Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Social Anxiety
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is considered to be one of the leading psychological treatments for social anxiety. All of our online courses use CBT strategies to help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. Click below to see if CBT can help you tackle your symptoms to improve the way you feel.
Strategies for Managing Symptoms of Social Anxiety
People with social anxiety disorder tend to overestimate the likelihood of being judged by other people and underestimate their own worth. Theyre often self-critical, can fixate on their own flaws, and constantly compare themselves to other people. They can also be hyperaware of and embarrassed by the physical symptoms of anxiety, like blushing, sweating, or trembling.
Cognitive strategies help people identify and challenge these kinds of thoughts, and learn new, more helpful ways of thinking. In doing so, these strategies help can people become more confident and self-compassionate.
Two key features of social anxiety are avoidance and safety behaviours. Avoidance is when you miss out on fun or important experiences because of anxiety, for example, skipping a friends birthday party or an important presentation at work because youre afraid of being judged. Safety behaviours are things you do that help you cope with anxiety, like having a few drinks before you get to a party.
Coping With Symptoms of Social Anxiety
Severe Social Anxiety Disorder Can Be Debilitating
The Treatment Specialist connects you a social anxiety treatment program that can help you overcome your severe anxiety symptoms. Learn and recover with intensive therapy and customized treatment for your particular needs. Treatment will include the use CBT, a short-term therapy that helps you assertively conquer this disorder. For more information about admissions into a rehab for social anxiety, contact the helpful and compassionate specialists today at 644-7911.
Using Good Social Skills
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Explore Specific Situations That Trigger Anxiety
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.
How Can Social Phobia Affect Someone’s Life
With social phobia, thoughts and fears about what others think get exaggerated in someone’s mind. The person starts to focus on the embarrassing things that could happen, instead of the good things. This makes a situation seem much worse than it is, and influences a person to avoid it.
Some of the ways social phobia can affect someone’s life include:
- Feeling lonely or disappointed over missed opportunities for friendship and fun. Social phobia might prevent someone from chatting with friends in the lunchroom, joining an after-school club, going to a party, or asking someone on a date.
- Not getting the most out of school. Social phobia might keep a person from volunteering an answer in class, reading aloud, or giving a presentation. Someone with social phobia might feel too nervous to ask a question in class or go to a teacher for help.
- Missing a chance to share their talents and learn new skills. Social phobia might prevent someone from auditioning for the school play, being in the talent show, trying out for a team, or joining in a service project. Social phobia not only prevents people from trying new things. It also prevents them from making the normal, everyday mistakes that help people improve their skills still further.
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Be Accountable To Someone
You may stay in your rut forever if nobody knows you are trying to move past your social anxiety and you are not accountable to anyone. Choose someone you trust , and tell them about your plans to make changes in your life.
This works very much like having an exercise partner the other person keeps you honest and keeps you from giving up when the road seems to hard and long.
Is There Any Treatment For Anxiety
When your basic drives for survival are in high gear, it becomes exceedingly challenging for your rational brain to function properly. In other words, the work of overcoming anxiety needs to take place before or after anxiety attacks to be the most helpfuland to give you the tools to react more effectively the next time anxiety strikes.
Its important to reiterate just how pervasive anxiety has become in our culture. So, one, youre not alone. Most people have either experienced anxiety themselves or it has impacted people close to them. So, aim to let go of any embarrassment, shame, or negative self-talk that you feel. And, two, there are a lot of services and strategies out there that can help you fight anxiety.
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How Does Social Anxiety Affect Your Life
The fear that comes with social anxiety disorder keeps you from doing the things that you want to do.
You want to have meaningful friendships but the fear stops you in your tracks.
Most people with social anxiety know that their thoughts are irrational, they just dont have the tools to overcome their current way of thinking. Those with social anxiety often feel powerless in the face of their anxiety.
Be Aware Of The Root Cause Of Social Anxiety
The more we allow ourselves to believe in social anxiety as the reason why were afraid, the more we reinforce it. Once we accept that social anxiety is a product of our fears, it becomes easier to take control. We can recognize when were being defensive or when someone else is trying to attack us.
We can also learn to focus on people and how they make us feel instead of what they might be thinking about us. We can learn to see past our fears and realize that even if someone else has a terrible opinion of us, its not scary if we know what caused them to think that way.
For example, a child who is told that they are too loud or annoying will begin to fear judgment and pre-judgment from others. This causes them to self-censor because of imagined judgments from those around them. This leads to social anxiety and avoidance of any person or place they believe may judge them even if its only in their own minds.
The reality is, many people have judged themselves at one point in their lives for something that they believe is true about themselves. A person who believes that they are not worth anything will begin to feel inferior to others. A teenager who is told that they will end up flipping burgers for the rest of their life because they lack the intelligence to do much more will feel a sense of shame and inadequacy.
This is why I believe that everyone with social anxiety must find the root cause of social anxiety and rid themselves of it before they can truly heal.
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What Is Social Anxiety
The intense fear of social situation that is brought up by the individuals own fear of being negatively judged by the people around lead them to anxiety.
Well, some people with social anxiety might only have restricted fears which are limited to some particular situation.
For instance, fear of speaking in public or initiating a conversation.
