One of the major symptoms associated with social anxiety is stress. Stress works two ways – the social anxiety can cause it, and the stress can intensify the social anxiety. Stress can be a big problem, because it leads to other health related problems, such as high blood pressure or heart attack. Stress can also cause headaches, ulcers, insomnia, excessive fatigue, and muscle pain. When a person who suffers from social anxiety is contemplating a social interaction or situation, they experience stress. When they are actual in a social interaction or situation, the stress level increases to extreme levels, and triggers a variety of other symptoms. Stress plays such a big role in social anxiety that, in many cases, once a person learns how to control their stress levels, they literally overcome their social anxiety as well. There are many methods that can be used to control stress levels. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce or eliminate stress, because believe it or not, stress can create energy. This is the fight or flight response that we were all born with. This fight or flight response was used by our ancestors for their survival. We don’t typically use this fight or flight response for our survival today, but it is still there, and it does create energy that needs to be used. Exercise is the way to use it. You can also employ other methods for dealing with long-term stress and it’s side effects. These methods include: Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), Autogenic Relaxation, and Imagery Relaxation. These methods can be used along with exercise to greatly reduce your stress levels. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a technique in which you tense, then relax, groups of muscles. The ultimate goal of PMR is to be able to relax your entire body all at once. When you can relax all of your muscles, stress disappears from your muscles, and it is either reduced or eliminated. Autogenic relaxation is often used for the relief of chronic pain. Since stress can cause chronic pain, autogenic relaxation is used to treat stress as well. Autogenic relaxation combines deep breathing exercises with imagery and positive verbal statements to control and master a problem that is causing stress. Imagery relaxation also involves deep breathing, but instead of dealing directly with what is causing the stress, you use your mind to take you away from the stressful situation – to a happier, more relaxed place. This can be done with the use of tapes, or on your own. Whether social anxiety is causing your stress or something else is causing your stress, it is important that you deal with the stress as soon as possible, before it leads to other more serious health problems and takes over your life. Even if you are not able to deal with other issues just yet – such as your social anxiety – your stress levels can still be greatly reduced.