Overcoming Social Anxiety: A Story About Breathing Meditation

Are you experiencing social anxiety? Here’s how I overcame my social anxiety and now enjoy “social ease”! The solution is SKY Breath Meditation.

Denise Everheart

I come from a family with a whole host of mental issues. My brother suffered from OCD, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts. My paternal grandfather was schizophrenic. But I got lucky and only had social anxiety issues. Emphasis on “had”. 

Today, I want to share with you a little about social phobia in various forms. And how I overcame my symptoms of social anxiety.

Social anxiety statistics are skyrocketing

We all know the last few years haven't been easy on anyone. And sadly, more and more people are experiencing symptoms of social anxiety.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that social anxiety disorder (SAD) typically affects 40 million adults every year, which is approximately 19% of the population. But as recently as April 2022, 27% of adults had reported symptoms of anxiety disorder. 

While the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported an estimated 31.9% of adolescents had an anxiety disorder back in the early 2000s. Today it is common knowledge that teens are suffering from anxiety symptoms at alarming rates. 

Clearly, we need to do something different.

Types of anxiety disorders

With a wide range of mental and physical symptoms, social anxiety can range from a simple social phobia to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here’s a basic understanding of the five primary types of anxiety disorders.

Please seek the advice of a mental health professional if you are experiencing any of these mental disorders.

Physical symptoms of social anxiety

Social anxiety can lead to some pretty alarming physical symptoms like blushing cheeks, trembling, trouble catching your breath, rapid heartbeat, and even being frozen and not able to think or move. But from the outside, someone might not be able to see any signs and symptoms.

I had never thought of myself as someone who suffered from social anxiety, but looking back at my childhood and into my teenage years, I definitely did! Thinking it was just shyness, I dismissed having all of the above telltale signs and symptoms.

I remember in grade school having an intense fear of just walking up to the pencil sharpener. I was afraid I wouldn’t know what to say if someone spoke to me. I literally planned two or three replies, praying that they might suffice if needed.

As a self-conscious teenager and young adult, my symptoms compounded. Attending any social situations resulted in painful trapped gas. The fear of being judged and not being good enough tied my insides in knots. Negative thoughts were rampant, and I suffered from low self-esteem.

Fortunately, I was introduced to meditation, and my personal life started to improve over time. Though it wasn’t until later that I discovered a breathing meditation technique that transformed my social anxiety into social ease! 

More about that later.

Treating social anxiety disorder

What is the biggest contributing factor when it comes to anxiety? STRESS. Especially when that stress isn’t dealt with in healthy ways. But certainly, traumatic events and even your family history can contribute to anxiety disorders.

To best treat social anxiety disorder in any form, prevention and early intervention are vital. Here are a few ideas for treating anxiety before it becomes debilitating. 
  1. Since anxiety is always about something in the future that may or not happen, practicing mindfulness might be helpful. On the other hand, mindfulness in the face of anxiety takes considerable effort. It might be easier to learn a meditation practice that naturally brings your awareness to the present moment. Read this Popsugar article, If Mindfulness Practices Make You Anxious to learn about a different kind of meditation practice.

  2. The importance of getting a handle on your stress levels cannot be overstated. Finding calm, while avoiding isolating yourself, is the easiest way to avoid mental health concerns. Try a multi-pronged approach including proper sleep, a balanced diet, massage, exercise, and meditation.

  3. Become comfortable with being a little uncomfortable. Stretch your comfort zone by taking baby steps, while also being ok with some anxiousness. Why put yourself in uncomfortable situations? It’s called exposure therapy. Familiarity helps you get more comfortable. You will also likely realize that your worst imaginings are unlikely.

Before you develop a social anxiety disorder that becomes unmanageable, reach out to your primary care doctor or another healthcare professional. They can often give you tools to help.

SKY Breath Meditation for anxiety and depression

As I mentioned earlier, it was a breathing meditation technique that transformed my social anxiety into social ease. That technique is SKY Breath Meditation

Thanks to SKY, I am comfortable with public speaking. I also enjoy planning parties and playing DJ! SKY helped me overcome social anxiety. SKY also helped my brother overcome his suicidal thoughts.

In over 100 independent studies, SKY was found to:

  • Reduce the stress hormone cortisol up to 78%

  • Significantly decrease clinical and non-clinical anxiety and depression

  • Reduce PTSD

  • Increase self-esteem and joy

  • Reduce addictive behaviors

  • Reduce high blood pressure and more

You can see why I have so much enthusiasm for SKY! I would like to personally invite you to attend a FREE breath and meditation session where you can learn more about SKY Breath Meditation. The session also includes a relaxing guided meditation. 

Click below to choose your spot, and begin your journey to a calmer, happier life.

Beyond breath banner

If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Disclaimer: This content on the Art of Living Blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience only and the Art of Living Blog is not responsible for their content.

ART OF LIVING PART I COURSE Discover Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s ancient secret to modern well-being

Subscribe to Art of Living Blog Digest