Ever feel anxious when speaking in front of an audience? Some jitters in such situations are normal, but if your life is severely restricted by fears of being criticized, embarrassed, or humiliated in public situations, you may have social phobia or social anxiety. This excessive fear may be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, or by factors such as low self-esteem, past rejection by peers, poor social skills, or a history of public embarrassment. Panic attacks are a common reaction among those with social anxiety, and can cause heart palpitations, trembling, blushing, nausea, lightheadedness, stomach discomfort, shortness of breath, and heavy sweating.
The good news is that there are natural ways to address social anxiety, and these simple tips are also effective against other forms of anxiety. Try the following:
- Avoid coffee and other forms of caffeine; stimulants can heighten anxiety.
- Practice breathing exercises, an effective relaxation technique.
- Consider passionflower, a natural, mild sedative that's safer than pharmaceuticals. The recommended dosage is one dropperful of a tincture in a little warm water, or two capsules of the extract, up to four times a day as needed.
- Consider supplementing with B vitamins and magnesium, which are sometimes helpful in dealing with the symptoms of anxiety.
- Consider seeking professional therapy. Exposure therapy can slowly introduce you to the specific situations you fear, and hypnotherapy can give you a sense of what it feels like to be relaxed and open in those settings.