Knowing whether or not you have social anxiety can be difficult. There are varying degrees of anxiety and if you don’t talk about it then it’s hard to pinpoint which kind you may be suffering from. Sometimes it’s also hard to know whether or not you just get scared before tests or if you find yourself getting scared for longer periods of time. So, first let’s break it down with the difference between anxiety and social anxiety.
The dictionary defines anxiety as “apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over an impending or anticipated ill,” which is pretty much a fancier way of saying that you get a little scared when you think something bad is about to happen. It’s perfectly normal for students to get nervous before they present or before they have a test. Many students have the same fears that you do before something big in class happens so just remember that you’re not alone with these feelings.
Social anxiety is a little different but shares many similarities to general anxiety. Social anxiety is medically defined by Merriam’s dictionary as “a form of anxiety that is brought about by social situations (such as meeting strangers, dating, or public speaking) in which embarrassment or a negative judgment by others may occur.” Now, as I said before, a little anxiety is perfectly normal. It’s always a little nerve-wracking to be introduced to a new teacher or being paired with a new student for a project.
But, there are ways to help yourself feel a little more at ease so you can cope with any kind of social or general anxiety.
First, you need to speak to your caregivers or your parents about what you’re feeling – especially if your anxiety lasts longer than the school day. They’re there to guide you and to help you understand what social anxiety means. Rest assured they will help you with your anxious thoughts and remind you of the rational things that sometimes slip our minds when we’re feeling scared.
Usually anxiety is accompanied with feelings of nausea, wobbly limbs, headaches, heavy breathing, and a possible desire to cry. It’s important to remember that these feelings will pass. There are also ways to calm yourself down when you feel these sensations coming. Take deep breaths. Talk to a friend or to someone who helps you feel at ease. Listen to some music that you love. These quick tips will offer you some relief before doing something that makes you nervous.
However, one of the most important things to remember is that if you ever feel alone or scared, you need to speak to someone about it. If you ever feel anxious during the day outside of school or you think you’re more nervous than you ought to be, you need to say something. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re going through something alone and I can guarantee that you’re not. Don’t ever avoid your feelings. They’re important and there are lots of people out there to help you.