The fear of shaking in public is a problem for many people . Although we usually intuitively link this phenomenon with shyness or insecurity, reality is a little more complex. Let’s see why some people tremble when speaking in public and what can be done about it to solve it.

Differences between introversion, shyness and social phobia

Firstly, it should be noted that social phobia is not the same as shyness or introversion.

Introversion has to do with a person’s temperament. When a person is introverted, they like to be in quiet areas, with few people, they need solitude more than the extroverts and it consumes their energy to be in places with too much stimulation or people, so although they like and need social contact, it tires them out more and they need to dose it. In addition, when they are in social acts, they tend to be more observant and quiet .

On the other hand, shyness is the feeling of insecurity or shame that people feel when faced with certain situations, especially social or new ones. It can make it difficult for the person to expose him/herself to these situations and to engage in conversations or meet people. In addition, it often involves a certain degree of anxiety, which differentiates it from introversion.

A person may be introverted and not shy, may prefer to be with small groups, but not because they are anxious about being with people, but because they prefer it.

As for social phobia, this is the intense fear of possible evaluation by other people . There is a fear of being evaluated negatively or of being exposed for some reason; generally, because they may notice the physiological symptoms of this anxiety. It is very similar to shyness, but it is usually much more disabling, more extreme and usually manifests itself more putually.

Anxiety tremors: why do they occur?

Once this distinction is made, let us focus on one particular aspect, the tremors and the fear that these will be perceived . We usually know about the fear of speaking in public and we know about people who are afraid of sweating, of turning red… but something we also usually do in situations where we feel anxious, whether it is due to shyness, social phobia or simple nerves, is trembling. And this is, for some people, a real problem, especially when those tremors occur in a person who suffers from social phobia.

These tremors tend to occur more in the extremities , because in situations that we consider threatening, the brain orders blood and energy to be sent to the arms and legs, so that these prepare for the typical responses of “fight and/or flight”. Well, there are people who, when faced with certain situations in which they feel evaluated, such as a test in a job in which they need to use their hands (in a supermarket, laboratory, hairdresser’s…), have to go to a psychologist because they consider that this tremor is beyond them and they are not going to be able to carry it out, and the same thing can happen with their legs.

At first, trembling in these situations may be “normal”; as we have mentioned, is a physiological reaction to anxiety , and anxiety is to some extent adaptive.

The problem can occur when we are too aware of whether we are going to shake or not. In those cases we have anticipatory anxiety, that is, we are previously worried about it, we avoid situations in which we may tremble and feel bad about this tremor, which, moreover, can be maintained for longer or be more intense in people who are more aware of this tremor and, therefore, feel greater anxiety.

Treatment: how to solve this problem?

The fear of shaking in public can become a serious problem both personally and professionally.

Firstly, it is essential to know the mechanism of the autonomic nervous system and anxiety. Understand that trembling like this, like other physiological changes in our body, is completely normal, and that these phenomena do not last long. If we do not avoid or abandon these situations, we will be able to verify it.

But, when this is a problem that generates suffering or limits the person , it is recommended to go to therapy, so that the psychologist offers you all the necessary tools to eliminate this excessive concern.

In the clinic “Mariva Psychologists” we are specialists in the treatment of social phobia and anxiety in all its manifestations. You can contact the team by clicking here.