Social anxiety is very real, but it shouldn’t keep you from participating in life. Read on and discover how to use CBD for social anxiety.
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Last year was tough. According to Mental Health America, more than eight out of every ten people had moderate to severe anxiety towards the later parts of 2020. And it’s no wonder! Routines were upended, socializing changed, and things that were once normal became scary. Now that things are opening up and slowly returning to normal, everything’s all better…right? Not exactly.
Our nervous systems adapted after a year’s worth of social distancing. As a result, social anxiety is on the rise, but it’s important to understand that it’s more than just shyness. Social anxiety disorder is a legitimate mental health condition. While some people may adapt quickly to being back out in the public eye, others are struggling. Plus, those who were diagnosed with social anxiety disorder before 2020 may find it even more difficult to socialize now.
Luckily, there are several techniques and routines you can use to ease social anxiety. Even if your anxiety isn’t related to the trauma of 2020 (you know, the year we all want to forget), you still deserve to interact with friends and family. Read on for all the details, plus some specific ways you can use CBD to ease social anxiety.
Disclaimer: We want to take a moment and remind everyone that while CBD is considered a safe and mild supplement, you should always talk with your doctor before adding CBD to your regimen.
What is Social Anxiety?
First, it’s a lot more than just being shy. Admittedly, those who are more reserved or shy tend to develop social anxiety more often than extroverted individuals. However, it’s so much more than that.
Social anxiety disorder is a legitimate mental health condition that affects a surprisingly large number of people. Roughly fifteen million adults in the US experience social anxiety. There’s no specific cause, but experiencing trauma can increase the risk of developing social anxiety. This disorder is characterized by powerful, persistent feelings of being watched or judged by others in social settings. These feelings are so intense they can impact your day-to-day activities and have negative influences on your relationships.
But what does social anxiety really feel like? Sometimes it’s specific social situations that cause anxiety (like public speaking). For some people, however, it’s ALL social interactions. It can make it hard to make new friends, date, be successful at work, participate in class, or even just ask a store clerk where an item is located. The smallest social interaction might cause someone with this type of anxiety to feel judged, embarrassed, humiliated, and even rejected.
The fear of these situations is so great that some with social anxiety end up isolating themselves as an avoidance tactic. Considering the different ways that social anxiety disorders might manifest, it’s easy to understand why…
- Rapid heart rate
- Brain fog
- Difficulty making eye contact
- Difficulty speaking up
- Difficulty interacting with new and old friends
- Negative self-talk
- Easily embarrassed
Even those who were social butterflies before 2020 are finding it difficult to begin socializing again. Events that once left people energized now leave them feeling drained. They may have happily changed plans at the drop of a hat before, but now they’re planning simple outings weeks in advance and experiencing anxiety as the date approaches.
If your social anxiety is caused by an extended period of isolation (like many of us experienced in 2020) then it’s entirely possible you’ll happily adapt to socializing again over time. However, if these new feelings of social anxiety don’t go away on their own, it may be time to try some techniques to find relief.
Common Techniques for Social Anxiety Relief
If your social anxiety is mild enough, sometimes simple things like setting boundaries, communicating with friends and family about your anxiety, and even just “practice” can help you slowly be more comfortable in social settings. However, if that doesn’t work and social anxiety is starting to negatively impact your quality of life, it may be time to consider the following options.
Speaking with others who understand what you’re experiencing can be incredibly helpful. Not only does it help validate your experiences, but it also gives you an opportunity to receive “unbiased, honest feedback about how others in the group see you.” The National Institute of Mental Health says this helps you understand how feelings of judgment and/or rejection are distorted internal thoughts and not necessarily true.
Plus, there are both in-person and online support groups to choose from. This means those with severe social anxiety can access support groups from the comfort of their own home. Conversely, in-person options provide a safe place to practice socializing with others who understand what you’re going through.
Working with a mental health care professional is sometimes the best way to find relief, especially if opening up to an entire support group seems too overwhelming. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a particularly helpful option because it helps address specific thought processes, behaviors, and reactions that may be contributing to anxiety.
