Understanding Communication Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are many and diverse, varying from specific phobias to generalized anxiety symptoms caused by stress. One of the most abundant forms of anxiety is communication anxiety, which involves uneasiness and phobic attitudes towards public speaking. For some people this could be anxiety before speaking in front of crowds of 100 people plus, whereas for others just talking to a group of 5 people can be a problem.

Communication anxiety is usually a problem for those whose jobs demand that they give speeches and presentations. Obviously some degree of anxiousness is normal but it can become a hindrance when you are conscious of sweating, not being able to concentrate and having a dry mouth as you speak. There are, however, many ways of overcoming communication anxiety without needing to take tranquilizing medicine to calm you down or avoid the situation completely. Most individuals find that cognitive behavioral therapy helps to change their attitudes towards public speaking and that they can learn specific techniques for dealing with that situation without any anxiousness at all. Others will benefit greatly from hypnotherapy or simply chatting to a therapist to find out why they think public speaking is something to be nervous of.

Most anxiety disorders stem from a lack of self confidence either in childhood or adulthood. While this is never irreversible it can be hard to build confidence in someone who has held their insecurities for a long time. This is why tackling anxiety as soon as it arises is best and the techniques learned this way can often improve many other areas of life too. A lack of confidence means that a person strongly believes there’s a chance something could go wrong during their speech and if it were to go wrong, they have little confidence in themselves to sort it out. As a result they catastrophize the situation in their head and it becomes so scary that they are in constant anticipation of the worst happening. This could stem from something as little as the fear that they will blush. Many people were bullied at school because of blushing and as a result think that the same will happen in adulthood too. A simple course of hypnotherapy to get an adult perspective on this childhood fear can eradicate the worry completely.

If you are suffering from communication anxiety yourself then don’t worry, you are certainly not alone. A huge percentage of the population experience the same thing on a daily basis. The best thing to do is act fast, visit your doctor and ask for a referral to a therapist or counselor who will teach you coping techniques and work with you to discover the real reason why you are scared of public speaking. The reason may be trivial and a person may not think it to be causing any problems, but these problems can also be ‘blocked out’ and until it is brought out into the open communication anxiety can often cause havoc in people’s everyday lives.

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