Insights Into Teens: Episode 21 “Social Anxiety”

This week we look at an issue all too common in Teens, Social Anxiety. Whether it’s the terrifying burden of having to speak in public, socializing with people you don’t know at an event, walking into a crowded room or just ordering food the fears and emotions that come from Social Anxiety can be crippling.

In this episode we look at what Social Anxiety is, how to identify the symptoms and we look at where you’re most likely to encounter Social Anxiety. Then we’ll look at how to treat those afflicted with it, we’ll discuss some common techniques to help you cope with it and we’ll even give you some pointers on how to prepare yourself for situations you know you’ll be in that can cause Social Anxiety.

In the end we learn that while most people have some form of Social Anxiety it’s a bit of a spectrum and each of us falls in a different area of that spectrum and how we handle it is situational. We also learn that what we think might be Social Anxiety may only manifest as such and might have a completely different root cause.

Insights Into Teens


Speaker 1:
Insightful pocket by informative posts, insights into thing, a podcast network.:
Speaker 2:
Speaker 3:
0:33 Welcome to insights into teens, a podcast series, exploring the issues and challenges of today’s youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison whale is a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges,:
Speaker 4:
the teenage years.:
Speaker 2:
Welcome to insights into teens. This is episode 21, social anxiety. I’m your host, Joseph Waylon and our principal’s list awardee. Madison, Waylon. Hi everyone. How are you doing Maddie? So you are a principal’s list awardee. You, uh, had, you’re moving up ceremony from sixth grade, right? Yep. So before we get into all the social anxiety stuff on the topics of today, tell us a little bit about some of the prestigious awards that you won at your moving up ceremony.:
Speaker 5:
So I hope not to brag to those who are watching, but I was awarded two plaques, one plug for getting all A’s in sixth grade and another plug for getting all A’s in Gooden while I was at good intent my school.:
Speaker 2:
Right. And that was for every year that you were in school, right? Pretty much, yeah. So you basically ran the board would straight A’s the entire time you were there.:
Speaker 5:
I was also given, um, the highest science average in my class, which surprised both me and my parents because I was an exec. I actually am in the advanced math program yet my advanced math, well my math grades are actually lower than most of my other grades.:
Speaker 2:
That’s cause it’s more difficult to point. And to be honest with you, I wasn’t surprised that you got the highest grade in science. I was very impressed that you got it.:
Speaker 5:
Well mom, I was surprised and impressed,:
Speaker 2:
you know daddy that is a big science buff himself. So I was very proud that uh, you scored that high in, in science.:
Speaker 5:
Wait, I was also given the um, golden, what was the one on one?:
Speaker 2:
The gold star war for getting a grade point average or above three. Five in your Yup. And your great.:
Speaker 5:
I was also given to participation awards for our club and band.:
Speaker 2:
Yes you were.:
Speaker 5:
That’s pretty much all the awards I got. There are of course other wards. I didn’t get that. I was happy that other people got. But:
Speaker 2:
yeah, so you cleaned up very good. Just wanted to make sure you got your, uh, proper credit for that because you definitely deserved that. It was a huge accomplishment. Thank you. So anyway, back on topic. Today we’re talking about social anxiety. So just run down real quick what we’re going to talk about. Uh, we’ll define what social anxiety is like. We always do, like we always do. We’ll talk about what are the signs of social anxiety. Uh, we’ll talk about where people generally experienced social anxiety or the conditions, situations in which they experience it. Yup. We’ll talk about how social anxiety affects your life. Then we’ll talk about prevention and treatment options and we’ll look at some small steps to curb social anxiety that, you know, you don’t have to go to a therapist for, anything like that. Uh, and then we’ll give some hints on how to prepare. If you know you’re going to be in a situation where you expect to experience social anxiety, we’ll give you some tips on how to prepare yourself for that to make it a little bit easier. So that’s what we’ve got today. Uh, ready to get into it? Yep. All right, let’s go.:
Speaker 2:
So, social anxiety as defined by the national institutes of mental health is a, a person with social anxiety disorder feel symptoms of anxiety or fear and certain or all social situations such as meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering questions in class, or having to talk to a cashier in a store, doing everyday things in front of people such as eating or drinking in front of others or using a public restroom also causes anxiety or fear. The person is afraid that he or she will be humiliated, judged, or rejected. Social anxiety disorder usually starts during youth in people who are extremely shy. Social anxiety disorder is not uncommon. Research suggests that about 7% of Americans are effective without treatment. Social anxiety disorder can last for many years or a lifetime and prevent a person from reaching his or her full potential. So that’s what our definition is right now under, you know, clear understanding of what we’re talking about here. So based just on that definition, without talking about the signs or anything, do you think you are afflicted social anxiety disorder?:
Speaker 5:
Well, you said before we were doing the podcast or different ratings. Usually I don’t fully have a badge or slings it, but I think based on the definition it sounds as though I do have a bit of problems talking to people and being around others.:
Speaker 2:
Okay, well let’s get into it and see what the symptoms are and uh, we’ll see, uh, if you suffer from some of these symptoms.:
Speaker 6:
Speaker 2:
