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How To Calm Social Anxiety In The Moment

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TOP TIPS TO REDUCE ANXIETY NOW: Proven ways to calm the mind in the moment

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What Causes Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety doesnt have one specific cause. It generally develops from a complex combination of a few different factors, like genes, personality, and early life experiences.

Research suggests that theres a genetic component to social anxiety disorder. There isnt a set selection of genes that have been shown to cause social anxiety. However, it does seem to run in families and having a family member with social anxiety increases your chance of having this disorder as well.

Peoples early life experiences also influence the development of social anxiety. Experiencing situations that impact your confidence at a young age can be a risk factor for social anxiety, like overly critical parenting, bullying, or being excluded from important social groups. However, social anxiety can also develop in people who didnt have any significant negative experiences growing up.

Personality factors also contribute to social anxiety. Social anxiety is more common in people who are naturally shy or introverted. Personality traits like being perfectionistic and self-critical, or being a worrier, can also lead to social anxiety.

How To Deal With Social Anxiety

What is CBT?

Stop Complaining And Blaming

Perhaps you were dealt a bad hand in life. Maybe you had a controlling mother or a father who put you down. Although these life experiences may have contributed to your social anxiety, you don’t need to let them continue to influence the course of your life. Start taking responsibility for your actions and behavior.

Social Anxiety Disorder In Children

Theres nothing abnormal about a child being shy, but children with social anxiety disorder experience extreme distress over everyday situations such as playing with other kids, reading in class, speaking to adults, or taking tests. Often, children with social phobia dont even want to go to school.

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Symptoms Of Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is more than shyness. It’s a fear that does not go away and affects everyday activities, self confidence, relationships and work or school life.

Many people occasionally worry about social situations, but someone with social anxiety feels overly worried before, during and after them.

You may have social anxiety if you:

  • worry about everyday activities, such as meeting strangers, starting conversations, speaking on the phone, working or shopping
  • avoid or worry a lot about social activities, such as group conversations, eating with company and parties
  • always worry about doing something you think is embarrassing, such as blushing, sweating or appearing incompetent
  • find it difficult to do things when others are watching you may feel like you’re being watched and judged all the time
  • fear being criticised, avoid eye contact or have low self-esteem
  • often have symptoms like feeling sick, sweating, trembling or a pounding heartbeat
  • have panic attacks, where you have an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety, usually only for a few minutes

Many people with social anxiety also have other mental health issues, such as depression, generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder.

Work With Your Strengths

How to Identify and Understand Social Anxiety The Calm ...

In order to get yourself out of a social anxiety rut, you don’t need to have an end goal of becoming a stand-up comedian or accomplished concert pianist.

If you love books, maybe joining a book club or even leading a book club would be your thing. Think about your interests and talents, and how you can bring more sociability into those areas in your life.

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Let Your Thoughts Come And Go

When we are anxious our thoughts about our worries go around and around in our mind. Never ending and building on each other until we feel drained by them so we try not to worry. Whenever you try not to do something it is guaranteed to make you do it more so instead, observe your thoughts like you are an outside looking in. Just watch your thoughts for a minute. Imagines leaves floating on the surface of a stream. For each thought that comes to mind, allow that thought to take its place on a leaf and watch it blow away in the wind. Or allow the thought to turn into a fish and watch it float away down the stream. Allow those thoughts to come and go, you dont need to respond to them.

Some Places Ive Experienced Social Anxiety As A Mom

Aside from the beach scenario, I get social anxiety in other places, too. Its hard enough being a mom, but being a socially anxious introvert adds a whole other layer to things.

