September 10, 2021 9 min read

Social anxiety, one of the most common types of anxiety disorders, can inhibit daily life. Even worse, it sort of functions as its own catch-22, since social anxiety often inhibits the person from reaching out for help. Some people do seek help from a psychiatrist while others just try to manage social discomfort on their own. Still, most people agree that anxiety medications come with a certain level of risk, which makes some people wary of beginning a prescription to manage social anxiety.

Luckily, there are other options you can try before turning to prescriptions that may have a milder side effect profile. Here’s how to relieve social anxiety using natural remedies and lifestyle changes:

Table of Contents
What is Social Anxiety?
Herbal Remedies for Anxiety
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Social Anxiety
Conclusion
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Social anxiety can be debilitating and can even prevent the person from seeking assistance. There are natural supplements and lifestyle changes that may help.
  • Systemic options like Kava, Ashwagandha, and CBG have gained popularity in the wellness community for their anti-anxiety potential.
  • Ultimately, many of these techniques may be used in combination to help relieve social anxiety, but you should always discuss changes to your wellness routine with your doctor first.

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is an anxiety disorder characterized by an intense fear about social situations that results in social avoidance, excessive anxiety, especially anxiety that interferes with daily life. Social anxiety needs to be officially diagnosed by a doctor, but many people experience anxiety in social situations that may still be relieved using the same methods below, regardless of whether you’ve gotten an official diagnosis or not.

A selection of herbal remedies that may be useful for social anxiety

Many people who suffer from severe social anxiety find it difficult to enjoy any social outings, but, most importantly, may also find it difficult to do necessary things that require social interaction, like visit the doctor or go grocery shopping. In the case that social anxiety is interfering with your ability to function day to day or is preventing you from maintaining relationships or enjoying time away from your home, you definitely should seek professional attention, and you should consider trying some of the natural methods for relieving social anxiety below:

Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

If you want to avoid prescriptions for social anxiety, but still want a systemic solution to help you combat social discomforts, consider some of these plant-based remedies:

Kava Kava

One 2015 study found that kava kava may be useful in managing general anxiety, which leads many to believe that it can help manage anxiety in social situations.

Kava kava, or “kava” for short, is an herbal remedy derived from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant that contains kavapyrones. Kavapyrones act similarly to alcohol in the brain (without causing substantial intoxication), which means they can make you feel relaxed and calm.

More evidence is needed to understand how kava may affect social anxiety disorder, but experts do warn against using kava if you have liver disease or other liver issues as it may negatively impact liver function.

CBD

CBD, a non-psychoactive hemp derivative, has been gaining traction as a solution for managing social discomforts.

A 2011 study found that CBD may reduce anxiety during public speaking in individuals with social anxiety disorder. Another study from the same year found that CBD reduced symptoms of anxiety in people diagnosed with social anxiety disorder. In general, many people have found success in using CBD for anxiety, including types of anxiety that are not related to social discomfort.

CBD is most effective when taken daily as part of your regular wellness routine, but it may also be useful as a spot treatment. CBD oil tinctures are the most common way to take CBD, but softgels or gummies are viable dosing options.

We recommend our Vitality CBD Multivitamin Gummies as a one-stop dose of CBD and essential vitamins that can help to round out and simplify your wellness regimen.

CBG

CBG is also a non-psychoactive hemp cannabinoid, but it produces effects that are unique from CBD and may be especially beneficial for combating mood issues.

Some research shows that CBG may offer benefits for managing certain mood disorders. A 2010 study highlights CBG’s ability to activate the 5HT1A receptor, a primary receptor for serotonin. The same study also suggests that CBG is a “highly potent” α2-adrenoceptor agonist. Many medications classified as α2-adrenoceptor agonists are commonly used to treat panic disorders and other mood-related disorders.

More research is needed to understand the extent of CBG’s benefits for social anxiety, but the sound safety profile of hemp-derivatives makes it a popular option compared to many prescription medications. Our Clarity CBG Mood Tincture combines CBG with CBD to provide the benefits of the ensemble effect, a synergistic benefit achieved from combining hand-chosen hemp cannabinoids.