For severe social anxiety, doctors sometimes prescribe anti-anxiety, antidepressants, and/or beta-blockers. Some of these options begin working right away, while others may need several months to take effect.
Benzodiazepines, for example, begin working right away to relieve anxiety. However, people can also become dependent on them and require higher doses over time. Antidepressants, while normally prescribed to address depression, can also sometimes help those with certain types of anxiety. Unfortunately, they’re also not without their side effects (headaches, nausea, difficulty sleeping, changes in mood, etc.). If your doctor believes this is the best option for you, they’ll work with you to determine the most appropriate medication for your social anxiety.
Over the last few years, more people are choosing CBD before prescription medications. While medications like those mentioned above can provide relief, many people don’t want to deal with the side effects or simply want a more natural option.
CBD is a chemical compound extracted from the industrial hemp plant. It interacts with your endocannabinoid system (ECS) to bring several different physiological systems back into balance. This gives CBD some pretty fascinating effects, one of which is reducing anxiety.
There are even studies indicating it may be a valid treatment for several anxiety disorders, including social anxiety. Another study specifically looked at how CBD may help those with social anxiety related to public speaking. The subjects who were given CBD before the test showed “significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance…”
This is phenomenal news for those looking for a mild supplement to provide anxiety relief. But how exactly do you use CBD to relieve social anxiety?
Regularly Use CBD Oil For Chronic Social Anxiety
If you’re regularly fighting social anxiety, a CBD regimen that you stick to every day will be the most helpful. It’s important to remember that because CBD is so mild, it may take some time to notice the effects. Using CBD Oil daily, however, will help it build up in your system. You won’t suddenly get the urge to become a social butterfly, but over time you’ll notice less fear and anxiety in situations that might have made you uncomfortable in the past.
Once you find the right CBD strength and figure out when is the best time for you to take CBD, you’ll notice how much easier it is to engage in social activities. For mild social anxiety, you’ll probably be fine with a lower-strength CBD oil. However, if your anxiety is intense, consider using 1000 or 2000mg CBD Oil.
Use CBD Gummies As Needed For Occasional Social Anxiety
If your social anxiety only bothers you occasionally, you may feel more comfortable using CBD Gummies as needed. It’s important to remember, however, that the CBD from a Gummy will need longer to take effect than the CBD from an Oil.
Since CBD Oil can be taken sublingually, it gets into your bloodstream faster and you’ll notice the effects within 15-20 minutes. Gummies, on the other hand, have to move through your digestive system first. That means it may take 30 minutes to an hour for the effects to kick in.
That means you should take a CBD Gummy as soon as you start to experience social anxiety. We recommend using that time to practice other stress-reducing techniques until the effects kick in. That will help you focus on positive things and not on any stimulus that may be contributing to anxiety.
Keep CBD Products On Hand For Emergency Relief
Whether you prefer CBD Oil or Gummies, it’s never a bad idea to keep some handy for emergency relief. One of the trickiest things about anxiety is that you can’t always anticipate when it will pop up. Even after analyzing your triggers, sometimes something surprises us. We can feel like we’re on top of the world, and then suddenly one tiny detail causes a panic attack.
Sometimes just knowing that you have CBD available is enough to deter anxiety, but being able to actually use CBD when you really need it is a lifesaver. If any of the following items apply to you, consider keeping some CBD on hand for emergency relief…
- A particularly big event coming up
- An important meeting at work
- A very busy day with little or no breaks
- Lots of errands to run
- Trying something new (restaurant, gym, etc.)
You Deserve Relief From Social Anxiety
It doesn’t matter if your social anxiety is mild or severe, you deserve to interact with the friends and family that you love. The people around us enrich our lives. Our relationships imbue us with a sense of belonging, fulfillment, and love. So, if social anxiety is keeping you from fully engaging with life, then consider trying CBD to find relief.
We want to provide you with the tools and knowledge to live your best life. That might not look the same for everyone, and that’s ok! Feel free to contact us with questions and don’t forget to check out our CBD Relax Bundle to stock up on all your favorites today.