However, in a broader aspect, some people instantly get anxious and develop a certain kind of fear in these situations.
When you are facing social anxiety, the first thing that you need to understand is what exactly causes it!
In these situations, your body get terrified leading your defenses to get employed.
In turn, your brain try all the possible ways to ensure your safety and security.
Social anxiety only becomes problematic when it starts to intervene in your life and prevent you from enjoying your social setting.
Well, there is no exact solution that can fade it away.
However, there are some tips that you can follow to lessen the severity of your social anxiety over time.
Reframe Mistakes As Positive Learning Opportunities
Some people are afraid to take the smallest step out of their comfort zone because they are afraid of making mistakes or embarrassing themselves. They want to stay in their safe zone, no matter how much it limits their opportunities in life.
If any of your interactions are awkward, dont view them as failures. Instead see mistakes as learning opportunities. Be proud of them as they show you how you can improve next time.
Your self-esteem and confidence will gradually develop with more social experience.
Dont pressure yourself to impress everyone you meet. Accept the fact that not every interaction will result in meeting new friends or even an enjoyable conversation.
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Understand and Manage Stress in Your Life
Learn more about the nature of stress and how you can effectively cope with stress at work, at home and in life generally. The Skills You Need Guide to Stress and Stress Management eBook covers all you need to know to help you through those stressful times and become more resilient.
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Listen To The Calmer You Podcast
Social anxiety disorder is often misunderstood and many people could be suffering in silence. Its much more than feeling shy and not wanting to speak up in big groups. It can really take control and impede your everyday life. Tasks such as leaving the house, speaking on the phone or shopping can be troubling and difficult to cope with. Anxiety Care UK states that social anxiety is a common and distressing condition with as many as 40% of the population suffering from it.
Social anxiety or phobia can have all sorts of repercussions and you may not only worry about negative evaluation but positive evaluation also. One study found that people who succeed at work might worry about outshining their coworkers. They simply dont want to stand out, even positively.
People suffering from social anxiety disorder look to avoid social situations. About 20% of people with social anxiety also suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, with a recent study showing a stronger correlation among women. Research has shown that women have been more affected by social anxiety however its men that tend to seek more help for their phobia.
Replace Negativity With Positivity
Being positive is contagious. If you have a habit of seeing the world through a negative lens , try becoming an optimist, if only for a day at first. Replace any negative thoughts with more positive alternatives. See if that doesn’t help you start to climb out of your rut.
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Learn To Control Your Breathing
When you become anxious, you begin to breathe quickly. In turn, it throws off the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body.
Hyperventilation leads to more physical symptoms of anxiety, such as dizziness, a feeling of suffocation, increased heart rate, and muscle tension. But if you learn how to control your breathing, it can help bring your physical symptoms of anxiety back under control.
Practice the following breathing exercise to stay calm:
- Sit comfortably Relax and with your back straight and your shoulders relaxed, put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.
- Inhale slowly Inhale deeply and slowly through your nose for 4 seconds.
- Hold your breath for 2 seconds.
- Exhale slowly Exhale slowly through your mouth for 6 seconds, pushing out as much air as you can.
- Continue to breathe Repeat the inhale and exhale exercise. Focus on keeping a slow and steady breathing pattern of 4-in, 2-hold, and 6-out.
Maintain Confident Body Language
Body language signals to people around you exactly what you are feeling. Usually, people unconsciously move in ways that reflect their mental state. However, you can also intentionally use confident body language to feel more confident.
Normally, your body produces neurotransmitters and hormones that make you feel exactly the way you think you should feel. For example, if you live in a stressful environment and are constantly worried people will physically attack you, then your body produces high amounts of cortisol, adrenaline and other hormones that prepare your fight or flight response. In small doses, this is very healthy. However, if you are constantly stressed, its very unhealthy.
Even when socially anxious people arent living in an objectively stressful environment, they still experience that same overactive stress response because they perceive that they need it. Their body language will reflect this interpretation and their inner feelings. They will try to take up less space to become invisible, avoid eye contact, and speak quickly for fear of being interrupted.
However, socially confident people dont feel they are in any danger. They feel safe. Their body reflects this in the chemicals it produces and in the postures that a confident person feels comfortable taking.
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Accept Your Social Anxiety
Accept the fact that you are feeling inferior to other people and that the feeling of inferiority makes you anxious in social situations. Keep in mind that its only a feeling. It does not have to represent the truth, and with some work, you can change that feeling.
Acceptance means that you make peace with the fact that you are experiencing something unpleasant. It means letting go of the internal struggle in order to save your energy for problem solving in a more emotionally detached, productive, and constructive way.
Your biggest struggle is the struggle itself, and wanting to have control over everything.
Let me illustrate this more clearly:
Your first reaction to your internal struggle is to fight it, or to escape from it. This is absolutely normal. Who wants pain and suffering in their life anyway? But by doing so, you increase the inner tension because you create a second, or even a third and fourth struggle, instead of addressing the first one.
Fear of fear is the number one cause of recurring panic attacks.
I used to feel weak, worthless and angry at myself for feeling intense fear in what are supposed to be normal situations. This kind of battle with your own feelings can pretty much escalate as far, and on as many levels, as you can imagine.
Unfortunately, this only increases the anxiety and chances that other people will notice it.