Anxiety is more than just shyness. For many of us, social anxiety is a dreadful ghost that follows us around, constantly tugging at our arms to remind us that “something bad is going to happen.” What exactly is “something bad”? Often, it can be attached to the fear of the unknown, judgment, or not being accepted by those with whom you wish to form some sort of friendship or relationship. No, it’s not all in your head. Anxiety-related disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, but only about one-third of those who suffer are currently receiving treatment for the disorder, even though it is regarded as highly treatable by professionals.

As the world grows more and more connected, it seems as though many people are finding their fear of social situations growing larger every day. Understanding the root cause is vital in overcoming the distress that can be caused by socializing and connecting with others and then utilizing the tools to live a happier life with others. Here, we will break down some ways to overcome social anxiety.

Try self-help for social anxiety.

In our fast-paced world, we don’t often find ourselves with much time to sit alone and reflect. Journaling about your daily happenings is a great place to start and can be a very informative way to understand your behavioral patterns. Feelings of anxiousness can also be lessened by using natural remedies like CBD. CBD has been studied in great depth to understand the benefits of calming the central nervous system and aiding in overall mental health issues. The best CBD for anxiety and depression is the one that encourages you to take a deep breath and find your center. While some people find that THC increases their anxiety and paranoia, CBD does not have THC and so doesn’t offer any type of “high” feeling; rather, it soothes the body and mind into a calmer state.

The benefits of CBD may include relieving discomfort, calming an overactive mind, lessening feelings of burnout, and helping with insomnia. The first time you try CBD, it is highly encouraged to do so in a safe environment, preferably at home to first understand how it will affect your mind and body, and always consult your physician if you feel symptoms of anxiousness or burnout.

Get yourself out there.

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Anxiety sufferers understand the gut-wrenching fear that is meeting new people in public places, so finding a social spot that you love is a priority. Whether it’s a great spot in DTLA where you discover the best craft beers or it’s a DC rooftop brunch filled with tapas and the perfect Bloody Mary, discovering a space that feels familiar and fun will bring a little ease to your social excursions. It’s not that people with social anxiety don’t want to be social: It’s that the fear of rejection can be such a daunting belief that it can literally stop us cold in our tracks. No one likes small talk anyway.

For those with a mental health condition, it may feel as though the world is closing in on you, even while just standing in line at the grocery store. Your social life may be taking a major hit as you find you have difficulty speaking in front of people without immediately having a racing heart, but understanding why the discomfort is there and how to reduce your social fears is a promising first step to lessening your triggers and learning how to feel safe during social interaction again. If you find at-home remedies to be insufficient when treating your anxiety disorder, it is best to contact a psychiatrist for mental health care.