Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG
We can draw on nature’s wisdom to relieve social anxiety. Approaches range from going within ourselves to reconsider our own thoughts, to utilizing herbal medicines.
Prior to attending a function, develop a plan of anxiety management techniques to employ. Sip on a relaxing herbal tea while you consider your options. Chamomile, linden, oat straw, and red clover are great choices.
Try adding some essential oils to a bath or moisturizer. Lavender, rose, sandalwood, and jasmine smell delicious and have soothing qualities. They are scents that keep you grounded.
Bring a few drops of your chosen essential oil on a tissue or in a diffuser necklace to the function. If you start to feel anxious, take a deep breath of your favorite aroma. The fragrance will comfort you and the breath will relax you.
Try breaking down the situation into small components with your mind. Concentrate on the people that you are interacting with, not the entire group. Sit or stand in less crowded areas. Take breaks by walking around or glancing out of a window. Focus on your reason for being there. Take note of what is interesting about the people and your surroundings.
Do not think about how long you have to endure being in the situation. Decide that “I can do this for one hour, minute, or second at a time”. Be kind to yourself.
Learn breathing exercises. Four part breathing is an easy technique to use. No one will notice you doing it, but it can prevent hyperventilation and provide you with a focused activity to calm yourself.
To do four part breathing: inhale through your nose to a count of four, hold that breath gently to another count of four and exhale to a count of four. Count to four before you begin the next cycle. Repeat three times or as desired. This will release stress-reducing chemicals that soothe you.
Consider incorporating some calming herbs such as lemon balm, passionflower or lavender into your plan. They work best when consumed on a regular basis. Be prepared. If you have social anxiety, face the fact that you do experience it, at least for now. It does not mean that you will always be anxious in social situations. Having a plan will empower you to overcome it, one situation at a time.
Lemon balm has antidepressant, relaxing effects and tastes fabulous. Enjoy it as one of your soothing teas prior to attending a social event. Lemon balm can also be consumed as drops or tablets. During the Middle Ages, the Emperor Charlemagne, decreed that it should be "grown in all gardens because it made the heart merry”. Lemon Balm calms nervous stomachs.
Passionflower possesses anxiety-reducing qualities. It is calming and gentle. Passionflower relieves anxiety, insomnia, and panic attacks. The herb has pain relieving effects which reduce stress-related headaches that sometimes occur with social anxiety. Passionflower is antispasmodic. Like lemon balm, passionflower soothes butterflies in the stomach.
Lavender herb can be taken internally. It relieves migraines that are triggered by social anxiety. Lavender possesses antidepressant and relaxing properties.
Nature has provided us with a tool box of modalities to ease social anxiety. With advance planning, you will have a diverse assortment of means to help you cope with anxiety provoking circumstances. Implement these strategies and you will feel more in charge of your anxiety. Knowing that you have tools and choices will empower you to cope better. By implementing these natural tools, social anxiety will fade from your life.