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How To Overcome Social Anxiety

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy For Social Anxiety

How to Easily Overcome Social Anxiety – Prof. Jordan Peterson

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

Cognitive Strategies

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.

Behavioural Strategies

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

What Does The Eye Mean At The Top Of A Pyramid

This is why the eye is the thing at the top of the pyramid. The thing that enables you to win the set of all possible dominance hierarchies is the eye. Pay attention.

Thats the critical issue. Thats why the Egyptians worshipped Horus. Its why Horus was the thing that rescued Osiris from the depths. Its the capacity to pay attention.

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In scenario 2, you felt anxious but were still able to participate in normal daily activity.

Your anxiety was on the lower end of the social anxiety spectrum.

You feel that your anxiety is inconvenient and irrational but not crippling.

You probably have social anxiety but not social anxiety disorder.

Even though you dont have an anxiety disorder, it will still be helpful to learn the strategies discussed below

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Prepare Positive Corrective Experiences

Outlining a plan for success is also an effective way to overcome social anxiety. The key to overcoming anxiety is having positive corrective experiences, Licensed Mental Health Therapist Jennifer Daffon explains. The best way to approach this is by identifying small steps toward target behavior so one can gain a sense of mastery over the feared stimulus. For example, when dealing with social anxiety, if one is fearful of meeting new people because they dont know what to say, a person can create a list outlining steps to eventually introducing themselves to someone new. A sample plan might be: First make eye contact with someone, then once comfortable doing that, wave at someone, then say hi and so on.

How To Build Confidence And Feel Less Self

How To Overcome Social Anxiety Tax Effects

Not being able to see friends and new people may have caused you to lose some confidence in yourself. This is completely normal and natural, but its also important to build that confidence back up again so you can enjoy life to the fullest.

In our blog about the art of public speaking, we discussed how there are two main elements to self-confidence: self-efficacy and locus of control. This comes from psychological research done by Judge, Locke and Durham in 1997, and is referred to as Core Self Evaluation.

We discuss these elements in detail in the public speaking post, but well provide a brief overview here too. Self-efficacy is about the belief you have in your ability to succeed in different situations, while locus of control is about your belief that you are able to influence situations in your life, internally and externally.

In order to further develop your self-efficacy, you should be open to trying new activities and taking on responsibilities, you should find positive role models, and you should ask for feedback and constructive criticisms from others.

To develop your locus of control, you should focus on the things in life that you have total control over, and create goals that relate to those things. You should seek support from different places, whether thats a therapist, online community or club.

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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!

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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Therapy For Social Anxiety

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy . This is a type of talking therapy often used to treat depression and anxiety and aims to disrupt negative thinking patterns. To find out more about CBT used to treat anxiety, try our Understanding Anxiety, Depression and CBT course from the University of Reading.
  • Applied relaxation therapy. This is a good way to tackle the physical symptoms of anxiety and can be especially effective for panic disorder. It involves using muscle relaxation techniques to help the body calm down.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Specifically for social anxiety disorder, ACT is based on Buddhist philosophy and involves learning to accept negative thoughts and anxiety rather than eliminate them.

Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

How to overcome social anxiety and shyness

Social anxiety develops negative thoughts. The first step to help yourself is to challenge your mentality. These negative thoughts contribute to their fears and anxiety and some of them are:

  • I know Ill end up looking like a fool.
  • My voice will start shaking and Ill humiliate myself.
  • People will think Im stupid
  • I wont have anything to say. Ill seem boring.

For example, when you are worried about an upcoming social gathering, identify the underlying negative thought. It could be I wont have anything to say. Ill seem boring.

Next, analyze and challenge this negative thought. Be objective enough and ask questions like Do I know for sure that they will get bored with me?

Through this logical evaluation of your negative thought, replace them with encouraging and positive ways of looking at social situations that trigger your anxiety. When you understand the reasons for your anxieties, it will help lessen their negative impact on your life.

Also Check: How To Overcome Sexual Anxiety

What Causes Social Anxiety

Like a lot of important questions in life, What causes social anxiety? is a more complicated question than wed like.

For one thing, different forms of social anxiety are likely to have different causes.

For example:

  • If you struggle with social anxiety at workparticularly with imposter syndrome and feeling like other people are about to discover how big a fraud you really arethat may be caused primarily by perfectionism and a mental habit of self-criticism and comparing yourself to others.
  • On the other hand, if your social anxiety tends to crop up in the context of romantic relationships and having a hard time being emotionally vulnerable, that might stem from your experiences as a child seeing how poorly one of your parents was treated when they expressed emotion in the context of a relationship.

