Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Among the different kinds of psychotherapy available, cognitive behavioral therapy which involves making changes to the way you think and feel about a situation, which, in turn, can help you modify your behavior is a helpful way to approach social anxiety. With social anxiety specifically, you want to identify patterns of thinking that cause you to avoid social situations like if a persons always expecting the worst outcome, or a person is fixated on the fact that someone might see them blushing, or sweating or stammering, says Dr. Potter. You want to help them learn to challenge those expectations and adopt more positive self-talk rather than negative self-talk.
Stop Worrying By Focusing On What Youre Grateful For
As we focus on one negative thought, it primes our brain to look for more. By contrast, looking for a silver lining can help train your brain to search for positives and interrupt the cycle of worry. This is one reason why a daily gratitude practice can be so helpful and even life-changing.
Having trouble finding something to be grateful for? Take a step back and look for what is interesting about the situation or funny. Engage your mind through curiosity and humor. This can quickly shift you into a better place and provide a needed break from the negative thoughts. You can even try to be curious about the way you worry.
While it may take practice, learning to turn your negative thoughts around can be a great way to stop worrying.
Strike Up A Conversation
Do you shy away from talking to strangers? Do you avoid eye contact at the grocery store? Do you look at your feet in the elevator? Today, instead of doing what you normally do in those situations, try doing the opposite. Engage the other person in a bit of small talk, just for the sake of getting the practice and learning not to be afraid.
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Not All Obsessive Thoughts Are An Anxiety Disorder
One of the reasons that OCD and other anxiety disorders are so misunderstood is because many people claim that they have OCD or obsessive thoughts when they actually do not. You’ll hear numerous celebrities, for example, that say that they have OCD because they like their food presented a certain way, or they dislike getting dirty.
Millions of people have these issues but do not otherwise have a psychological disorder. For your obsessive thoughts or compulsions to be part of an anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, they need to happen frequently, to such a degree that they drastically impact on a person’s quality of life. If you have the occasional obsessive thought or even a small compulsion or two that otherwise has little to no impact on your wellbeing, chances are you do not have OCD.
But if your obsessions are causing you significant distress, then it’s very likely that you have anxiety and could benefit from some support.
Can Anxiety Disorders Be Treated
Yes. Talk with your doctor if you think you have an anxiety disorder. He or she can help you with the skills you need to cope with your anxiety. Your doctor may also suggest counseling and give you medicine if you need it. The most important thing is to take action. Anything you do will help give you a sense of control over your anxiety.
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Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Explains anxiety and panic attacks, including possible causes and how you can access treatment and support. Includes tips for helping yourself, and guidance for friends and family.
This page is also available in Welsh.
Coronavirus is affecting all our lives, and we know that our usual advice may not currently apply. Some ways of looking after yourself or getting support might not be possible or feel realistic during the pandemic.
We hope that you can still find information here that helps. You can visit our coronavirus information hub to find lots of information on coping during the pandemic.
Tip : Talk About Your Worries
It may seem like a simplistic solution, but talking face to face with a trusted friend or family membersomeone who will listen to you without judging, criticizing, or continually being distractedis one of the most effective ways to calm your nervous system and diffuse anxiety. When your worries start spiraling, talking them over can make them seem far less threatening.
Keeping worries to yourself only causes them to build up until they seem overwhelming. But saying them out loud can often help you to make sense of what youre feeling and put things in perspective. If your fears are unwarranted, verbalizing them can expose them for what they areneedless worries. And if your fears are justified, sharing them with someone else can produce solutions that you may not have thought of alone.
Build a strong support system. Human beings are social creatures. Were not meant to live in isolation. But a strong support system doesnt necessarily mean a vast network of friends. Dont underestimate the benefit of a few people you can trust and count on to be there for you. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to confide in, its never too late to build new friendships.
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Tip : Interrupt The Worry Cycle
If you worry excessively, it can seem like negative thoughts are running through your head on endless repeat. You may feel like youre spiraling out of control, going crazy, or about to burn out under the weight of all this anxiety. But there are steps you can take right now to interrupt all those anxious thoughts and give yourself a time out from relentless worrying.
Get up and get moving. Exercise is a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment because it releases endorphins which relieve tension and stress, boost energy, and enhance your sense of well-being. Even more importantly, by really focusing on how your body feels as you move, you can interrupt the constant flow of worries running through your head. Pay attention to the sensation of your feet hitting the ground as you walk, run, or dance, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of the sun or wind on your skin.
Take a yoga or tai chi class. By focusing your mind on your movements and breathing, practicing yoga or tai chi keeps your attention on the present, helping to clear your mind and lead to a relaxed state.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation. This can help you break the endless loop of worrying by focusing your mind on your body instead of your thoughts. By alternately tensing and then releasing different muscle groups in your body, you release muscle tension in your body. And as your body relaxes, your mind will follow.
Relaxation techniques can change the brain
Realize That Now Is The Perfect Time To Start Feeling Better
And finally, realize that your anxiety and fear will not go away until you stop waiting and start learning. There are many resources available to you to help you overcome your anxiety books, courses, doctors, counselors, support groups, and more.
Some of you have been waiting for the perfect time to conquer your anxiety. You may be saying to yourselfI cant tackle my anxiety right now. Ill wait until my symptoms arent so strong to make changes in my life. Or Ill start making changes when my life is less hectic. The list goes on and on.
