Category: Social Anxiety Treatment

Six Steps to Overcoming Social Anxiety

You want to meet some new people and you want to have friends that you can share your world with, but it may be difficult because social interactions leave you feeling drained, inadequate, and anxious.  You spend quite a lot of time worrying about what will happen if people do not like you are what they are saying about you when you leave.  These are all signs of social anxiety.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that you can get through social anxiety.  Make some small changes in your life and you will begin to feel more comfortable in social settings.  And if it is too rough for you to do on your own, find a qualified therapist to help you.  He or she will be able to help you walk this slippery path and navigate toward your best self.

Here are six things you can do on your own that will alleviate social anxiety:

 1. Think Positively

Negative thinking is at the heart of social anxiety.  One of the most helpful things that can be done during treatment for social anxiety is helping patients work their way through negative thinking processes and find ways to change the pattern.  Therapists usually recommend that patients keep a journal so that they can get a better sense of what the negative thoughts are usually about and see evidence of how damaging these negative thoughts can be.  Patients are encouraged to recognize a negative thought and follow it up with a positive thought.

2. Stop Avoiding Situations the Make You Uncomfortable

If you never step outside your comfort zone, you are never going meet any new people or make any new connections with the world.  While keeping away from any situation that makes you uncomfortable seems like it is the best thing to do for yourself, but avoidance actually makes anxiety worse in the long run.  If you never leave your comfort zone, you will never learn how to control your anxiety.  It will have control over you.

3. Know When to Leave

Getting out of your comfort zone and taking some social chances is a good thing for you to do, but that does not mean that you have to go to a big office party and stay there for hours and hours.  Go with a set amount of time that you plan to stay – an hour, or a half hour, or even just 20 minutes.  When you talk to the people you know, mention that you are just dropping by and have another commitment.  Have your exit strategy worked out before you go.  If you start to have a good time, you can always stay for a while longer and allay inquiries with a text that your plans changed.

4. Compare Yourself to No One

Each person on this planet is unique.  Comparing your situation and behavior to anyone else’s is not going to do you any good.  There will always be someone who is more confident or better at social interaction than you are.  There will always be someone who is less confidents and not as capable of social interaction as you are.  Rather than comparing yourself to others, try to improve yourself.  Compare yourself to yourself.  Make constant improvements so that you can look back in a year and see your improvements.

5. Predict Success

Focusing on what you do not want to happen or what could potentially go wrong is not going to be helpful to you.  Focus on the positive.  Think about what you DO want to happen.  The surest way to find failure is to expect failure.  Visualize yourself as a confident conversationalist.  Think about talking to people that you have never spoken to before.  Picture yourself talking to many groups of people and making the rounds to talk to everyone.  These things might not happen, but at least you have given yourself a chance.

 6. Ask Questions

The easiest way to engage people and to make yourself feel more comfortable is to ask questions.  It takes the pressure off of you trying to think about something witty or interesting to add.  People love to talk about themselves so ask sincere, open-ended questions so that the responses will elicit conversation.  Come up with some questions beforehand so that you can pull them out when you need them.  Ask about the job of the person you are talking to, a movie you both saw recently, or some other kind of shared experience.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social Anxiety Disorder, also known as social phobia, is the feeling of extreme fear of judgement of scrutiny in social or performance situations.  It has the power to disrupt daily life by limiting or preventing social and romantic relationships. Social anxiety disorder can also impact professional or academic performance and can result in a very isolated existence.

When Does It Start?

The typical onset of social anxiety disorder is approximately 13 years of age.  Some early signs in children younger than 13 include:

  • clinging behavior
  • tantrums
  • selective mutism

Due to the fact that those who suffer with this disorder find it difficult to speak up and advocate for themselves, approximately 36% of those with the disorder go undiagnosed and untreated for 10+ years before seeking help.

How Does Social Anxiety Disorder Work?

Those who suffer from this disorder often feel ashamed, alone, and a lack of control over themselves.  They experience life with a regular fright of embarrassment or humiliation.

Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder include:

  • excessive blushing
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • abdominal distress
  • headaches
  • increased heart rate
  • dizziness
  • feeling of losing control

The disorder can also be present in general social interactions or more selectively, such as during participation in classes or meetings, or in dating situations.  Individuals with social anxiety disorder tend to be prone to substance abuse in an attempt to self-medicate and ease their symptoms.

How Is It Treated?

Treatment for social anxiety disorder includes therapy, medication, a combination of therapy and medication, and/or complementary and alternative methods such as yoga or acupuncture.  The vast majority of individuals who seek treatment will see a marked improvement in their symptoms and are able to overcome the fears holding them back from their goals.  If you or someone you know may suffer from social anxiety disorder, a Proliance Center professional is ready help!

Social Anxiety Treatment in South Florida

Many people experience a sense of nervousness or self-consciousness in social situations.  Some examples might include giving a speech, interviewing for a new job, or going on a first date.  While some anxiety in these types of situations is normal, social anxiety, or social phobia is much more than shyness or nerves.  Individuals experiencing social anxiety often find themselves avoiding social situations in order to protect themselves from a fear of embarrassment or social failure.  This avoidance represents a significant disruption in the individual’s normal routine and causes tremendous stress.  Not only is this a recognized issue in the field of mental health, but it is far more common than you might think.

The good news about social anxiety, or social phobia, is that social anxiety treatment in South Florida can be highly successful and can allow individuals who have been suffering in silence to find new strength and confidence in their abilities to participate in social situations and overcome their fears.  During social anxiety treatment in South Florida at Proliance Center, we see many patients, of all ages and backgrounds, who are seeking help to overcome social anxiety.   With social anxiety treatment in South Florida we can help you to determine the symptoms, uncover the underlying causes of your fears, and equip you with the tools necessary to overcome and move forward.

When beginning social anxiety treatment in South Florida at Proliance Center, your therapist will first work with you to establish a positive, open, and supportive working relationship.  As social anxiety treatment in South Florida progresses you will learn about your individual triggers for social anxiety, such as meeting new people, public speaking, taking an exam, or being the center of attention.  During social anxiety treatment in South Florida you will also learn how these triggers affect you and how to recognize your personal “red flags.”  In social anxiety treatment in South Florida your Proliance therapist will help you to recognize the emotional, physical, and behavioral symptoms of social anxiety as well as the unhelpful thinking styles you have relied on thus far to manage your symptoms.

During social anxiety treatment in South Florida, in addition to the established relationship with your therapist, a combination of therapies is common.  These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques, relaxation skills and self-confidence building as the most effective way to treat social anxiety, or social phobia.  Patients at Proliance Center undergoing social anxiety treatment in South Florida also have the option of combining therapy with medication management to help alleviate their anxiety as they learn to gain control over their symptoms.

If you have been experiencing social anxiety and have questions about how social anxiety treatment in South Florida can help, feel free contact Proliance Center to talk to one of our experienced therapists!

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