If crowds and social settings make you nervous, you're not alone. Try these strategies to help cope

By Lisa Bendall

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Uncomfortable in social settings?

Almost every one of us has experienced symptoms of social anxiety at some time or another: sweating or trembling when we’re about to deliver a speech, blushing or breathing fast when we’re asking someone out on a date, a hammering heartbeat or nausea when we’re getting a job evaluation.

For most of us, social anxiety isn’t a full-blown disorder. It doesn’t interfere much with our normal routines like work and family activities. But neither is it a joyride. Up to 95 percent of us sometimes get nervous and uncomfortable meeting people at parties, giving work presentations or speaking up in study groups. Even if social anxiety isn’t taking over your life, wouldn’t you like to feel more confident in these situations?

So how can you push past the palpitations at your next fundraising gala or doctor’s appointment? Here are three approaches that can help.

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