Vida Optima Vitality CBD Oil

Delta-8-THC

Delta-8-THC is another hemp derivative, but this cannabinoid imposes some psychoactive effects that are similar to traditional THC. Delta-8 and Delta-9 are, of course, different from each other, and Delta-8 produces milder effects. Another defining characteristic is that Delta-8-THC is derived from hemp, which makes it legal according to U.S. law.

One study in particular suggests that Delta-8-THC may have a significant advantage over traditional THC products, though the research didn’t exactly target THC as an anti-anxiety solution. The 1995 review aimed at evaluating Delta-8-THC’s ability to control nausea and vomiting in the case of pediatric cancer (spoiler: it was 100% effective). Most significantly (within the scope of this article, at least), the researchers found Delta-8-THC to be much less likely to induce anxiety in children compared to Delta-9-THC, even at high doses.

It’s also worth noting that the National Cancer Institute recognizes Delta-8-THC as an "anxiolytic" substance. Delta-8’s milder effects often make it a more suitable option than traditional THC products, which many people find to be relaxing in social situations.

Our Elev8 Collection harnesses the power of hemp-derived Delta-8-THC in the form of gummies, tinctures, hemp flower, and more.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha has risen in popularity as a solution for stress and anxiety, and some research suggests that it may even be effective compared to popular anti-anxiety medications. A 2000 study found that ashwagandha has an effect similar to that of lorazepam. A more recent study found that a daily dose of 240 mg of ashwagandha was effective at reducing stress, including cortisol levels.

Ashwagandha is most commonly taken in capsule form, and most people who use it for anxiety take it daily.

Passion Flower

Passion flower is a vining plant found in Southeastern North America that's frequently used to create herbal supplements. One study found passion flower supplementation to be potentially useful in the treatment of insomnia, anxiety, and other nervous disorders.

Passion flower can be found in capsule form, but is also commonly used in it's dry herb form to make tea. This herbal solution is a mild option that can be used daily alongside other natural remedies for social anxiety.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea thrives in cold climates and is generally harvested for its roots. The herbal supplement is often considered to be an adaptogen, which many people believe to be useful in combating stress and mood imbalances. There isn’t currently much research to support the use of Rhodiola Rosea for social anxiety, but anecdotal reports are promising.

St. John's Wort

St. John's Wort is a popular herbal supplement that's commonly used to manage mood disorders, although more research is needed on the subject. One systematic review found St.John's Wort supplementation to be potentially useful for managing major depressive disorder, a severe form of depression. Research has yet to explore St. John's Wort’s impact on social anxiety, but this is another area where anecdotal evidence is strong.

St. John’s Wort can be found in capsule form, which makes it easy to take daily. You should discuss taking St. John’s Wort with your doctor, especially if you already take an antidepressant or similar medication.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is an age-old remedy that’s been traditionally used for a variety of issues, including digestive problems, nervous disorders, and more. Today, research supports the use of valerian root as a sleep aid, but anecdotal reports suggest that it also has a calming effect that may be useful for managing some types of anxiety. More research is needed to understand the full potential of valerian root for managing social anxiety.

Lifestyle Changes to Improve Social Anxiety

In addition to using a systemic solution to manage social anxiety, there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to help reduce anxiety and cope with social situations. Consider trying some of the following methods:

A woman using yoga as a stress reduction method to improve symptoms of social anxiety.

Practice stress-reduction skills.

Reducing stress before and during social situations can help manage related anxiety. There are a multitude of different methods that can be used to manage stress, so you may need to do some research to see your options. Some popular methods include:

  • Deep breathing.
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Music therapy
  • Aromatherapy

Increase physical activity

It’s well-known that not getting enough exercise can cause a slew of wellness issues, but did you know that regular exercise may help lower stress and anxiety levels? You don’t have to do anything extreme, but try to make sure that you’re active for 15-30 minutes each day. You may find that you sleep better at night after a day of physical activity, too.

