Surprisingly, being around other people is something we need to survive and thrive as humans.
Humans are tribal, pack animals with few natural defences. We’re not poisonous, don’t have protective spiky things all over our bodies, and can’t run very fast in the grand scheme of things. Our strength is in our numbers, and we’ve survived throughout evolution by living in close-knit family groups and communities; we’re not great on our own. In fact, we have only recently begun to live more isolated lives in the last 40 years or so.
One of the less desirable aspects of technology is that it isolates us; we communicate via text, email, social media, computer screens, and mobile phones; we talk less and meet up even less; we don’t even have to go out to get our groceries these days; we can order them online and have them delivered to our door; is it any wonder that social situations are becoming more difficult for people?
Not so long ago we didn’t have a choice, and having a social phobia or anxiety wasn’t an option, but it’s a condition that’s on the rise, sadly aided by technology
Even more ironically, those who develop social anxiety or social phobia are typically lovely, likeable people who would never intentionally offend anyone; however, their social anxiety stems from their concern about what other people think of them.
People with social anxiety or social phobia are filling in the blanks of what other people are thinking about them, imagining that others will judge them or think they are in some way inadequate.
The problem here, is that our brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality, so when we imagine someone else laughing at us or being humiliated by something we do or say, we believe it and become anxious, which prevents us from doing what we need to do – be around people.
Have you ever been in a situation where you arranged to spend an evening or go to a do with friends or relatives?
When the time comes, you don’t feel like it, you don’t feel up to it, and you really don’t want to go – but you can’t come up with an excuse, and the anxiety of letting them down is even worse.
When we socialise, we produce beneficial hormones and neurotransmitters that make us feel good, but when we create anxiety by negatively forecasting and worrying about a situation, we produce adrenalin, which takes over and makes us avoid putting ourselves in that situation because adrenalin signals to us crisis, emergency, or danger, all of which we want to avoid.
We combine neuroscience, solution-focused techniques, and hypnosis at Mulberry Hypnotherapy. We help people with social anxiety or social phobia gain confidence and self-esteem by changing how they think about social situations and interactions.