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, medication and surgery. However, the researchers think that these current studies linking social anxiety with Parkinson’s disease may provide an edge for early detection and treatment of Parkinson’s disease and improving the quality of life of the patients.

jogging.jpg

Yet again, studies and research have proven the how relaxation activities, such as yoga and work out exercises, help in the treatment of social anxiety. The research was published in the journal PLOS ONE and headed by Adam Heenan, a clinical psychology PHD candidate at Queens University in Canada. Heenan said that workout and relaxation exercises are able to change people’s perception of the world, thus reducing threatening and negative feelings.

The participants in the study were between the age of 17 to 29, which composed of both male and female. They give no information on their state of mental health at the time of the study and their level of social anxiety was solely assessed by some of the tests the Heenan’s given them.

The test asked participants to view a point-light display of a person walking and asked whether the figure was approaching them or not. A lot of them said that the figure was walking towards them. Heenan concluded that this was a sign of social anxiety and intimidation, with rates higher before their relaxation exercises than after.

“We found that people who either walked or jogged on a treadmill for 10 minutes perceived these ambiguous figures as facing towards them as the observer less often that those who simply stood on the treadmill,” says Heenan.

As a person who had suffered the stigma of social anxiety disorder motivating one’s self to do a simple exercise is a challenge itself. Everyday, I always promise myself to do an hour of jogging the next morning. But when I wake up the next day, I feel unenthusiastic and anxious that I might see my high school friends, an old crush or even my neighbor’s scrutinizing eyes. It’s hard to convince myself that it’s all good and that every uncomfortable thoughts were just in my head.

But when you manage to change those negative thoughts into positive ones then nothing is impossible. Any means of exercise is good for the body, soul and mind. When I started to take control of myself and took care of my health I found new goals and aspiration to live with.

botox treatment for depression

Botox is used to medically treat muscular conditions and cosmetically remove wrinkles by paralyzing the muscles. But the question is, how can it cure depression? Dr. Eric Finzi, a Maryland dermatologist, has suggested it could be used to treat depression. In his study, published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research,  Dr. Finzi observed a reported 52 percent reduction in depressed patients injected with Botox, compared to 15 percent in the ones who received the saline placebo. One of his patients who had undergone the Botox treatment revealed that the paralyzing effect of the Botox on her facial muscles enabled her to lightheartedly approach every problems she comes to face, making her feel less happy and unaffected with those people who surround her.

With smiling alone believed to improve happiness and reduce social anxiety, it could be that Botox also helps by numbing the muscles in the brows that create expressions of sadness, anger and fear. But making your outside expression seem joyful doesn’t really reflect what you feel deep inside. After a while the effects of the drugs subside and let you go back to your old self, as the paralyzing effect of the drugs on your face began to wear off and you start to feel the other half of your face.

Depression is a mixture of sad feelings that you feel inside you. Botox may help you cover up for your real emotions but it doesn’t erase those depressive feelings. That feeling of worthlessness will still remain and after four months when the Botox effect has all gone you are back to your old depressed self again. There is no short cut in treating depression.

Instead, deal with your depressing realistically; acknowledge the things that are failing you. Make a daily schedule of what you want to accomplish for the entire day. Exercise and eat healthily as regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to re focused in a more positive way, which also helps to reduce social anxiety .

Take responsibility and challenge those negative thoughts in your head. Depression is a mental state, if you can devise a way to shift your negative thoughts into something positive and life enriching  then there you can achieve a happy and fulfilling life ahead of you.

 

 

alcohol and social anxiety

 

A group of researchers at the University Of Cincinnati (UC) are now developing a computer program that can help people to develop some healthy mental habits to reduce their reliance on alcohol for treating social anxiety.  Joshua Magee, PhD, the research assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, says that the Attention Modification Program (AMP) is aimed to change what individuals with social anxiety and problem drinking focus their attention under normal circumstances. Magee added that, the way people pay attention to things in their environment is important for both causing and maintaining social anxiety and alcoholism. Both social anxiety and alcohol attention patterns are a part of a certain chain that can lead to complications.

In my own personal experience, as someone who had suffered social anxiety ever since I can remember, I always felt uncomfortable in social gatherings, I want to disappear or dig a hole to where I am standing and to be teleported to somewhere I can be alone. But when there are wines or any alcoholic drink I tend to purposely get myself extra drunk just to conceal or cloak my awkward shyness. This way, I don’t really think that much of any uncomfortable thoughts and appear extra confident. I tend to be over talkative and just blabber about anything without even analyzing my thoughts.

Shifting to alcohol when you are caught under awkward social situations is fine at first, but what happen when you make it a habit? According to Dr. Magee, the Attention Modification Program aims to be an effective method for reducing social anxiety and drinking that can translate out into community settings. It would give people an inexpensive way to reduce the symptoms that is less dependent on a doctor’s prescriptions and could be done at home.

 

 

 

camping

Living in fear and excessive self consciousness is no way to live. Especially if you are just a kid. It’s hard to go through life and achieve your dreams if you were always anxious and calculated in every decision you make. Children are like delicate flowers that can easily be swayed and blown away by the force of nature. They tend to grow into their fears and not outgrow out of them.

Anxiety is a common mental health problem affecting many children and adolescents today. But the good thing is, it is a treatable condition. A new study from the Researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine says that kids with anxieties, like social anxiety, have larger amygdale or what’s better known as “fear center” – a set of neurons located deeply in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. They have conducted the research involving 76 children among the ages of seven and nine years old, a period where the researchers can accurately identify the anxiety levels of the children.

But some agencies and organizations are skeptical about the cause and effect of the new study. However, this is good news for parents who have children who suffer from excessive fears and anxiety. The study may be a breakthrough for identifying in advance social anxiety disorder risks for children.

I for one have my own fair share of anxieties as a kid. I know people who have dealt with social anxieties growing up and most of them were saying that if only they have open up more to their parents as a child. They could have spared the burden of what social anxiety have cost their lives all throughout adolescence and adulthood. As parents, we should be the one responsible in giving our children the quality of life they deserve. We should be in more careful watch of our children’s behavior and how they respond to those around them. Identifying the symptoms of anxiety as early as possible and finding effective treatments is always the best way to give your children a full and happy life.

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