Get plenty of sleep.

If you aren’t sleeping well, that should be one of your primary concerns as poor sleep is linked to increased anxiety. Try to go to bed around the same time each night and make sure that you allow plenty of time for sleep before you need to wake up. If you have trouble sleeping or are running short on time, you may consider trying some herbal remedies to improve sleep.

Eat a well-balanced diet

Diet can have a significant impact on anxiety levels. In general, you want to make sure that you’re eating regularly enough to avoid blood sugar drops and spikes, and that you’re staying hydrated. You may also consider avoiding processed foods and foods that are loaded with sugars.

Avoid alcohol

Alcohol may seem to help manage anxiety in the moment, but it can actually make anxiety worse over time. As a rule, you should probably avoid alcohol when trying to manage stress and anxiety levels.

Limit caffeine

Caffeine is known to potentially increase anxiety, so you should be wary of that when you have your morning cup of coffee or tea. In small doses, many people can tolerate caffeine without any negative side effects, but many people with anxiety are more sensitive to caffeine. Just pay attention to how caffeine affects you and try to adjust your routine accordingly. If you can, keep caffeine consumption to a minimum or avoid it completely.

Prepare for and practice social situations

One of the most important things you can do to help relieve social anxiety naturally is to plan for social situations and practice them under circumstances that make you more comfortable. Here’s an example of what that may look like:

  • Prepare for social situations by reading up on current news or the topic of events.
  • You may also prepare by learning who will be there and how many people will be involved.
  • Practice relaxation and stress relieving exercises before a social event.
  • Start with small steps, like giving a stranger a compliment or having lunch in a gentle environment with a friend.
  • Understand that your social fears are often unfounded, and many people are too preoccupied with their own thoughts to notice things you may be embarrassed or stressed about.
  • Turn the conversation away from yourself if it makes you uncomfortable. Try asking about the other person’s family, opinions, preferences, or hobbies.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for how to relieve social anxiety, you’ll be happy to know that you have several options. We think that pairing multiple natural solutions is the best way to combat moderate to severe symptoms. You may consider pairing our CBG Mood Tincture with some of the lifestyle changes above, but we suggest trying any combination of the suggestions above to find a routine that works for you.

Vida Optima CBG Mood Tincture

Resources

  1. “Kava for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (K-GAD): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial” https://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-015-0986-5
  2. “Cannabidiol Reduces the Anxiety Induced by Simulated Public Speaking in Treatment-Naïve Social Phobia Patients” https://www.nature.com/articles/npp20116?foxtrotcallback=true
  3. “Neural basis of anxiolytic effects of cannabidiol (CBD) in generalized social anxiety disorder: a preliminary report” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20829306/
  4. “Evidence that the plant cannabinoid cannabigerol is a highly potent α2-adrenoceptor agonist and moderately potent 5HT1A receptor antagonist” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2823359/?report=reader
  5. “An efficient new cannabinoid antiemetic in pediatric oncology” https://druglibrary.net/olsen/HEMP/IHA/iha02210.html
  6. “National Cancer Institute: Delta-8-Tetrahydrocannabinol” https://ncit.nci.nih.gov/ncitbrowser/ConceptReport.jsp?dictionary=NCI_Thesaurus&ns=NCI_Thesaurus&code=C61312
  7. “Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711300800306?via%3Dihub
  8. “An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750292/
  9. “A Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Investigation of the Effects of Passiflora incarnata (Passionflower) Herbal Tea on Subjective Sleep Quality” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3400
  10. “A systematic review of St. John’s wort for major depressive disorder” https://systematicreviewsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13643-016-0325-2
  11. “Valerian for Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”https://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(06)00275-0/fulltext
  12. “Effects of Exercise and Physical Activity on Anxiety”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/
  13. “Anxiety and Sleep”https://www.sleepfoundation.org/mental-health/anxiety-and-sleep
  14. “Eating well to help manage anxiety: Your questions answered” https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-well-to-help-manage-anxiety-your-questions-answered-2018031413460

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