Avoid Coping Strategies Like Alcohol Or Marijuana
Coping with your social anxiety is a bad idea generally.
Specifically, there are two major problems with the coping strategy approach:
So, whether its impulsive deep breathing exercises, going to your happy place, or taking shots of vodka, the whole attitude of coping with your social anxiety is self-defeating in the end.
But more specifically, two of the most common coping mechanisms people use to manage their social anxiety are alcohol and marijuana.
If you really want to overcome social anxiety in the long-run, its not about never feeling anxious its about building up your confidence to do important things despite feeling anxious.
And youre never going to build confidence if youre always relying on booze and drugs as crutches.
Social Phobia Underlying Fears
Some of the fears commonly aroused by social situations can include:
- worry that others will notice their physical symptoms of anxiety, such as blushing, sweating, and stammering
- fear of looking stupid, silly, or ridiculous
- fear of appearing quiet, boring and uninteresting to others
- fear of being judged as socially inadequate.
What Is Social Anxiety In Children
Social anxiety typically affects older children and teenagers.
Children with social anxiety usually:
- have difficulty meeting other children or joining in groups
- have a limited number of friends
- avoid social situations where they might be the focus of attention or stand out from others for example, asking or answering questions in class
- seem withdrawn or reserved in group situations.
Social anxiety can have some physical signs too, including nausea, stomach aches, blushing and trembling.
Its easy not to notice social anxiety. This is because children who have social anxiety are often quiet and obedient in preschool or school. They might not talk about their fears or worries.
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What Causes Social Phobia
Like other phobias, social phobia is a fear reaction to something that isn’t actually dangerous although the body and mind react as if the danger is real. This means that someone feels physical sensations of fear, like a faster heartbeat and breathing. These are part of the body’s fightflight response. They’re caused by a rush of adrenaline and other chemicals that prepare the body to either fight or make a quick getaway.
This biological mechanism kicks in when we feel afraid. It’s a built-in nervous system response that alerts us to danger so we can protect ourselves. With social phobia, this response gets activated too often, too strongly, and in situations where it’s out of place. Because the physical sensations that go with the response are real and sometimes quite strong the danger seems real too. So the person will react by freezing up, and will feel unable to interact.
As the body experiences these physical sensations, the mind goes through emotions like feeling afraid or nervous.
People with social phobia tend to interpret these sensations and emotions in a way that leads them to avoid the situation . Someone else might interpret the same physical sensations of nervousness a different way .
Not Being Present In Conversations Because Youre Lost In Worries
One of the most common ways I hear social anxiety described is that it makes it difficult to be truly present in conversations. For example, youre in an important meeting with a potential client. And try as you might to stay focused on what theyre saying, you repeatedly find yourself distracted by a swarm of worries like:
- She thinks Im not intelligent enough
- Im getting way too anxious How could she trust me with her business if I cant even control myself?!
Unfortunately, even if your worries arent true, they can become a self-fulfilling prophecy: All the time and attention youre giving your worries means you have less mental energy and resources to spend thinking about and contributing to the actual conversation. And the more you feel like youre not contributing to the conversation, the more anxious you get, to the point where you actually do start making mistakes or having trouble articulating your thoughts because your mind is so consumed with anxiety and worry now.
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Create A Calming Mantra
Calming mantras are another effective tool to use to avoid anxiety in certain social situations.
When you feel the anxiety start to overtake you, start repeating your calming word or phrase that will serve as your friendly reminder that your anxiety is something you have control over.
This phrase should serve as instilling positive self-talk and to help realign your thoughts and calm your mind. Choose from words like youre cool to reminders like no big deal. Remember that these mantras are there to help you find your happy place if you feel this anxiety start to creep up on you again.
The more you repeat these mantras, the more habitual this type of thinking will become. Over time, youll automatically begin to think this way, which will transform the way you approach these social situations.
Talk About Your Social Anxiety More
This one sounds intimidating but its also really powerful!
Im sure you saw Talk about your social anxiety more and thought something along the lines of Yeah, right! Being socially anxious is hard enough without sharing it with other people at the same time!
I get it.
But, the psychology of social anxiety is pretty counterintuitive in this respect.
First of all, talking about your social anxiety will help you feel less alone. WAY more people than you would imagine suffer with social anxiety. Seriously, many of the people you interact with on a daily or weekly basis likely also have some social anxiety but are just good at hiding it.
