How do i help my going out anxiety?

Every time I go out or people come around me my anxiety goes crazy and I get an upset stomach and have to run to the bathroom. It only happens when I go out or around people. Any tips on how to fix this issue because its super annoying. It started about a year and half ago. Thanks
Asked by sanda

Why Now? 

I appreciate this question, and here's why: You are aware that something is irregular and that it started at some point to be different than it was. 

Often people struggle with things, and they think that it has affected them longer than it really has, or they will apply the problem retroactively, saying it has always been there. You acknowledge that this response is to something that has been there for about a year and a half. Why now? What has changed in your life causing this reaction? Please explore this with a therapist, as they can help you see things you can't see yourself. 

One question I like to ask is, what are you noticing about your world and yourself in this world? Are you vulnerable? Are you only loved when you perform, and you've had some setbacks recently? What have you become aware of that you weren't before, or what has actually changed? 

What Do We Do About It? 

When It comes to what we do about anything, the first step is to accept that we have this thing. Acceptance is not agreeing with having it, and it's not giving up, it's acknowledging what is already there. You are admitting that, leading to the question. What we do next is to really accept that we have this thing. By that, I mean we make space for its possible certainty in our life. When we get stomach aches or a nervous response, our denial or wish that it wasn't there or some comparison to some ideal leads us to hate this symptom so much. So, again, make space for that part of you that gets nervous, and maybe the stomach ache or anxiety of a stomach ache will subside. Own anxiety as a part of your life and understand that it is your body's way of telling you it is noticing something. 

The subconscious part of our brain is unbeknownst to humanity because it is, after all, the subconscious. We've learned a lot about the amygdala, the limbic system, and the autonomic nervous system and how these systems respond without conscious awareness but as a body that says, fight, fight, or freeze. Do you know what happens when we experience this reaction to subconscious stimuli unbeknownst to us? Our digestive tract shuts down. Do you know what can also happen? A discharge of bowels.

So, what do we do? 1. we accept that we have anxiety in social situations and allow ourselves to feel this anxiety and not let it distract us or cause us to run. We allow ourselves to get anxious because it is a natural part of life (did you know animals get anxious- they aren't aware of it like humans are). 2. Do the work in therapy or journaling to better understand what threat we are experiencing and how we can do the work on understanding this threat and why it triggers us so much. 

These steps sound like a cop-out, but if you don't do the work on identifying what is really going on and how things relate to you and your belief about yourself, then you are merely putting a bandaid on it. Instead, you look at anxiety and ask, "what are you telling me? Why now? What do you want me to do?" Start to view the anxiety as a friend with bad advice. You don't hate the friend. The friend is just telling you that all people are bad/out to get you and that you should run away. Running keeps you safe, and the subconscious is just trying to get you to remove yourself. We can appreciate that friend, even if it does give us bad, overly cautious advice. 

Distance from your thoughts and remember that your body's interpretation of situations may not always be accurate, especially if there have been any changes lately. 

Thank You,