So there’s a list of symptoms here and I think some of these are pretty self explanatory. And uh, let me ask, let me put them out there and then you tell me if you feel any of these in social situations. So the first one that we have are a rapid heartbeat. So do you find yourself having a rapid heartbeat in a social situation?:
Speaker 5:
Well, I’ve never actually felt my chest, but I don’t think I’ve ever really fill my heart rapidly. Beating likes that. I mean, it could have happened but I might not have noticed. But any time I’m talking to people I haven’t actually noticed it.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. Uh, what about muscle tension? Do you feel your muscles tense up and uh, you know, get very stiff when, when you’re faced in a social situation?:
Speaker 5:
I think very rarely. I mean, sometimes I might do it, but I don’t think I’ve done it. I do it often.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. Uh, how about dizziness or lightheadedness? Do you ever experience that? Nope. So you don’t have that either? I don’t think so. Uh, stomach trouble or diarrhea? No. No, you don’t have that either. Okay. Uh, how bout an inability to catch your breath? You feel out of breath or anxious? Um, I do feel anxious. Okay. What about being out of breath?:
Speaker 5:
Not exactly out of breath. Just I might have a little trouble with breathing. Like, I don’t probably don’t feel like I’m breathing normally, but yeah, I think sometimes I might dress a little.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. So that’s not bad. That’s what, six symptoms and you might have one so far. Uh, the other one that’s here that I’m not really sure how really to best describe it, but they, they say an out of body experience or an out of body sensation. Okay. Um, and when I think of that, I think of almost like you almost like a dreamlike state where you’re sort of watching things go on, but you don’t feel like you’re a part of it. Do you, do you ever get that sensation? I think so, yes. Okay. Um, the next one is you blush, sweat, tremble or feel that your mind is going blank.:
Speaker 5:
Um, I think I might’ve had a couple of times where I’ve sometimes had a little sweat in talking to people.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. And then happens. I mean, that’s the thing even happens to me. Um, especially in situations where, uh, for me it’s always where I have to speak in front of a crowd. Um, there’s a certain amount of tension that I undergo and like my palms will sweat my mouth, I’ll go dry. Um, so I, I think to a certain extent, everyone experiences a certain amount of anxiety when you’re put in a situation like that.:
Speaker 7:
Speaker 2:
How about making little icontact or you speak in an overly soft voice?:
Speaker 5:
Yeah, it’s like I have that, I mean when I like I noticed like when I went into my teacher’s classrooms did, you would always stand by the door. I noticed I would always try to avoid eye contact just cause I thought it would be awkward and sheets lingo was weird staring at her, so yeah. Yeah. Awesome.:
Speaker 2:
You definitely speak in a soft voice when you’re out in public too.:
Speaker 5:
I also hate when people actually stare at me cause I think it’s Kinda creepy and I don’t like it.:
Speaker 2:
And you always wonder what you’re thinking at that point too. You much.:
Speaker 7:
Speaker 2:
What’s this one? This one is you find it scary and difficult to be with other people, especially those you don’t already know and you have a hard time talking to them even though you wish you could. Relatable. Yeah. Do you know, is that something that happens at school or is that something that happens, you know, outside of like a restaurant or something with strangers.:
Speaker 5:
Wells. Well, I just want to save an example today at camp, like I just wanted to like sit alone on drawl, but like people kept sitting at the table and for some reason I’m like, I don’t want to sit alone. And like, I just got nervous and I didn’t want to like sit near them. So I trust, tried to like wait a little bit and then walk away. But it kind of, I just kept getting nervous. But when I’m out in restaurants, you know, I really don’t like telling the waiter my order and I normally look to mommy for her to tell it. So.:
Speaker 2:
Well, let me ask you about the incident with today. Um, did you, did they try to engage with you or talk to you or anything?:
Speaker 5:
We’re just setting up the same table. Well, the first time the girl was talking to me and she didn’t really, and that’s kind of what got me into the situation where I don’t want to sit next to anyone cause she was like talking and mumbling and she seemed to be talking to me. But I didn’t know if she was mumbling in our head or like a couple of times she would look at me,:
Speaker 2:
sweetie of she’s in her head and:
Speaker 5:
you can’t hear it. No. Like she was mumbling and I don’t know if she was talking to herself or to me, honestly, I didn’t really like it. It made me uncomfortable. So I just wanted to walk away and then I realized I wanted to be alone. But then when other people came, I realized, yeah.:
Speaker 2:
You know, it’s kind of funny that you mentioned this because I know, uh, during the school year you had a number of situations where you described yourself as being invisible. You know, where people either aren’t paying attention to you or engaging with you and now you find yourself potentially in a situation where somebody wants to engage with you and you don’t, you just want to be left alone now. So it’s kind of a weird, yeah. It’s kind of a reversal of what you had during the school year. Now that you didn’t know this person. Nope, I didn’t know them at all. Okay. And this was another student then? It wasn’t a counselor. Yep. Okay. Well it might be a good opportunity to make a new friend. They might be looking for a frame because they may not have any friends. There is nothing wrong with making friends, sweetheart, moving right along. Um, you’re very conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed and awkward.:
Speaker 5:
Yep. Relatable.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. And you’re afraid other people will judge you?:
Speaker 5:
Speaker 2:
Okay. But you, you adhere to the, uh, philosophy of daddy that you’re not worrying about what other people think of you though. So why don’t you worry about the them judging you?:
Speaker 5:
I don’t know. It’s like, what if they think like, I don’t know, like I can’t describe it. I know that I shouldn’t worry about what people think about me, but I’m always like, oh, should I say you really hate me? Want to punch me in the face? I don’t know.:
Speaker 2:
As long as they don’t punch you in the face, they can think anything they want to.:
Speaker 5:
I know. I really don’t know. Like:
Speaker 2:
at least if you, if the, you know that they hate you and want to punch in the face, at least you know when the doc,:
Speaker 5:
yeah, but like for some reason I just feel like people hate me and I don’t like that. Like I’m sure no one wants to be hated even though you don’t want to, you shouldn’t say nope. Think what? You should worry about what people think about you. It’s just:
Speaker 2:
what do you think of yourself, sweetie? Let me ask that.:
Speaker 5:
I think I’m a straight a student and I’m a nerd who’s somewhat selectively socially awkward.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. So do you hate yourself? No. So then why would other people hate you?:
Speaker 5:
I don’t know. I mean like people have their own opinions and I might not abide by them,:
Speaker 2:
but people are people. So people are going to come to their, their own opinions using the scene input methods that you have. So plus, as long as you go around being mean or poking sticks in people’s cages, chances are they’re not gonna hate you.:
Speaker 5:
I know, but like I think that’s just the one problem with being a teenager. You’re insecure. Mainly it was puberty. Once again, in the puberty you become insecure. Okay.:
Speaker 2:
That is true. I think I’m insecure, but, and I think this is, that’s, if anything, that’s what we probably need to address is those insecurities. And there’s another podcast coming up. It’s designed specifically for that. So I think lake member, when we went back and we did our podcast on depression, and you thought you were depressed and we kind of figured you weren’t depressed. And when we did our podcast on stress, after that, we came to the conclusion, you’re stressed, you’re not depressed. So some of the symptoms are similar and I think we’re going to find the same thing here. You’re not suffering from social anxiety, probably you are suffering from self confidence issues. And if we can solve that, it’ll solve the other. So the last thing that we have here, uh, let me just throw that out there real quick. As you stay away from places where there are other people, and I think you pretty much already answered that. Yeah. So, so you definitely have some of the symptoms on here, but I think it’s a 50, 50 split really. Your, you don’t suffer from all of them, then you might suffer from maybe half of them, but I think you suffer form from them for other reasons. So did you have any other questions or anything on what the signs of social anxiety where nobody, no. Okay. Let’s move right along.:
Speaker 2:
So we’re going to talk about when people experience social anxiety and there’s a lot of different situations where you can experience it. Yours was a very good example. You’re sitting at a table at camp and you’d just want to draw and be left alone and somebody sits down at the table with you. So that can definitely generate social anxiety. So here’s, uh, about six or eight other ones. Let me throw them out there. See if you experience social anxiety at these. Um, the first one on the list is one that you probably shouldn’t really be doing and that’s talking to strangers. How do, how well do you talk to strangers? Absolutely, absolutely. All fully well, give me an example.:
Speaker 5:
Let’s just say someone at camp wanted to say hi to me. I would probably just wave and if they wanted to start a conversation, I’d probably let them do most of the talking and I wouldn’t like say much. Sure.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. Um, speaking in public, I know there was a competition at the tail end of school this year where you had to write an essay and whoever won the essay contest, I had to read it in front of the class, in front of the graduation, uh, group. And I know you were anxious will say about that. How do you feel about speaking in public? Ignoring the fact that you have, as of right now, 2100 people that watched this podcast? No pressure.:
Speaker 5:
Yeah. Um, honestly I definitely get nervous. I think that’s when most of the time I actually start to sweat. Okay. And I get like sweaty arm, my palms get sweaty most of the time and I just get a little nervous and I might stutter a couple of times.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. But you can manage to speak in public though.:
Speaker 5:
Yeah, like when I was doing my presentation for our multicultural project, I was nervous cause I realized people were watching me and I didn’t like it cause I don’t like having eyes on me. Like I said before, having my teacher look at me, I just think people might think I’m weird and I don’t like eye contact.:
Speaker 2:
So who was doing the audience for that? Would, that was just your class at that point? Yeah. Okay. All right. And, and again, public speaking is something that a lot of people have phobias about. Um, the next one, um, as a father, I’m, I’m grateful that you really can’t offer a perspective on him that’s dating. Um, but you know, there, there are members of the audience out there that I’m sure are of dating age or who are dating. So it’s worthwhile to talk about this. Um, now granted it’s been a long time since daddy was dating. Um, so things have probably changed significantly since I was dating. Um, but even in dating situations, depending on what you do with your date, you know, you could have social anxiety with your date, which hopefully you wouldn’t, but you know, in the early stages you probably will, but you may be faced with situations where you have to interact with other people in the deep during the day too, whether it’s waitstaff at a restaurant, um, uh, concessions, people at a sporting event or, um, vendors at some kind of show.:
Speaker 2:
So there’s various opportunities and a lot of times you’re trying to impress the person that you’re with, so you may tend to act differently while interacting with other people. That puts additional pressure on you. So just an Fyi. And when it comes to dating, there are additional external factors that cause social anxiety. Um, when we’ve talked about briefly already is making eye contact. Um, clearly you don’t have a problem. You’re comfortable enough with me where you can make eye contact with me. Um, tell me about a situation where you’re having difficulty making eye contact. Say in school for instance, if the teacher’s talking to you.:
Speaker 5:
Well, I really don’t like to make eye contact, but, um, I try to make eye contact, but I just feel uncomfortable if I do it just for some reason I have this uneasy feeling if I ever looked into their eyes, I bet:
Speaker 2:
oral turn in though blinking contest. Oh my God, Daddy.:
Speaker 5:
Um, if I was talking to a student who wasn’t really my friend, I contact, I try to avoid.:
Speaker 2:
Okay, well one good, uh, trick for icontact issues like that. It’s looking at their mouth, don’t look at the rise. Yeah. That’s Kinda what I do. So that’s a safe way of doing, uh, entering rooms. So you enter a crowded room, you immediately become the center of attention. So that tends to cause a lot of social anxiety because all the eyes are on you at that point, right?:
Speaker 5:
Yeah. I don’t like crowds.:
Speaker 2:
Yeah. So like when you, you know, maybe you excuse yourself to go to the restroom at school and you walked back in and the kids were doing work, all of a sudden you’re the focus of attention at that point in time, right? Yeah. Some people thrive on it, but you know, I think most people are kind of makes them feel uncomfortable. Uh, using public restrooms. He ever have issues, anxiety issues using the restroom,:
Speaker 5:
all kinds of, I mean, when I’m on my period, I just, for some reason, like since I’m at school and if I’m at school and I’m on my period, I feel nervous if there’s anyone else in the bathroom. Like if they hear me like changing my pad, I’m going to be like, wow, I could see how that, I don’t feel like, I know it’s not, I know we already talked about it and how it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but I just can’t help it. Like if people, like, I don’t think I need some random person just walking another, the bathroom trying to do their business knowing I’m on my period.:
Speaker 2:
No. And I understand it’s a low, it’s a, it’s, it’s privacy is what it is. That lack of privacy tends to make people uncomfortable. One anything that’s totally understandable. I had that same issue of if I’m in in a public restroom and I have to go number two, I hate going number two in a public restroom one cause the bathrooms, men’s bathrooms are usually absolutely disgusting, but you know to, I don’t want to be sitting in a stall there and have someone you know in there in New York it’ll use a urinal and all of a sudden I’m stinking up the place, you know, it’s kind of embarrassing so I get that. I’m not going to parties. Do you go to the, you don’t go to a lot of parties, some, some birthday parties and stuff like that. Do you feel social anxiety showing up at a birthday party?:
Speaker 5:
Not really, no. I mean I actually enjoy the party because it’s mainly was one of my friends because some of my friends are normally there and of course one of my friends is at the birthday party. Don’t really feel so singularity there, but if I was, if mommy was invited to one of her friends’ birthday parties and none of, and they didn’t have any kids who were my friends, I’d probably not feel. And it was just a bunch of adults and I had to come along, I’d probably feel socially awkward. Gotcha. And I try not to and I tried to avoid eye contact with anyone.:
Speaker 2:
Yeah. So they’re stacking up. So how about eating in front of other people? How do you feel about eating in front of other people?:
Speaker 5:
Well normally I just eat in front of you guys and it’s totally fine. Even though I’m a big mess. And honestly if I saw, if I was a huge mess in front of someone, I wouldn’t really like it that much.:
Speaker 2:
Yeah. I noticed you really don’t have any issues eating in public. Like if we go to restaurants.:
Speaker 5:
Yeah. But like if someone literally just saw me having a big mess, I wouldn’t really feel too comfortable with that.:
Speaker 2:
Yeah. And I don’t think anybody would. So I don’t think that’s necessarily social anxiety. That’s just, you know, wanting not to embarrass yourself. How about going to school? You don’t go to work, so we can’t talk about that. Going to school, does it go into school, calls you social anxiety occasionally. Give me an example.:
Speaker 5:
In certain situations I mean like let’s take my class just saying how I was invisible and of course being someone in secure worrying about what they think. Unfortunately I can’t stop that. That’s kind of how I feel because even though I’m invisible, I’m like, why do I feel invisible? Do these kids not like me? What am I doing wrong?:
Speaker 2:
Right. Yeah, I totally see that in the last one that we have here is starting conversations. How good are you a have a conversation starter?:
Speaker 5:
Absolutely awful. Really? Honestly, I don’t even try to start conversations. I let other people try to start conversations and they really try to avoid starting conversations. Well, let’s go back to how I’m selective. Like, if I’m like most of my friends I meet, I kind of started the conversation like when my friend that Talia, but that’s when I’m being selective and like I noticed they have similar interest in me and like,:
Speaker 2:
I mean we can talk to them. I think when you have something that interests you, you don’t have any problems at all starting the conversation.:
Speaker 5:
Unfortunately. I really don’t start any more conversations anymore.:
Speaker 2:
