If my thoughts begin to stray, I take a deep breath and reassure myself that all will be OK.Practicing yoga and meditation can be great for reducing anxiety symptoms, but I've also found that going for a brisk walk or a run empties my head of anxious thoughts.Underneath my high-neck dress, I can feel the red-hot rash spreading across my chest.

The physical symptoms of social anxiety vary from person to person, but can include feeling hot, blushing, developing a rash, having a dry mouth, and palpitations.

; whether I’m talking to a stranger in the store, or speaking to colleagues in a meeting.

Behind my smile, my cheeks are beginning to ache from attempting to hide any trace of nervousness.

They feel like they’re burning; and my self-consciousness turns them an even deeper shade of scarlet.

Knowing that we’ve already established some mutual interests and common ground means I won’t fret over the possibility of awkward silences.

I call this the ‘pre-date’; it’s like lowering yourself into the shallow end of a swimming pool, rather than jumping in at the deep end.

If you also suffer from social anxiety, one of the best things you can do is be kind to yourself.

Whether you choose to seek help or self-treat, anxiety is one of the most treatable mental disorders.

on a Thursday and I’m sitting across the table from a human male.

What’s more: this handsome, well-mannered and interesting man is my date for the evening.

Before dates, I choose my outfits carefully, usually high-necked dresses to hide the blotchy rash.