I bring this up because its unwise to hang onto the idea that theres one cause of social anxiety. And that if you just figure that out, youll be able to crack the code and end your struggle with it.

More than likely your social anxiety has very different causes than your mothers social anxiety, which has different causes than your bosss social anxiety.

Of course, that doesnt mean there arent common factors in what causes social anxiety that many people share. There are! But the point is theres no way to shortcut the hard work of identifying the unique causes of your social anxiety.

Strategy : Focus On Your Breathing

First, lets just make it known that breathing strategies are not something you use only when you are anxious. Healthy breathing habits that are done all day every day will help reduce anxiety.

  • Fix Your Posture. Keeping your shoulders back and sitting up straight has been shown to directly affect how people feel about themselves. Not only this but sitting up straight opens up your lungs to breathe fully.
  • Breathe From Your Stomach: Slow, deep breaths in and out of your stomach WILL calm you down if you continue to do so for 2-4 minutes.
  • 4-3-4 Breaths: Slow your breathing by taking a long, 4 second inhale into your stomach, hold it for 3 seconds, then release for 4 seconds. Then repeat. Make this a habit that you engage in EVERY time you begin feeling anxious.
  • Lets Apply It:

    Experiment 1: Get your smartphone out and set your timer to 3 minutes.

    Slouch your posture and breath fast, shallow breaths into your upper chest.

    After three minutes, reflect on how you feel.

    Ask yourself how your emotional state changed.

    Experiment 2: Now that you have gotten yourself all worked up, set your timer again to 3 minutes.

    This time, take 4-3-4 breaths into and out of your stomach.

    Focus your mind on something you find comforting and peaceful. At the end of this time, reflect on how you now feel.

    How much change do you feel in only three minutes of breathing in a healthy way?

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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.

    Go With A Trusted Friend Or Family Member

    Smashwords  How to Overcome Social Anxiety

    If youre going to an unfamiliar place with people you dont know, it might help to bring a trusted friend or family member to calm your nerves. However, you should try to make sure you still talk to other people once youre there otherwise, you might find yourself relying solely on the person you came with.

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    Overcoming Social Anxiety Is A Goal Of Many People

    Whether they find themselves unable to express themselves in front of a group of people or unable to tell the opposite sex how they feel, feeling socially stitched up is extremely common.

    According to Mental Health America, 15 million Americans suffer with some form of social anxiety and those are the ones that report it! Social anxiety in men is even more under-reported, because of stigma surrounding mental health issues .

    Regardless, dealing with and managing social anxiety is key if you want to live life to its fullest capacity.

    In this article, Im going to discuss some tactics that will help you overcome social anxiety and make it take a backseat in your life permanently.

    • Entering a room
    • Going to a party

    These events usually result in a constricting of focus and inability to express oneself and as earlier stated, panic attacks.

    If social anxiety is left untreated, it can result in social isolation. Since most of life is a social affair, youll end up missing out. You might miss out on dates, jobs, and just life in general. Next thing you know, a year, 5 years, or a decade has passed by and youre still in the same spot you were before. Afraid and alone.

    How To Overcome Social Anxiety And Deepen Your Relationships

    Anxiety is a product of an overactive mind. Social anxiety is just a manifestation or trigger of that anxiety.

    This anxiety keeps you withdrawn from the world and places distance between you and everyone thats important to you. It prevents you from speaking your mind and expressing your truth for fear of reprimand or of being judged.

    If you really look at this situation, youll see that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. To overcome social anxiety, you need to acknowledge this as fact and allow yourself to step forward through the fear.

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    How To Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder Tip : Challenge Negative Thoughts

    While it may seem like theres nothing you can do about the symptoms of social anxiety disorder or social phobia, in reality, there are many things that can help. The first step is challenging your mentality.

    Social anxiety sufferers have negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their fears and anxiety. These can include thoughts such as:

    • I know Ill end up looking like a fool.
    • My voice will start shaking and Ill humiliate myself.
    • People will think Im stupid
    • I wont have anything to say. Ill seem boring.

    Challenging these negative thoughts is an effective way to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety.

    Step 1: Identify the automatic negative thoughts that underlie your fear of social situations. For example, if youre worried about an upcoming work presentation, the underlying negative thought might be: Im going to blow it. Everyone will think Im completely incompetent.

    Step 2: Analyze and challenge these thoughts. It helps to ask yourself questions about the negative thoughts: Do I know for sure that Im going to blow the presentation? or Even if Im nervous, will people necessarily think Im incompetent? Through this logical evaluation of your negative thoughts, you can gradually replace them with more realistic and positive ways of looking at social situations that trigger your anxiety.

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