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How To Help Someone With Social Anxiety

Push Your Spouse To Be More Social

How to Help Someone with Social Anxiety

There is a fine line here that you shouldnt cross, but avoiding all social situations is neither healthy nor productive for your spouse. You have to be the force that gets them to leave the comfort of home and take chances out in the world and with other people. If your partner is in treatment, they should be learning some coping mechanisms they can use before heading into a social situation. Try them together to be supportive.

When encouraging your loved one to step out of their comfort zone and be social, do so in a positive manner. Dont badger or bully. Instead, you want to encourage and support: get excited about going out talk about the aspect of the event your spouse will enjoy and should look forward to discuss the strategies your partner has learned in therapy for getting more comfortable at social events and how these will help make it easier.

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Help Your Spouse Get Appropriate Treatment For Social Anxiety

One of the most important things you can do to help your spouse overcome social anxiety is to get them into treatment. Professional treatment for social anxiety disorder can help them learn coping mechanisms for better handling social situations it will help them reframe social events in a more positive way. Treatment will also guide them to analyze their negative feelings and behaviors and make positive changes.

For social anxiety, treatment is largely focused on individual behavioral therapy. Your spouse may benefit from medications, including antidepressants. Support groups and group therapy are also useful in treating this condition and provide a way to practice socializing in a safe setting.

If Someone Has A More Serious Anxiety Problem Avoid Stigmatizing Them

What can we do for folks with more serious issues? People experiencing things like panic disorder, depression mixed with anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or obsessional thinking may fear that theyre literally going crazy. Helping them may feel beyond your ability.

You can still be supportive in many ways. When someone is experiencing significant anxiety, its helpful to reassure them that your overall perception of them hasnt changed. Theyre still the same person theyre just suffering a temporary problem situation that has become out of control. Theyre not broken and who they are hasnt changed. To the extent possible, you can help the person stay connected to positive aspects of their identity by participating in or encouraging their interests and hobbies.

Sometimes, individuals who have chronic anxiety problems arent interested in changing. For example, you might be friends with someone who has agoraphobia or an eating disorder, but their condition is long-term and stable. In these cases, you can be accepting of that person so that they dont feel isolated. Being matter-of-fact about their limitations without excessively shaming them or insisting they should pursue becoming normal is often the best strategy.

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Tip : Make An Effort To Be More Social

Actively seeking out supportive social environments is another effective way of challenging your fears and overcoming social anxiety. The following suggestions are good ways to start interacting with others in positive ways:

Take a social skills class or an assertiveness training class. These classes are often offered at local adult education centers or community colleges.

Volunteer doing something you enjoy, such as walking dogs in a shelter, or stuffing envelopes for a campaignanything that will give you an activity to focus on while you are also engaging with a small number of like-minded people.

Work on your communication skills. Good relationships depend on clear, emotionally-intelligent communication. If you find that you have trouble connecting to others, learning the basic skills of emotional intelligence can help.

Ideas For How To Help A Child With Social Anxiety Disorder

Social Anxiety Disorder â Are You the One Dealing With ...

Whether you are a parent or an educator, there are steps you can take to help your student or child succeed in both traditional and virtual classroom environments. Here are seven tips for how to help your child overcome social anxiety at school , with practical strategies for supporting students at every grade level and age. From third graders to high schoolers, your children or students can benefit from these simple yet effective ideas.

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Offer Support But Dont Take Over

Avoidance is a core feature of anxiety, so sometimes we may feel pulled to help out by doing things for our avoidant loved ones and inadvertently feed their avoidance. For instance, if your anxious roommate finds making phone calls incredibly stressful and you end up doing this for them, they never push through their avoidance.

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A good general principle to keep in mind is that support means helping someone to help themselves, not doing things for them, which includes virtually anything that stops short of actually doing it yourself. For example, you might offer to attend a first therapy session with your loved one if they set up the appointment. Or, if theyre not sure how to choose a therapist, you might brainstorm ways of doing that, but let them choose.

An exception might be when someones anxiety is accompanied by severe depression. If they cant get themselves out of bed, they may be so shut down that they temporarily need people to do whatever is needed to help them stay alive. Also, sometimes loved ones are so gripped by an anxiety disorder that theyre in pure survival mode and need more hands-on help to get things done. In less extreme circumstances, however, its best to offer support without taking over or overdoing the reassurance.

Don’t Constantly Talk About Their Anxiety

When you are with the person, or when you are talking to them over the phone, avoid constantly bringing up their anxiety or asking questions about it. Instead, keep the conversation flowing and let them talk about it if they want to. That way, they wont feel uncomfortable and pressured into discussing their anxiety when they dont want to.

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Social Phobia Can Extend Beyond The Social Event

A person with social phobia can feel anxious while simply anticipating an upcoming social event. After the event, the person may replay the conversations they had and rate their performance. Brooding on these feelings of social failure can make the person feel even worse, and reinforce the desire to avoid social situations in the future.