See, when you start being a little more open about the fact that you struggle with social anxiety, you open the door for other people to share that they do as well. And when it happens, its often profoundly validating and relieving to know first-hand that other people struggle like you do.
But when you acknowledge and express upfront that you tend to get a little anxious in social situations you A) immediately disarm other people by being vulnerable, and B) take off that entire second layer of pressure to not appear anxious.
Thanks to Michelle Cadieux for inspiring this section!
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Medication For Social Anxiety
However, medication is shown to be less effective than therapy for social anxiety. This may be the case especially when medication is taken alone.
Medication for social anxiety may take 2 to 6 weeks to have an effect. Beta blockers may be used to treat temporary physical symptoms of anxiety.
Tips For Educators On Teaching Students With Sad
Here are three ways that teachers can spark learning, encourage engagement, and cultivate self-confidence in students with social anxiety disorders:
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Visualize What You Want
What exactly do you want? If you haven’t defined this for yourself, then you don’t know where you are headed or how to get there. Do you want more friends, a better job, or simply not to feel anxious all the time? Visualize having those things that you want this will help motivate you to do what needs to be done to get out of a rut.
Help Reframe Their Thoughts
Your friends anxiety can make it difficult for them to gain a perspective on social situations. You can help them think of the bigger picture by asking questions like:
- What is the worst that could happen?
- What is most likely going to happen?
- Whats something good that could come out of this?
- Have you ever felt like this before? You survived it last time.
- If you look back at this situation years from now, what will you think about it?
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Causes Of Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can have a variety of causes, as it can be genetic, environmental, or based on personal experiences. Anxiety disorders and depression are also possible contributors to social anxiety. Regardless of the cause, there are still ways to help treat this condition. Some studies suggest that up to 18 percent of the population suffers from social anxiety at some point in their lives. There is no single treatment for this condition, but there are options available depending on the severity of your symptoms. Some treatments include therapy and medication, while others may include alcohol or cannabis.
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.
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Take The Focus Off Yourself
Try shifting your attention to whatâs happening around you instead of whatâs inside your head. You can do this by really listening to the conversation thatâs happening or reminding yourself that other people probably canât tell how anxious you are just by looking at you. People appreciate when others act genuine and interested, so focus on being present and a good listener.
What Is It Like Having Social Anxiety Disorder
In school, I was always afraid of being called on, even when I knew the answers. I didnt want people to think I was stupid or boring. My heart would pound and I would feel dizzy and sick. When I got a job, I hated to meet with my boss or talk in a meeting. I couldnt attend my best friends wedding reception because I was afraid of having to meet new people. I tried to calm myself by drinking several glasses of wine before an event and then I started drinking every day to try to face what I had to do.
I finally talked to my doctor because I was tired of feeling this way and I was worried that I would lose my job. I now take medicine and meet with a counselor to talk about ways to cope with my fears. I refuse to use alcohol to escape my fears and Im on my way to feeling better.
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Make One Little Change
Sometimes we can get caught up thinking that the changes that we need to make to get out of a rut need to be big. Make one little change and see if it has ripple effects in your life.
The change could be as small as watching the news every evening to keep up on current events and have more to say during small talk.
A Day For People With Sad
The morning is usually not too bad. At least I know that I dont need to talk to anyone before I leave home. But if I had to do something that day, such as talking to people, or worse, giving some kind of public speaking, then the day is over. I cant focus on anything else because I worry about what will happen in the future.
If I have calls that I need to make, I usually avoid them. Turn them off. What if I call and the other party is too busy? What if I call at an inappropriate time? So, I asked myself, When will I call this person I wont bother? I might choose a time like 10:00 AM and worry about it until I call.
Driving to work is not scary. I can do some driving on single-lane roads, which is good because I know no one will stop next to me and look at me. Intersections are the worst. I never park directly next to another car, because then that person might look at me. Am i smiling? Look straight? It is easier to keep the length of a car.
If I have to refuel, I must go to a gas station that I am familiar with. I dont want to deceive myself by pulling myself onto the wrong pump. I always choose self-service instead of full service. This way I dont have to talk to anyone.
If you work with animals, you usually have to talk to their owners. If you work on a computer, you usually have to talk to other people about what you are doing. Even work that does not involve personnel still involves other employees. There is still lunch time. Talk to the water dispenser.
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