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Mental Health Helpline
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Social anxiety

Common symptoms of social anxiety

If you've started to notice some of the symptoms we've listed below, we may be able to help.


  • "No one likes me"
  • "I have nothing interesting to say, I’m boring"
  • "I look and sound stupid"
  • "Everyone's staring at me"
  • "People can tell how anxious I am"
  • "Others are judging me"
  • You're spending more time alone
  • You avoid social situations
  • You've stopped doing the things you enjoy
  • You stay quiet to not make a fool of yourself
  • You're unable to concentrate
  • Your heart's pounding in your chest
  • You have a stomach-churning sensation
  • You're sweating excessively
  • Tense
  • Anxious
  • Vulnerable
  • Self-conscious
  • Embarrassed
  • Upset
  • Panicky
  • On edge

Possible causes of social anxiety

  • Low self-esteem/confidence – if you have a negative or poor opinion of yourself, you may feel more anxious and vulnerable in social situations
  • Anxious personality type – you may have certain thinking styles, which are part of your personality, that can lead to you feeling anxious in social situations
  • Learnt behaviour – you can learn to worry and be anxious in social situations. Your childhood or life experiences may be the reason for this pressure – you may be under pressure at home or work, feel trapped or unable to problem solve certain issues that may arise in social situations
  • Negative thinking – sometimes you may start to think negatively due to an event or situation, and this can then become a habit and part of your general outlook. You may not even be aware of how negatively you were thinking or how this is impacting on you
  • Lack of interest or reduction of pleasurable activities – sometimes, due to circumstances, you may reduce activities that you gained pleasure, satisfaction or achievement from. If you don't increase these activities again and forget just how much you benefited from them, you might feel unable to reengage with these activities as you may fear you will not cope well

Call our Mental Health Helpline

Get support 24/7

You must be a member of Benenden Health to access this service.

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Not yet a member of Benenden Health?

This service, along with a range of other support, is available for just £11.50 a month.

Support for our members

If you're a member of Benenden Health, we offer support for mental health from day one.

Further help and advice

We have a wide range of articles on health that could help you increase your wellbeing.

Body Lifestyle Mind Nutrition

We worked with our partner Insight Healthcare to create this short guide. Always speak to your GP if you feel like you could be suffering from a serious mental health condition.