The only thing normally holding many people back—and away from their dreams—is themselves. They suffer from terrible fears when they try to better their lives. Inner fears like frustration, failure and lack of confidence allow some to be talked out of success by their own demons. These fears control the lives of many people but can be conquered.
This new series of blog articles is all about fears that will hold you back—and how to conquer them. This week we are going to take a look at sociophobia, a crippling fear that can stop you reaching your full potential, and can even stop you from living a normal, everyday life.
Sociophobia is the fear of society or people. People with this phobia find it hard to even have or maintain friendships.
The origin of the word socio is Latin (meaning interpersonal relationships) and phobia is Greek (meaning fear). Sociophobia is considered to be a social phobia, which is discussed on the home page. Sociophobia is also known as anthropophobia and related to phobanthropy, which is a morbid dread of being around other people and of human society in general.
Recognizing Your Phobia
The symptoms of sociophobia can vary greatly by person depending on their level of fear. The symptoms typically include extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, nausea, inability to articulate words or sentences, dry mouth and shaking. If you are finding you’re sweating with an increased heartbeat when in the presence of people, you may well be suffering from sociophobia.
Overcoming Your Phobia
Recognizing Negative Thoughts
The first step is to identify the automatic negative thoughts that underlie your fear of social situations. For example, if you’re worried about an upcoming work presentation, the underlying negative thought might be: “I’m going to blow it. Everyone will think I’m completely incompetent.”
It helps to ask yourself questions about the negative thoughts: “Do I know for sure that I’m going to blow the presentation?” or “Even if I’m nervous, will people necessarily think I’m incompetent?” Through this logical evaluation of your negative thoughts, you can gradually replace them with more realistic and positive ways of looking at social situations that trigger your anxiety.
Feel No Fear
It can be incredibly frightening to think about why you feel and think the way you do about social situations, but understanding the reasons for your anxieties will help lessen their negative impact on your life.
Look Around You!
In order to reduce self-focus, pay attention to what is happening around you, rather than monitoring yourself or focusing on symptoms of anxiety in your body. Try looking at those around you, the sky, trees, plants or anything else that is going on in your vicinity. Focus on the world at large.
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