When Weber State student Carrington Garcia saw the Taboo Talks event discussing the topic of social anxiety, she contemplated outside the door for five minutes whether she should attend. She decided to go and later discovered she learned a lot more about herself.

(The Signpost Archives)

On Nov 2, Taboo Talks co-chair Brian Choi held an event he organized around the topic of social anxiety with the help of Dr. Xin Zhao of the counseling center.

The event was an educational experience for students in attendance to learn more about social anxiety, self-care and mindfulness.

Zhao started off the event by asking students in the audience to help define anxiety. Some of the responses from the audience were nervousness, panic and fear.

With these definitions in mind, Zhao asked a follow-up question on why people may experience anxiety, prompting one student to say fear of the future was one of the reasons.

Zhao talked about the views of anxiety and of whether anxiety is bad or not depending on its levels.

“In general, people tend to think anxiety is a bad thing, but in reality, we just don’t like to feel too anxious of what we are doing,” Zhao said.

After talking about anxiety, the event transitioned to the topic of social anxiety.

Choi showing a YouTube video clip done by College Humor. It featured a young woman experiencing social anxiety by showing her have an internal debate on who to approach and what to say during a party.

Zhao asked audience members if they have experienced a similar situation to the girl in the video, and many of audience members said they had.

With the video in mind, Zhao asked students of some of the reasons that prevent themselves socializing with others. Fear of rejection was a major answer that stuck out to Zhao.

Zhao responded with, “In reality, we all have the fear of rejection.”

He then gave suggestions on how students can help their anxiety, which were for them to engage in self-care and to make choices based on what each individual values.

He closed his discussion with a mindfulness mediation exercise, where audience members mediated to replace their social anxious thoughts.

After the mindfulness exercise, Choi ended the event by talking about giving ourselves permission to speak and had audience members all stand up and engage with each other in laughter and love.

Choi said when he joined the Diversity team, he told his team president, Salim Ben Khalifa, he wanted to do an event about the topic of social anxiety due to his own personal experience.

“Talking to people was never my thing,” Choi said. “In high school, I had no friends and I couldn’t even look people in the eyes.”

Choi recalled about a year ago he started to change his life while he was going through a lot of hardships with experiencing anxiety attacks, embarrassment and emotional breakdowns.

“When I was going through that, I saw a lot of improvement in myself and I became happy for the first time in my life,” Choi said. “I wanted to help others while I was finding my path to happiness to help them experience what happiness feels like also.”

For fellow Weber State students who are struggling with social anxiety, Choi said they too can change and find happiness by making a commitment to it just like he did.

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