Limit Exposure To Devices & Social Networks

How to Support Someone With Anxiety

The internet gives those with social anxiety disorder more of an opportunity to hide away from society which can lead to further isolation. On social media, people may seek approval and feel disappointed when they dont receive enough likes. Meanwhile, users may compare their popularity to others and feel inadequate. Interacting online can take people away from in-person connection and further exacerbate the level of discomfort when actually interacting face-to-face.Limiting exposure to social media and disconnecting with technology can alleviate symptoms of social anxiety. Below, you can find some tips for dialing back on social network and technology use:Turn off push and sound notificationsDisable social media accounts, even if just temporarily. When you feel comfortable, slowly wean yourself back onto accounts and limit use.Put your phone out of reach while sleeping or when chargingUse apps to monitor and limit phone useDont use your phone as an alarm clock

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Social Anxiety In Children

Social anxiety can also affect children.

Signs of social anxiety in a child include:

  • crying more than usual
  • frequently complaining of feeling unwell – nausea, headaches, dizziness
  • having frequent tantrums before a social event or activity
  • avoiding interaction and eye contact with other children and adults
  • fear of going to school or taking part in classroom activities or events
  • not asking for help at school
  • being very reliant on their parents or carer

Speak to your GP if you’re worried about your child. Your GP will ask you about your child’s problems and talk to them about how they feel.

Treatments for social anxiety in children are like those for teenagers and adults. The use of medication depends on the age of the child and the severity of their experience of social anxiety.

Therapy will depend on your child’s age and will often involve help from you. You may get training and self-help materials to use between sessions. It may also take place in a small group.

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE.

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They Store Previous Traumatic Events In A Different Part Of Their Brains Than Other People

We are all subject to traumatic events in our lifetimes the death of a loved one being the victim of bullying or abuse catastrophes in our childhood or adolescence violence in wartime. People who do not suffer social anxiety from such events store those memories in the left frontal portions of their brains people who develop social anxiety store those memories in the back regions of their brains those regions in which sensory perceptions are housed. Thus, the sights, sounds, smells, etc. of those experiences are recalled when similar sensory experiences are encountered . Understanding that the individual with social anxiety may be re-living prior traumatic experiences differently can go a long way towards understanding and developing sensitivity to their responses to current situations which stimulate those memories.

Emotional Signs Before Or During Social Interactions

How to Cope at a Party When Anxiety is Your Plus
  • Fearing that someone will notice that you look anxious
  • Finding it scary and difficult to be around other people, especially people you dont already know
  • Constantly feeling very self-conscious, embarrassed, or awkward in front of other people
  • Constantly feeling afraid that other people will judge you, or worrying that you will embarrass or humiliate yourself in front of others

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Encourage Them To Try Meditation Or Deep Breathing

These are two of the most effective home remedies for anxiety.

Meditation can be performed alone or in a group. Some people with anxiety find that guided meditation is helpful, since it can help redirect the mind and slow down racing thoughts.

Many meditation apps are available, including Headspace, Calm, and Shine, with guided meditations designed specifically for anxiety.

You could also send your loved one a link to some apps for anxiety. They can browse and see what works best for them.

has shown that deep, controlled breathing can promote feelings of relaxation by triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls bodily functions when a person is at rest.

To help them practice, you could even offer to meditate or do some deep breathing with them.

People With Social Anxiety Don’t Want To Be Alone

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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Diagnosing And Managing Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder consists of a marked and persistent fear of social situations where there is the potential for being negatively evaluated by others. Exposure to the feared situations will produce significant anxiety and distress, which will either be endured, or, where possible , avoided, both of which contribute to increasing future anxiety. This level of social anxiety generally interferes with social and occupational functioning, and commonly the person understands the fear is out of proportion to the event.

  • Social anxiety disorder generally starts in early adolescence, and time to presentation can be upwards of 15 years, thus the social anxiety can be fairly entrenched, so it is really helpful if you can catch it early and get the person some timely therapeutic assistance.
  • There can be frequent use of alcohol and drugs to manage symptoms and such usage may have reached problematic levels. If so, consider referral to Community Alcohol and Drug Services first for treatment of the alcohol and drug-related difficulties before commencing social anxiety treatment.
  • Benzodiazepines are not recommended for the treatment of social anxiety.
  • Cognitivebehaviour therapy is currently the treatment of choice for social anxiety disorder. This can be delivered by a trained individual therapist, and there are a number of online tools, books, and treatment manuals. The following are recommended:
  • a workbook such as Shy no longer
  • an online programme like This Way Up.

Tip : Face Your Fears

How to Help Social Anxiety

One of the most helpful things you can do to overcome social anxiety is to face the social situations you fear rather than avoid them. Avoidance keeps social anxiety disorder going. While avoiding nerve-wracking situations may help you feel better in the short term, it prevents you from becoming more comfortable in social situations and learning how to cope in the long term. In fact, the more you avoid a feared social situation, the more frightening it becomes.

Avoidance can also prevent you from doing things youd like to do or reaching certain goals. For example, a fear of speaking up may prevent you from sharing your ideas at work, standing out in the classroom, or making new friends.

While it may seem impossible to overcome a feared social situation, you can do it by taking it one small step at a time. The key is to start with a situation that you can handle and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations, building your confidence and coping skills as you move up the anxiety ladder.

For example, if socializing with strangers makes you anxious, you might start by accompanying an outgoing friend to a party. Once youre comfortable with that step, you might try introducing yourself to one new person, and so on. To work your way up a social anxiety ladder:

Dont try to face your biggest fear right away. Its never a good idea to move too fast, take on too much, or force things. This may backfire and reinforce your anxiety.

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