Heres what Ive discovered: Youll be waiting a lifetime for these things to happen. Because when you wait for something else to happen to improve your life, youre giving away your power. You feed your anxiety and feelings of loss of control.
The only perfect time to conquer your anxiety is right nowthis moment. You do not need to feel symptom-free or confident or energetic, or anything else to begin. All you need to do is take the first step.
Practice these six habits daily, and youll see your skills improve as you take back your power from anxiety.
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Start Staying Hi To A Neighbor
Do you scurry for your door every time your neighbor appears? Next time, try to make a concerted effort to say hello, wave, and be friendly. Although this might feel out of character and anxiety-provoking at first, over time this new habit will become second nature.
If you are feeling really bold, try a behavioral experiment: Invite your neighbor over for coffee at a time when she is clearly busy. Seek out rejection and learn that it is not so bad! At some point down the road, you might even find you have made a friend out of a neighbor.
Focus On Your Workout
When you’re seriously working hard, you wont have time to compare yourself to others, or to look around and catch them watching you work your butt off. Concentrate on you, and consistently remind yourself of how great youre doing. If you are in need of a distraction, plug in those earphones and rock to some motivating music, or catch up on the latest episode of your favorite show.
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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.
How To Get Over Social Anxiety
Dr. Potter stresses that its important to address your social anxiety, even if this feels difficult since it can have a major impact on your life. It can have subtle negative effects on your career, friendships, dating life, or even family relationships, she says. It can affect you so broadly when you miss opportunities. When a persons isolated, it can lead to depression because you miss opportunities to have a good time or enjoy yourself, and feel connected to other people.
Luckily, Dr. Potter notes that social anxiety is very treatable, although strategies for overcoming social anxiety depend both on your individual personality and how much the disorder is affecting your life. For example, if you have panic attacks when going out in public because you are so overwhelmed, you might opt for medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both. Less severe anxiety might be better served by a different treatment option.
Here are a few other ways to approach getting over social anxiety.
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Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Another symptom of panic attacks is muscle tension. Practicing muscle relaxation techniques may help limit an attack. This is because if the mind senses that the body is relaxing, other symptoms such as rapid breathing may also diminish.
A technique called progressive muscle relaxation is a popular method for coping with anxiety and panic attacks.
This involves tensing up and then relaxing various muscles in turn. To do this:
Unmanageable Stress And Life Changes
Stress can lead to a number of conditions and ailments when not adequately managed. Stress affects your ability to perform most tasks and generally lowers your confidence in various aspects.
When youre stressed or going through a significant change in life, you could find driving harder and lose faith in your driving skills.
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Bring A Friend Or Fitness Mentor
When gym anxiety gets the best of you, invite someone you know and trust to work out with you. When youre with a friend, you feel more relaxed and are able to have fun. Even if a spell of gym anxiety arises, dont be afraid to face your insecurity share a laugh about it with a friend, and learn from your experience.
Stop Worrying By Doing A Body Scan
When youre worrying, its natural to tighten your muscles. Over time, raised shoulders or a tight jaw can cause chronic muscle tension. The more you worry, the more tension you continuously carry in your body. If you feel constant tension, stiffness, or pain in your back and shoulders, its time to focus on how to stop worrying.
In these moments, as you notice yourself feeling worried, take a deep breath and notice where you feel tension. Scanning your body can help you reconnect to the present, feel more grounded, and ultimately worry less.
Start at your toes and give dedicated attention to each part of your body up to your head. When you feel tension, focus on breathing into that discomfort and physically relaxing. Slowly release the tightness in your body, and before you know it, youll have discovered one great method for how to stop worrying instantly.
The More You Try To Stop Them
Numerousscientific studies have shown that trying too hard to “not” think about something may actually cause you to think about it more. That’s because when you focus on avoiding a thought, youre reminding your brain that the thought exists at all, rather than simply forgetting about it and moving on. It’s a strange way that the brain works, making it very hard for someone that wants to end their obsessive thoughts to actually take control.
This represents a serious problem for those that deal with obsessive thoughts from OCD. If they experience too much shame or fear over these thoughts they’ll try not to have them and this will cause them to have the thoughts even more, leaving them trapped in a vicious cycle.
S To Managing Anxiety
1. Admit to yourself that you are anxious and tell those close to you that it is happening.
2. Seek out a friend or family member who has gone through anxiety and dealt with it successfully. Make this person your confidant and source of empathy.
3. Don’t pretend that you aren’t anxious pushing the feeling down will only make it stronger. Anxiety seeks relief and won’t rest until it gets some.
4. Get regular sleep that lasts 8 to 9 hours. This can be difficult, because anxious thoughts tend to increase at bedtime. Meditation and relaxation exercises can help here. Try a natural sleep aid if your anxiety causes insomnia that leaves you exhausted during the day. Or if that doesnt work, you may want to try an over-the-counter sleep aid. Make sure to begin with half a tablet and take it sparingly rather than turning it into a crutch and into part of your regular nighttime ritual.
5. Seriously deal with stress in your life. Anxiety is too high a price to pay for living under constant pressure. For most people, anxiety is a sign that their stress response is overloaded. Try to make time every day to be alone and quiet, to meditate, and to walk outside in nature.
6. Avoid alcohol and tobacco. People use these to help them stop worrying and feeling nervous. Ultimately, both substances contribute to the problem rather than solving it.
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