Being anxious or uncomfortable in social situations is something that affects millions of people around the world, but fortunately, there are a number of home remedies for social anxiety disorder, including laughter, relaxation techniques, meditation, get more sleep, avoid alcohol and caffeine, join a support group, exercise regularly, GABA supplements, lavender, milk, asparagus, and avocados.
What is Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)?
Perhaps more formally known as social phobia, this is an anxiety disorder that induces fear or discomfort in a person when they are put into social situations. From mild to severe cases, social anxiety disorder (SAD) impacts one’s daily life in certain ways, from sweaty palms before a big meeting to nausea at the thought of attending a dinner party with strangers. This is not a permanent condition, and while more than 10% of adults will experience the symptoms at some point in their lives, it is not chronic for everyone. Making mistakes or experiencing ridicule can often cause social anxiety disorder to manifest in a number of symptoms, such as sweating, blushing, stammering, nausea, and even full panic attacks.
This particular phobia often leads sufferers to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in order to reduce their feelings of anxiety in social situations, but this leads to its own series of problems and addictions. Anti-anxiety medication was first approved for use in 1999, and since then, the documented and diagnosed cases of social anxiety disorder have increased significantly. Now, it is very common for doctors to prescribe beta blockers, Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, and a range of other medications to treat this growing problem. However, these pharmaceutical solutions can cause dangerous dependencies and may actually make the symptoms of SAD worse when one stops using the medication. For that reason, natural remedies have become popular in the treatment of this condition. Now, let’s delve a bit deeper into the home remedies for social anxiety disorder.
Home Remedies for Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
Home remedies for social anxiety disorder include:
A great deal of the stress and anxiety in our world is caused by our hurried lifestyles, packed schedules, and seemingly endless responsibilities. For someone suffering from social anxiety disorder, taking time for yourself to calmly sit and relax can be hugely helpful. Schedule an hour in your busy day to stop moving, thinking, and stressing. You can take a walk, lie down for a brief nap, meditate, or do a quick session of yoga. Whatever personal tool works to calm the mind, make it a daily practice, and definitely something you turn to when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Although this does require some outside help and guidance, CBT is highly recommended for people to try before they are put onto a prescription for powerful pharmaceuticals. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy mainly consists of seeing a therapist and finding a safe space to talk out your fears and anxieties, and through a mixture of cognitive and behavioral therapies, find a solution or a strategy to help you improve your quality of life. Finding the unconscious root cause of fears and anxieties is difficult to do alone, but a cognitive behavioral therapist can certainly help!
Join Support Groups
There are millions of people seeking answers and explanations about this condition, and the Internet is an anonymous, helpful place for resources and like-minded communities. If you aren’t comfortable speaking to a therapist, then perhaps joining an online support group of other people suffering from SAD would help you to vocalize your anxieties and begin to overcome them.
Social anxiety disorder is often associated with depression or depressive symptoms, but the natural endorphin release generated by your body when you exercise can counter that, keeping your energy levels and attitude up. Exercise is also known to directly impact self-confidence, which is a major factor in social anxiety disorder sufferers. Plus, working out at a gym or going for a job helps you interact with other people in a neutral space, where conversation is limited, but a sense of community or common goals can be experienced.
Use Lavender Essential Oil
On the more natural side of things, lavender essential oil or the herb itself can be used to soothe the mind and body. In aromatherapy, lavender is known as a relaxant, and can help to ease stress and strain, and reduce anxiety. That powerful aroma can settle the nerves of even the most nervous individuals.
Get More Sleep
A lack of sleep, or the inability to sleep due to anxiety, only exacerbates the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. When you don’t get enough sleep, your mind doesn’t function to its highest potential, making you often feel sluggish, inadequate, and “not on your game”, making it even more stressful to talk to people. Therefore, make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night if you want to shake the anxiety.
Drink Warm Milk
A warm glass of milk before bed is more than just a habit for old people; milk is packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins, helping to lower your blood pressure and soothe your nerves. Active ingredients in milk can also stop muscles from spasming and increase the restfulness of your waking hours, as well as those spent asleep!
It might seem overly simple, but laughter often is the best medicine, and when we genuinely laugh, our bodies release dopamine, which signals pleasure and a rewarding feeling. The powerful nature of laughter even helps cut down on our stress hormones; studies have shown that deep, happy laughter causes an almost immediate drop in cortisol levels, which rise when we are anxious. If you’re feeling nervous, let out a healthy laugh in the bathroom and then head back into the party!
B vitamins are very important for regulating our metabolism and hormones, so it comes as no surprise that anxiety and depression are often accompanied by a deficiency in B vitamins. Fortunately, avocados are delicious and packed with B vitamins, which can help to relieve stress. The high potassium content in avocados also helps to lower blood pressure, keeping you from working yourself up.
Along with B vitamin deficiency, depression and anxiety have also been linked to low levels of folic acid. Asparagus is one of the more concentrated forms of folic acid available in a normal diet, and while they aren’t the most popular snack or side order in the world, if it can help you muster up a better mood and a bit of social courage, it’s worth trying!
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
Although alcohol pumps up your mood and caffeine gives you an energetic boost, the temporary effects of these chemicals only mask the symptoms of social anxiety disorder, and can lead to dependencies. They also “run out”, leaving you suddenly without your alcohol-induced confidence or caffeine-boosted personality. To overcome social anxiety, you need to be confident and comfortable with your true self.
A Final Word of Warning: There are many different severity levels of social anxiety disorder, and the issues can be compounded and complicated by a number of factors. It is a good idea to speak with a professional about what you’re experiencing and listen to their suggestions. Prescription medication should be taken only under strict doctor’s orders.