But my point is, is that when there’s something that you want to talk about, you can talk about it. Um, when it’s someone that you don’t know what their interests are, you tend to be a little bit more reserved because you don’t want to talk about something that you know, they don’t want to talk about cause you’re afraid he’s going to embarrass. Um, I totally understand that a lot of people aren’t conversation starters.:
Speaker 5:
Can I also add on another one that also makes me nervous? Sure. Answering questions wrong in class.:
Speaker 2:
Uh, yes. I hate that. I know. Do you raise your hand a lot to answer questions or does that prevent you from answering them?:
Speaker 5:
I don’t really raise my hand. Okay. Often cause I’m either word, I get the question wrong or:
Speaker 2:
so despite the fact that you are a straight a student, you are in advanced math and you had the highest grade point average and signs in your class, you still lack the confidence to answer questions cause you think you’re going to get them wrong.:
Speaker 5:
I’m also afraid to ask questions.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. That’s, and that’s, that’s important. And again, I think all that goes back to our self confidence discussion. We have to have a, okay. That was all I had on where and when people experience social anxiety. Any questions or anything else to add? No. Okay.:
Speaker 6:
Speaker 2:
So how does social anxiety affect your life? Um, there’s a couple of things here. All of which obviously are negative. I don’t think there’s any positive effects of social anxiety aside from maybe you don’t talk to strangers. Um, so let me just run down all these real quick and then we’ll summarize your thoughts on it. So the first thing they do, they say is it a causes, low self esteem. And I think some of the things that we’ve talked about already would certainly lead to that. Um, it causes negative thoughts. Um, it could lead to depression. Of course, low self esteem and negative thoughts can lead to depression to uh, it causes sensitivity to criticism. Um, and it results in poor social skills that don’t improve. So how all of those that we talked about, do you think you suffer from any of those effects of social anxiety?:
Speaker 5:
Well, low self esteem might be one that um, I suffer from getting low self esteem. I’m also negative thoughts. Think that’s also a problem with me. Okay. Um, causing depression. I’m not depressed, so can’t really do anything about that. What’s the one after the depression?:
Speaker 2:
Sensitivity to criticism. Do you think that affected me? Like, um, you tend to take criticism well from mommy and I, but I, I don’t know how you take criticism from your teachers, for instance. I don’t really criticized me well. And criticism might not be, it sounds too negative. There’s such a thing as constructive criticism. You know, when you write a paper and the teacher marks it up and says, oh, you should, you could have used this word instead of this word, or you could have phrased it differently. That’s constructive criticism. It’s criticism of, of your work in a manner designed to help you improve and get better. Honestly, I don’t take that offensively good. You shouldn’t because that’s really what helps you improve. And the other one was poor social skills that don’t improve.:
Speaker 6:
Speaker 2:
I’m not good at starting conversations in certain cases and, and that’s a thing. Yeah. I think you’re selective socializing skills. I think you’re misinterpreting those as social anxiety when you’re with your friends and you’re with the people that you know and that you like, your social skills are top notch. In fact, your social skills are so good that a lot of the other kids look up to you. You can’t ask for much more of a compliment than that. I think you were reluctant to allow other people into that circle. Um, which is not unusual. I am too. Um, but I think at your age and what you’re going through now, it’s probably detrimental to you to not do that. Um, because you know, at this stage in your life, you need friends, you need people you can socialize with. And like I said about camp, you know, it would behoove you to make friends with people at Camp that are going to be in your school next year cause you’re going to have a lot of new kids in your school and you’re probably gonna feel pretty isolated cause a lot of your friends are underclassmen and won’t be there.:
Speaker 2:
So it would be very advantageous for you to make friends. Now unfortunately that’s not exactly how I can work, but it can sweetheart, you’re just not allowing it. And Rolling second day of camp here. So you’ve got several weeks of camp left to loosen up, unwind, let that person sit down next to you and say something to them. It’s going to be difficult and, and we’ll talk about some of the things that you can do, but part of what it is that you have to do is you have to confront some of these anxieties if you’re ever want to overcome them. So, but we’ll talk about those in a little bit. Um, any questions on how it affects your life?:
Speaker 6:
Nope. Okay.:
Speaker 2:
So we can have several things that will help you to prevent or treat social anxiety. Uh, some of these are clinical, some of these don’t apply to you. Um, and some of these are kind of common sense. So the first one we have is learn stress reduction skills because one of the things of social anxiety is a stress effect. So lot of the things that we talked about during our stress podcast work, you know, counting backwards, you know, pushing against, you know, all the various meditation things to focus your energies will help you with stress with that will help you with anxiety, stress, um, getting physical exercise or being physically active on a regular basis. Um, social anxiety, a lot of social anxiety is pent up energy that you have. So the more socially active, you know, we’d go out and we have a catch with a football or you know, maybe we’ll light saber duel or something like that.:
Speaker 2:
Um, stuff to get that energy out, get that energy flowing in and focusing away from the negative things that you’re thinking about getting enough sleep. You know, if you get up on a Monday morning and you didn’t get enough sleep and you’re cranky, that’s seriously going to impact the ability to socialize. So we know we have to get that. Um, and with that, what goes in hand to hand, hand in hand with a good night’s sleep. Is it eating healthy? We talked about this the other day. You know, you need to have a well balanced diet that feeds into the healthy sleep. With a healthy body, healthy mind, you’re more capable of dealing with anxiety of any kind, whether it’s social or otherwise. Avoid alcohol. You have to stop drinking, sweetheart, this just isn’t working out.:
Speaker 8:
Oh my God, I’ve never had a sip of alcohol before. I’m too young to even drink or smoke. There’s, there’s not a problem that I need to worry about right now. Okay. So quit making jokes about it. You know, I try to avoid at all costs. I even get crazy about mommy for just drinking those small. Yeah.:
Speaker 2:
Maybe I should pencil in here. Get a sense of humor is part of the treatment. You get a sense of humor, uh, limit or avoid caffeine, which we talked about as well. Oh, of course. So caffeine has a, you know, a chemical effect on the body that can cause anxiety. Just caffeine itself can cause feelings of anxiety. They can cause symptoms of these. Your heart beating fast, your inability to breathe, right? So caffeine is a, as it calls for that. And the other one is participate in social situation, social situations by reaching out to people to whom you feel comfortable. So more socializing. We already established the fact that you’re okay socializing with your friends, right? So the idea is, well, if you’re socialize more with them, it’ll help to improve those skills and help you overcome, make you more comfortable socializing. So you need to have, spend more time with your friends and that’ll, that’ll help because you don’t get to spend that much time with your friends outside of school.:
Speaker 5:
Excellent. That’s one of my favorite, um, waste.:
Speaker 2:
Yeah. And I think that’s great. I think we need to do more of that. And, and again, if you go to a friend’s house and you’re hanging on to the friend’s house, they might have other friends in their neighborhood that you may wind up hanging out with the you don’t normally know. And that helps with that as well. It’s just like if you want to get stronger, you know, if you want your upper body’s for anthropy stronger, you have to exercise those muscles. If you want your social skills to get better, you have to exercise those skills. If you want. You’re bringing, you want to get better at math, do you have to exercise those brains skills? So the easiest way to do that is to get into situations where you’re already comfortable and expand from there. Just like fears. Remember when we talked about our fears, where if you’re afraid of spiders, the first thing that you want to do is maybe get a book and look at a book of spiders where you know they can hurt you and you slowly expose yourself to that fear and you start to get over. Same thing with social anxiety. That’s another fear that you have. So there’s ways to get around their questions. Nope. Okay.:
Speaker 2:
So we talked about a couple of steps there that we can improve. So here’s some small steps that are everyday things that you can do. Okay? So one is eat with a close relative or friend or acquaintance in a public setting. So here’s another situation where you can be social with your friends. You guys go out to a restaurant or a food court or something like that and you’re sitting around other people. So that person that sat at your table at camp who freaked you out. Well, you’re sitting with your best friend there might not be as freaky and it helps you to expose yourself to that a little more. Um, purposefully make eye contact and return greetings from others or be the first to say hello and this one’s kind of a stretch. Little hard to do. But a lot of times what you’ll find is when you engage the person first and they respond back, immediately diffuses that tension that you, that artificial tension that you put in the room:
Speaker 5:
as is the reason why I don’t start conversations is that I’m afraid the person will actually respond like in a nice that they won’t even respond at all. So:
Speaker 2:
no, and if you just say hello, very few people are gonna jump down your throat for saying hello, and that’s the first step to a conversation and then find something that is, you know, insignificant that you can, you can continue that car house to weather. No Beautiful Day out today. Oh, it’s a crowded in here, isn’t it? You know, meaningless banter back and forth, but it helps to break the ice and get the conversation going. Then they might notice, Oh, you’re wearing a superhero shirt. Oh, you like you like marvel or you’re wearing your, you’re not today, obviously you don’t have to look, but you could be wearing your goose shirt. Oh, did you see Captain Marvel? Yeah, I did. What’d you think of the movie? Oh, I thought it was pretty. Stuff like that, uh, observation. All right. So you start with the small stuff that anybody can talk about and then through observation you can expand.:
Speaker 5:
And the reason why I don’t really, as soon as I found another reason why I don’t like conversations, like if I mistake something, like if I think they watch the movie when they actually didn’t, but they want to.:
Speaker 2:
Well you ask, especially when it comes to movies cause you don’t want to give out spoilers. Right. Exactly. Say Oh did you, you didn’t happen to see Avengers yet. Did you know? Ah, well it’s a, it’s an all right movie. You know what I mean? You can give, you know, your opinion of the movie without giving spoilers and it’s still a conversation and it doesn’t have to be a long conversation either. Or he can give someone a compliment. Oh, I love your shirt. That’s a nice looking shirt you have on. And even though you might not like it, it’s not necessarily a lie or you’re here, it looks very nice in that color or you’ve got beautiful eyes. You don’t want to get too creepy.:
Speaker 5:
Yeah, I’m not saying beautiful eyes,:
Speaker 2:
right? You, you get the point. But you know, competence. Someone, Oh, it was really nice you to come out to the, to the art show today or thanks for coming out to look at the art show or you know, something like that. It’s little things. People love to hear compliments about themselves and you’re almost guaranteed to get a positive response. We can do that. So again, that the fuses, that anxiety you have about getting a negative response. Um, if you’re out shopping, the next one is ask a retail clerk to help you find the night. You might know where the item is, but by engaging them and asking them to help you, it helps you to get over that anxiety you can go to, you got a box lunch. All right. And you’re looking for, uh, you know, particular vinyl of pop vinyl. Do you guys don’t happen to have a, just the goose pop vinyl here, do you, you may have already looked and seen that they don’t have it, but that allows you to engage people and it allows you engage them in a safe way because it’s that person’s job to help you out at that point.:
Speaker 2:
So they’re not going to jump all over you. They’re not going to be angry. They’re not going to be mean. Most people aren’t. But when you engage in a controlled manner like this, you’re kind of guiding that conversation already into a direction that, you know, it’s, it’s controlled and comfortable. Um, get directions from a stranger. As a guy, I never asked for directions, so I can’t vouch for that one. Yeah, but you shouldn’t talk to strangers. Don’t do that. Here is another key one, and this is, this is important in any kind of social environment and that is to show an interest in others. Ask about their homes or their children or their grandchildren, uh, their hobbies or travels or instance or anything like that.:
Speaker 5:
I mean I try to smile and act like I’m interested even though sometimes I’m not, it’s a little hard, like I don’t really smile too much is on a strangers.:
Speaker 2:
Oh. And it is, I mean, socializing can be difficult, especially if you have anxiety about it, but these are techniques of engagement of how can you talk to someone without that seeming danger of them judging you. Yeah. So complementing saying hello first, you know, appearing to be outgoing will help to diffuse any tension that might be there right off the bat. And the last thing is call a friend to make plans. You be the one to make plans. You be the one that call Suzy or Sally and say, Hey, let’s get together this weekend. You’d be the initiator if you’re the initiator. That helps to build that confidence level up of our almond charge. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to reach out to you to do. So. They’re just little enabling things to help you get over some of these anxieties. Okay? Yep. Uh, we’ve got one segment left to come back to and then we can finish with her. Closing remarks.:
Speaker 2:
So there’s a number of things you can do to prepare. If you know you’re going to be in a social situation, if you, if you’re going to school or going to camp or, or whatever the situation is that you’re going into. Um, if you’re going to go see a friend, you can prepare for the conversation by reading a newspaper or watching the news and having something to talk about. Oh, hey, did you see about that refinery fire that happened this morning over there? And that was pretty bad, wasn’t it? Either they did or they didn’t. If they did, then they will respond with what they thought if they didn’t like. Yeah, I saw it on the news this morning when I was getting ready for camp. Um, focus on personal qualities like about yourself. Um, talk about some of your hobbies. Ask other people what are their hobbies. Um, practice relaxation exercises, breathing.:
Speaker 2:
Like, you know, when you get excited, you get upset. The first thing that daddy says is breathe. Just breathe. That’s the first step to everything. So before you walk into that room, you know, Paul’s outside. Take a couple of deep cleansing breaths and then walk into the room. Calm yourself beforehand. Learn stress management techniques. We already talked about that. Set realistic goals. You know, if you’re going into a restaurant and you’re going to order, uh, expect that it’s going to be noisy, expect that they’re not going to be able to hear you. Um, so when that’s the case, you know, you need to speak up or you know, understand what’s on the menu, what you’re gonna, what you’re gonna Order, you know, something like that. If you’re going out with friends, understand that other people may come up to you and want to talk to you or say something to you and just be ready for that.:
Speaker 2:
Um, pay attention to how often the embarrassing situations that you’re afraid of actually take place. Because you may notice that the scenarios you fear usually don’t come to pass or they don’t happen as often as you think. Keep a note of that. You know, did someone judge me when I said hi to him? Well, no, the last four times they, they really didn’t. And when you go back and you look at that in a calm manner, your, your mind will start to rationalize it. And when embarrassing situations do happen, remind yourself that your, that your feelings will pass and you can handle them until they do. You know, if you feel embarrassed, okay, all right, this is going to pass. You know, I’m not going to be standing in front of these people for too long. Um, most people around you either don’t notice or don’t care as much as you think about these things that you focus on and they’re more forgiving than you probably give him credit for.:
Speaker 2:
The average human being is not gonna persecute you for a little bit of anxiety. Everybody has it at some level. And I think that’s the important thing. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything broken about you. It means you’re pretty normal person. Everybody has it. So I think that’s the takeaway here. I don’t think you suffer from social anxiety. I think the issues that you have are more self confidence related. And if we can learn to deal with that. And improve that these problems will go away or be minimized. Okay. Any comments on that?:
Speaker 5:
Nope. I just agree with all of um, the ways to have you made mind think.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. So we will come back and I’ll turn it over to you for closing remarks in shout outs and to you my dear.:
Speaker 5:
So from my closing remarks today, I would like to talk about to the people directly who have social anxiety and all the symptoms that we have talked about. If you are suffering from social anxiety, I do recommend trying your best to find people who have your interest in. I get that it’s hard to go and go up to friends because I’ve actually experienced that before when my dad told me I should at least get, I should at least get one frat new friends by the end of the summer. I knew wasn’t really going to be possible. And I don’t really think for me it’s possible, but I would try to recommend doing the small steps going forward and having your mind thinks that, hey, who cares what these people think? Why should I care? And I know it’s confusing, it’s confusing for me, but I would recommend trying to talk to someone and try to talk to your friends who you care about, who are you, you are, are okay with talking to and eventually taking the small steps forward to eventually solving your social anxiety.:
Speaker 2:
Okay. That’s very good advice. Read Art, any shout outs this week?:
Speaker 5:
Um, I guess I’ll give a shout out to all my friends who I met, who I eventually went up and talked to because you have helps me real with those moments. You’ve helped me realize that I am not, I don’t have social anxiety. I’m just selectively social.:
Speaker 2:
There you go. Very good. Um, I did want to offer a programming note. Um, last week we did have some technical difficulties in, in getting the episodes posted and uh, that resulted in us posting late. We typically record, uh, sometime during the weekend, uh, and we schedule our, our releases for Monday mornings at eight for both the video and the audio. And, uh, unfortunately we couldn’t meet that deadline last week. Um, and, uh, the technical difficulties, difficulties also prevented us from streaming the episodes on Sunday night like we do. Um, so I just wanted to apologize for that and, uh, hopefully we won’t have that problem this week. That’s up. So, so I think that’s, we had, um, thank you for joining us. Thank you for having me. And, uh, we’ll be back next week with another great podcast. Hi, everyone.:
Speaker 6:

Show Notes

  • Introduction
    • Insights Into Teens Episode 21 “Social Anxiety”
    • Principles list awardee Madison Whalen
  • What is Social Anxiety
    • National Institute of Mental Health
    • A person with social anxiety disorder feels symptoms of anxiety or fear in certain or all social situations, such as meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, or having to talk to a cashier in a store. Doing everyday things in front of people—such as eating or drinking in front of others or using a public restroom—also causes anxiety or fear. The person is afraid that he or she will be humiliated, judged, and rejected.

      Social anxiety disorder usually starts during youth in people who are extremely shy. Social anxiety disorder is not uncommon; research suggests that about 7 percent of Americans are affected. Without treatment, social anxiety disorder can last for many years or a lifetime and prevent a person from reaching his or her full potential.

  • What are the signs of Social Anxiety
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Muscle tension
    • Dizziness and lightheadedness
    • Stomach trouble and diarrhea
    • Inability to catch breath
    • “Out-of-body” sensation
    • Blush, sweat, tremble, or feel their “mind going blank”
    • Show a rigid body posture, make little eye contact, or speak with an overly soft voice
    • Find it scary and difficult to be with other people, especially those they don’t already know, and have a hard time talking to them even though they wish they could
    • Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed and awkward
    • Be very afraid that other people will judge them
    • Stay away from places where there are other people
  • When do people generally experience Social Anxiety
    • Talking to strangers
    • Speaking in public
    • Dating
    • Making eye contact
    • Entering rooms
    • Using public restrooms
    • Going to parties
    • Eating in front of other people
    • Going to school or work
    • Starting conversations
  • How does Social Anxiety affect your life
    • Low self-esteem
    • Negative thoughts
    • Depression
    • Sensitivity to criticism
    • Poor social skills that don’t improve
  • Prevention and Treatment
    • Learn stress reduction skills
    • Get physical exercise or be physically active on a regular basis
    • Get enough sleep
    • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
    • Avoid alcohol
    • Limit or avoid caffeine
    • Participate in social situations by reaching out to people with whom you feel comfortable

  • Small steps to help curb social anxiety
    • Eat with a close relative, friend or acquaintance in a public setting
    • Purposefully make eye contact and return greetings from others, or be the first to say hello
    • Give someone a compliment
    • Ask a retail clerk to help you find an item
    • Get directions from a stranger
    • Show an interest in others — ask about their homes, children, grandchildren, hobbies or travels, for instance
    • Call a friend to make plans

  • Prepare for social situation
    • Prepare for conversation, for example, by reading the newspaper to identify an interesting story you can talk about.
    • Focus on personal qualities you like about yourself.
    • Practice relaxation exercises.
    • Learn stress management techniques.
    • Set realistic goals.
    • Pay attention to how often the embarrassing situations you’re afraid of actually take place. You may notice that the scenarios you fear usually don’t come to pass.
    • When embarrassing situations do happen, remind yourself that your feelings will pass, and you can handle them until they do. Most people around you either don’t notice or don’t care as much as you think, or they’re more forgiving than you assume.
  • Closing Remarks and Shoutouts