  • On the playground. When my son deals with conflict on the playground especially when hes the one creating the conflict and I have to smooth things over with someone elses kid I have to intervene. I never know if Im reacting properly and what the other parent thinks of me and my kid. Honestly, the playground gives me the most anxiety because I cant control anything that happens there. I find myself in situations where I have to awkwardly talk to a parent because theyre in close proximity to me , or I have to respond to a babbling toddler . If I could, Id never set foot on a playground.
  • While breastfeeding. I know breastfeeding is a perfectly natural thing to do, and Im grateful for the fact that Im able to provide my nine-month-old daughter with the food and comfort that she seeks, but I cringe every time I sit down and lift my shirt up. I have this constant worry that someone is going to say something. And while Im prepared for the confrontation, and to stand my ground for my right to breastfeed, its honestly the last thing I want to face. I know Im going to get flustered, and my baby will pull away, exposing my breast, and then everything will just implode.

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Overcome Social Anxiety With Joyables Online Cbt Program

Weve talked about how common social anxiety is, and how theres a proven solution to treat it . However, the shocking truth is 85 percent of Americans who struggle with social anxiety each year dont get help. Why? Sometimes its a lack of awareness that prevents people from seeking help. Sometimes, sadly, its stigma. But even for those who know they have social anxiety and want help, huge cost and access barriers prevent them from getting treatment. The average cost of a single 45-minute session with a U.S. therapist is $180. Even if you can afford that, you might not be able to find an available therapist nearby. There arent even close to enough therapists to treat the number of people struggling with social anxiety about a third of the U.S. population lives in a mental health desert, with more than half of mental health sufferers not receiving treatment.

Overcoming social anxiety is hard work. With Joyable, you dont have to do it alone. When you start the program, youre paired with a personal coach. Your coach is your advocate and accountability partner. Theyre trained in CBT and help guide you if you have a hard time challenging your negative thoughts. They also give you an extra push when you need it to face situations you fear.

Explore Specific Situations That Trigger Anxiety

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Social anxiety doesnt show up in the same way for everyone.

You might feel anxious about any situation where you worry about others judging you, from ordering food at a restaurant to leaving for the restroom during a class lecture. On the other hand, you could feel mostly fine simply being around others as long as they dont expect you to share your thoughts or speak up.

Pinpointing why and when you feel most anxious can help you take the first steps toward finding solutions to power through those feelings.

Tip: Start by listing situations that cause the most discomfort, the ones you feel utterly unable to face. These might include:

  • interviewing for a new job
  • meeting with a professor to ask for help
  • introducing yourself to someone youre attracted to

Chances are, you spend a lot of time thinking about the potential negative outcomes of those social situations you just listed.

You might worry about:

  • accidentally saying something rude or offensive
  • tripping or spilling something on yourself
  • laughing, sneezing, or coughing at the wrong time
  • getting sick in front of other people

These things do happen on occasion, and they certainly can cause some short-term discomfort. It can feel frightening to imagine yourself in a similarly awkward situation, but try to keep things in perspective.

Understanding the spotlight effect the tendency to think others notice your mistakes more than they actually do can also go a long way toward easing feelings of social anxiety.

  • sweating

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Name What Youre Feeling

When youre experiencing an anxious episode, you may not realize whats going on until youre really in the thick of it.

Recognizing anxiety for what it is may help you calm down quicker.

Name that this is anxiety not reality and that it will pass, says Kim Hertz, a psychotherapist at New York Therapy Practice. When you are in a heightened state of anxiety, you want to disrupt that cycle, and for some people, thought-stopping techniques are effective and as simple as saying stop to the internalized messaging that heightens anxiety.

In other words, consider recognizing that what youre feeling is anxiety and talking yourself through it.

Embrace absolute truths, says Steven Sultanoff, clinical psychologist and professor at Pepperdine University. I will get through this one way or another.

Naming your sensations and feelings may help you step away from them. This is anxiety, it is not you and it wont last forever.

Put The Chardonnay And Your Phone Down

You might feel tempted to use alcohol to soothe your anxiety and ease your inhibitions, but this is not an effective way to cope and can interfere with all the steps youve taken to prepare for the event, notes Nosal.

She also says to avoid sitting in a corner and scrolling on your phone, which signals to people that youre not interested in engaging with them. Instead, make a valiant effort to really listen and ask questions. People notice whether youre focused on them or zoned out, and it can make all the difference in your ability to reach the goals you set before the event.

