Is Social Anxiety Keeping You From Thriving? Tips From A Midtown Anxiety Therapist

Nov 02, 2023
Anxiety Therapy, Coping with Social Anxiety, Worry

Is Social Anxiety Keeping You From Thriving? Tips From A Midtown Anxiety Therapist

There is much talk about a condition called “social anxiety.” But what exactly is it and, more importantly, how can it be overcome or, in the very least, alleviated?

To put it simply — although there is nothing simple about it — social anxiety is the fear of interactions with other people. It is a very common disorder — The Anxiety and Depression Association of America https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder estimates that about 15 million people in the United States suffer from this condition, also referred to as “social phobia.” 

Even the most extraverted and outgoing people are sometimes nervous or uncomfortable about, say, public speaking. But for someone who suffers from anxiety, any exposure to social situations, no matter how small, can cause panic attacks and other worrisome symptoms.

Clearly, it is very important to get to the root of this problem — not only because its symptoms can be debilitating, but also because social anxiety can prevent you from reaching your full potential and becoming successful. It can also keep you from forming friendships and other close relationships that are essential part of our lives.

So what is the most effective treatment for social anxiety?

Since the causes of this disorder are frequently deep-seated, it is best to consult a therapist. 

You can also take some measures yourself — not instead of professional help, but in addition to it:

Work on your self-esteem: Fear of interactions, of being judged or embarrassed in public, often stems from a sense of insecurity and low self-worth (both of which, as mentioned above, might derive from a childhood trauma or other past experiences).

The transition from shyness and introversion to openness and self-confidence is not easy. What might help you to achieve this goal is building emotional resilience, which we outlined in a previous blog 

Adjust your mindset: Your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It all depends on how you “set” it. Sometimes (actually, quite often), things turn out not to be as bad as we imagined them. That includes social interactions— approached with the right (that is, positive) attitude, you might find these situations to be not as threatening or unpleasant as you thought. 

Go slowly (but surely): Set small, realistic goals for yourself as you venture out. You don’t have to become a social butterfly; rather, face social situations slowly and gradually, a little bit at a time. Set your own pace and, most importantly, keep engaging in spite of the discomfort!  

Learn to relax: Overcoming the barriers you set for yourself will likely be a stressful experience. Not long ago, we published a blog https://www.happyapplenyc.com/blog/coping-with-stress-yes-you-can about how coping with stress will help you clear and soothe your mind. Obviously, it is much easier to tackle your social anxiety when you are relaxed and calm.

There are more ways to overcome and treat social anxiety, and this is where an experienced therapist can help.