Therapy For Social Anxiety

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Therapy For Social Anxiety

Have you ever been really nervous when having to meet new people? Or maybe you notice you tend to shut down when large groups of crowds? Have you ever found yourself being overly embarrassed at something you have said? These are all signs of social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is when a person becomes very anxious in social situations. People who have social anxiety tend to be overly critical of himself or herself. They over-think social interactions and become preoccupied with not embarrassing themselves.

Social anxiety brings about a great deal of stress in social situations. It can even cause people to avoid social situations at all costs. There are many reasons that people have social anxiety, and for most it causes a major strain on their lives. A person with social anxiety has difficulty making and maintaining friendships. They also struggle with their own self-image and misinterpret how others see them. It is difficult to live with social anxiety, but there are things that can be done to reduce social anxiety.

The first step is to identify your triggers for social anxiety. What situations that make you feel the most uncomfortable? Sometimes we have certain situations where we feel comfortable, while others we feel anxious. Some may be uncomfortable around people they do not know, while others don’t do well in large crowds. Everyone is different, and it is important to be aware of the situations that cause the most stress for you.

While you begin to learn your triggers you can consult with a therapist. A therapist is going to play a key role in learning how to manage your social anxiety. A therapist will help you to understand you triggers and how your triggers developed. He or she will also work with you using therapeutic techniques. The two most effective forms of therapy for social anxiety are:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is useful because it helps you restructure how you think and act in social situations.
  • Talk therapy. Talk therapy is important in treating social anxiety. With talk therapy you will be able to identify the problem areas of your thinking. Common bad habits include: poor self-image, over-thinking, and drawing conclusions about others.

A therapist will also help you to learn mindfulness techniques. People with social anxiety tend to become tense or nervous in many social situations. With mindfulness exercises you can learn to relax when interacting with others. For example, deep breathing is important in social situations. The oxygen you pull into your lungs creates a euphoric feeling. This euphoric feeling relaxes the muscles and helps you feel calm in uncomfortable situations.

Social anxiety is difficult to cope with. Sometimes it could feel like you are isolated, awkward, and can never get better. However, it is possible to improve your social skills and reduce your social anxiety. Seeking therapy with a professional who will help you learn ways to manage your symptoms is the first step in reducing your social anxiety.


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