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Dont Overdo The Alcohol

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that excessive drinking can actual rewire the brain, thus making an individual more susceptible to anxiety. So while it can be tempting to calm your nerves with a hearty dose of wine, reaching for that extra glass may not be the best coping mechanism.

Excess alcohol may seem like it will help you relax, but sometimes it can backfire and make you feel more anxious and nervous in your surroundings, said Shilpi Agarwal, author of The 10-Day Total Body Transformation: A Doctors Guide To Getting Leaner, Cleaner, and Happier in Just 10 Days.

Agarwal tells those with social anxiety to practice moderation with any substance that can be mood altering.

Avoid alcohol, too much caffeine or sugary drinks, she said. In their place, Agarwal recommends sparkling water with lime or a splash of juice or lemonade. Or if youre at a daytime function, try a mug of herbal tea, which often has a calming effect.

If you can try to stick to just one drink, this is your best bet. Ask for a half pour first or really pace yourself so you dont go overboard, she said.

Notice And Swap Your Negative Filter

Social Anxiety: How to Stay Calm Before a Social Event

Take a moment to consider how you see social interactions. Many of my socially anxious clients frame connecting as performing before an audience, which of course gets in the way of feeling relaxed. So does taking a negative view of yourself, either because of a painful past, like a history of being bullied, or perceiving others as critical.

Social anxiety is largely driven by the perception that others hold exceptionally high expectations for us, according to Dr. Ellen Hendriksen, a psychologist at the Boston University Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders whose own struggles with social anxiety led to her book How to be Yourself.

If you fear embarrassment, its easy to start to get distracted because youre analyzing your performance while engaging with someone else. But no one enjoys talking to someone who is only partly listening charisma actually hinges on you being present. Plus, by deliberately practicing seeing yourself in a more helpful way, you can feel less distraught.

The next time your thoughts tend toward negative assumptions try consciously turning your mind back to objective reality, rather than attempting to read the other persons thoughts.

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When To Get Help For Social Anxiety

It’s a good idea to see a GP if you think you have social anxiety, especially if it’s having a big impact on your life.

It’s a common problem and there are treatments that can help.

Asking for help can be difficult, but a GP will be aware that many people struggle with social anxiety and will try to put you at ease.

They’ll ask you about your feelings, behaviours and symptoms to find out about your anxiety in social situations.

If they think you could have social anxiety, you’ll be referred to a mental health specialist to have a full assessment and talk about treatments.

You can also refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service without a referral from a GP.

How To Calm Anxiety: Stay In The Present

My ADHD imagination quickly jumps to the future, imagining the worst possible outcomes. The only way I can remain calm is to snap myself out of thinking about the future and return to the present moment. Mindfulness activities help. I stay grounded by taking a walk, sitting in nature looking at the trees, smelling a pleasant fragrance, or repeating a mantra like Im fine. I have everything I need. I am strong enough to handle this.

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Boundary Anxiety And Fear Is Real

7. Take a breath. The physical symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, pounding chest, dizziness, and muscle tension. Learning to take a minute and slow down your breath can help you take back control of your body.

Simply take a seat, get comfortable, and take the biggest breath youve taken all day and hold it in for four seconds. Then exhale slowly, pushing out as much air as possible. Take another deep breath filling the stomach with air and continue until you feel your breath slowing down to its normal rate.

8. Act confidently. There are a large number of adults suffering from social phobia and crippling shyness. You can learn to be confident in the same way you learned to ride a bike. Act more confidently, and people will react positively.

This doesnt mean you need to be the class clown or the center of attention. Its just about being more assertive. Something that feels terrifying at first will gradually feel better each time.

9. Find social situations and engage. Make a conscious effort to be more social. Actively look for supportive social environments that can help you overcome your fears. Perhaps start with a social skills training class. Here you can properly practice your social interactions before heading out into the real world. This will give you some tips on what to say and do when you find yourself in a social situation youre unfamiliar with or anxious about.

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