8 Things People Do to Control Social Anxiety

8 Tips for Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder

8 Things People Do to Control Social Anxiety

If the thought of having to attend a networking event, office holiday party, or family reunion with your uppity out-of-state cousins fills you with dread, then you might have social anxiety disorder.

Also known as social phobia, the pervasive fear of being judged by one’s peers affects an estimated 15 million Americans.

If you think you might be one of them, a physician can recommend the best course of treatment for you, but there are a few tactics you can try in the meantime. Here are some tips for coping with social anxiety disorder.

1. Ease into social situations

Everything gets easier with practice, and the same concept applies to socializing. Avoiding parties and large gatherings may provide temporary relief of social phobia, but it isn't a long-term fix. To get started on your road to overcoming anxiety, the Mayo Clinic outlines a few steps that can be found in most cognitive behavioral therapy regimens.

This form of psychotherapy challenges people's negative thoughts about social situations to help alleviate anxiety. One such step is to set small, manageable goals for yourself, giving a stranger a compliment or asking an employee in a store for help finding something. Keep doing little tasks these until you start to build confidence.

Once you’ve mastered these social skills, you can more on to more challenging scenarios.

2. Prepare talking points to combat social anxiety disorder before an event

We’re not saying you should memorize your lines, but it will ease some of the tension if you come to a party or networking event with a few conversation starters in mind. If possible, do some snooping to find out what some of the other guests are into, or check the news for interesting ice breakers.

Just take it from author, life coach, and self-proclaimed “party-impaired individual” Martha Beck: “When you find yourself standing at the bar or reaching a dead end in a conversation, news of a sighting of Bessie, the Lake Erie monster, or some other tidbit that caught your attention will make it that much easier to mingle.”

3. Lay off the caffeine

You may think that a cup of joe will perk you up and make it easier to conquer your fears, but it may end up making your social phobia worse. Coffee, chocolate, and soda are best avoided because stimulants such as these can elevate your levels of anxiety.

4. Get plenty of sleep

In a similar vein, make sure you get plenty of sleep before your next big event. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends that you get at least eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re sleep-deprived, you may notice that it’s harder to immerse yourself in social situations.

5. Identify your negative thinking patterns

Think back to the last time you felt anxious.

What kinds of thoughts were you having in that moment? Did any of them make you feel worse? If so, you might be getting swept up in negative self-talk, which can fuel social phobia and make you feel more anxious. Identifying these thoughts when they pop up is the first step to confronting and changing them, according to the Social Anxiety Institute.

6. Imagine what would happen if your worst fears came true

It may seem counterproductive, but asking yourself “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” is a good way to confront your “inner critic,” according to author and clinical psychologist Ellen Hendriksen.

Avoid words “always,” “never, “everybody,” and “nobody”—they’re vague and tend to overstate the risks you face.

Instead, think about your specific fears of any given situation, and you will probably realize that “failure”—whether it’s tripping on stage or sounding awkward—isn’t as bad as it seems.

The more you rationalize it, the more “‘Everyone will think I’m a freak’ turns into ‘The five or six people I talk to at the party might notice my hands shaking and think something is wrong with me,’” Hendriksen writes in her book How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety. If you do this enough, social situations won’t seem quite as scary.

7. Focus on someone else

When you’re talking to someone, really make a concerted effort to listen to what they’re saying. This will help shift your focus away from your own insecurities.

“The trick is to focus on anything except yourself, and that magically frees up a lot of bandwidth,” Hendriksen tells Vox.

“When we’re able to do this, we come across as much more authentic and open and the anxiety disappears.”

8. Be proud that you put yourself out there

Instead of scrutinizing every little thing you said or did after a social event, give yourself credit for simply doing something you find challenging—and living to tell the tale. Establishing a system of “self-reward” will help decrease your anxiety in the future, according to Robert L.

Leahy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City. “Who deserves more congratulation than you for trying hard to confront what is difficult?” Leahy writes in Psychology Today. “Just trying, just going, just staying in, and just tolerating the discomfort are reasons for reward.

Each time you face your fear, you win and your fear loses.”

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Источник: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/565957/tips-for-overcoming-social-anxiety-disorder

Anxiety

8 Things People Do to Control Social Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. We all feel anxious at times, but anxiety may be a mental health problem if your feelings are very strong or last a long time. More than one in 20 of us have an anxiety disorder.

*Last updated: 8 July 2021

What is anxiety?

 It’s normal to feel anxious sometimes. It’s how we respond to feeling threatened, under pressure or stressed: for example if we have an exam, job interview or doctor’s appointment.

Anxiety isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can spur us on, help us stay alert, make us aware of risks and motivate us to solve problems.

However, anxiety can be a problem if it’s affecting your ability to live your life. If your anxiety is ongoing, intense, hard to control or proportion to your situation, it can be the sign of a mental health problem.

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

Anxiety can affect both your body and mind.

The effect on your mind can include:

  • a feeling of dread or fearing the worst
  • feeling on edge or panicky
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability
  • feeling detached from yourself or the world around you.

Physical feelings can include:

  • restlessness
  • feeling dizzy or light-headed
  • wobbly legs or pins and needles in your hands and feet
  • shortness of breath or hyperventilating
  • heart palpitations (a noticeably strong, fast heartbeat)
  • nausea
  • needing the toilet more or less often
  • sweating
  • headache
  • dry mouth
  • sleep problems
  • panic attacks.

Anxiety can also affect your behaviour. You may withdraw from friends and family, feel unable to go to work, or avoid certain places. While avoiding situations can give you short-term relief, the anxiety often returns the next time you’re in the situation. Avoiding it only reinforces the feeling of danger and never gives you a chance to find out whether your fears are true or not.

Some people with anxiety may appear to be fine on the outside while still having some of the symptoms listed above. You may have developed ways of hiding your anxiety so that other people don’t notice it.

What is an anxiety disorder?

If your symptoms of anxiety meet a certain criteria, your GP may diagnose you with an anxiety disorder. Some common anxiety disorders include:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder – feeling anxious or worried most of the time
  • Panic disorder – having regular panic attacks, often for no apparent reason
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – having anxiety problems after experiencing a very stressful or frightening event. It can include flashbacks and nightmares
  • Social anxiety disorder – a fear or dread of social situations. It’s more than just shyness or nerves: it’s a fear of being judged by others or being embarrassed or humiliated
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) – having recurring unpleasant thoughts (obsessions) and performing certain routines repetitively to relieve anxiety (compulsions)
  • Phobias – an overwhelming fear of a specific object, place, situation or feeling.

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health problems. Up to one in 20 people in the UK have generalised anxiety disorder. Slightly more women than men are affected, and it’s more common in people aged between 35 and 59.

What causes anxiety disorders?

There are many different factors that can make anxiety disorders more ly to happen. These include:

  • genetics – if you have a close relative with an anxiety disorder, you’re more ly to develop one yourself
  • an imbalance of brain chemicals that are involved in controlling and regulating your mood
  • having a painful long-term health condition
  • experiencing past traumatic events such as childhood abuse, domestic violence or bullying
  • a history of drug or alcohol misuse
  • your current life situation – such as experiencing money or housing problems, unemployment, work stress, loneliness, or difficult family or personal relationships.

Getting support

There are different ways to treat and manage anxiety disorders. The right treatment for you will depend on your type of anxiety disorder, how severe it is and your personal circumstances.

The first step to getting support is usually to speak to your GP. They will assess you and then explain your treatment options.

Self-help resources

Your GP may offer you self-help resources such as workbooks or online CBT courses. These are often available quite quickly and may be enough to help you feel better without trying other options. Have a look at the NHS free apps library to see if there’s anything that might help you.

Talking therapy

This involves working through your thoughts, feelings and behaviours with a mental health professional. Your GP can refer you or you can refer yourself.

Two kinds of therapy are particularly recommended for anxiety.

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you learn strategies for recognising and overcoming distressing or anxious thoughts.
  • Applied relaxation involves learning to relax your muscles in situations that usually make you anxious.

Support groups

Support groups offer a safe place to share your experiences and worries with other people who also have an anxiety disorder. They can help you manage your anxiety through sharing coping strategies. It can also be comforting and helpful to talk to others who understand what you’re going through. Some groups are facilitated by a mental health professional.

Ask your GP about local groups or visit our page on peer support. Anxiety UK offers online support groups.

Medication

There are different medications to manage both the physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety. Talk to your GP about which one might be right for you.

The NHS website has more information about medication for anxiety disorders.

Further resources and information

Our guide on How to overcome fear and anxiety

Источник: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/a/anxiety

Psychologydo
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