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Anxiety and Stress This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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don't know what to do about it. - April 21st 2020, 04:46 PM

Hello person,

I'll cut to the chase, how do you deal with social anxiety? I've been struggling with it for a while and I'm not sure what to do.

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Re: don't know what to do about it. - May 1st 2020, 09:27 PM

Hey David,

Is there anything in particular about social anxiety that you might want help with? Social anxiety, in general, can be tricky to deal with but it is treatable!

Firstly, it's important to remember that thoughts aren't facts. When we are anxious in social situations, we may worry about people judging us or what others think, but we don't know for sure whether people are judging us- chances are they may be more absorbed in their own thoughts and worries than judging us. And if anyone is judging us, then they shouldn't treat us any differently, and if they do, that's on them, not you.

It's also really important to not avoid social situations, even though you might be anxious. When we avoid, we can end up in a vicious circle of anxiety, followed by avoidance, followed by more anxiety if we have to go into a similar social situation. It can help to slowly ease yourself into situations that may cause anxiety. For example, if you struggle going to the shops, maybe see if someone can go with you for a while until you feel less anxious and can go by yourself.

Anxiety can also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as breathing faster and 'butterflies' in the stomach. It's good, in general, to practice managing your breathing for example, deep breathing exercises might include breathing in deeply for 3 seconds, holding for 3 seconds, and out for 3 seconds. It's good to practice this when you calm so that when you feel the anxiety starting to build up, you can then use breathing exercises to help calm you and relax you, which in turn may help lower the physical symptoms of anxiety.

There are plenty of deep breathing and mindfulness exercises online that you could try, as well as self-help (look for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)) that may help. You might also want to get in touch with a counsellor to help you manage and overcome social anxiety. And you are more than welcome to continue using TeenHelp, if you feel it helps you!


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Re: don't know what to do about it. - May 2nd 2020, 06:47 AM

Hi there,

Thanks for reaching out! Social anxiety can be really distressing, but luckily there are ways we can deal with it.

First of all, remember that we have the power to rise above our thoughts. One thing you can start off doing is altering your train of your thoughts. If you are experiencing some negative thoughts about yourself, e.g. "I'm going to be judged by everyone for what I'm wearing," try thinking "I can wear whatever I want, people can judge me for all I care!" If you are worried about having to attend a function, for example, tell yourself "I'm gonna prove to myself that I can have a good time there!" This is easier said that done, of course, and it takes a lot of practice. But we have so many opportunities on a day-to-day basis to challenge the very thoughts that are giving us this social anxiety in the first place.

Another thing that might help is telling yourself that people aren't perfect. If you're worried about being judged, for example, just remember that the people judging you aren't perfect themselves. Nobody is! Similarly, if your anxiety is about appearing nervous or fumbling in front of others - remember, who doesn't get nervous?

Also, one of the best ways of dealing with social anxiety is to not run away from it. I can understand avoiding as many occasions of interactions as possible (I've been there too), but social interactions are inevitable. Humans have evolved as social creatures - from time immemorial, we have lived in communities as part of bigger civilisations. As much as we prefer not to interact with people sometimes, it is inevitable. But that doesn't mean we have to put up with feeling anxious all the time, does it? So, facing our fears is probably one of the most effective ways to deal with it.

For example, I have had telephone anxiety for as long as I can remember - I would do anything to avoid having to call someone or being called. When I was doing an internship at a hospital last year, I was required to call 150+ patients for a research study. It was a crazy experience, but when I was put in that spot, it gave me the chance to face my anxiety head-on.

Start small - for example, try joining a new hobby class or enrolling in a course where you get to meet like-minded people. If you have a family function coming up, challenge yourself to go for it - after all, it's just gonna be for a few hours! If you're in college, go for an event/workshop you might have otherwise tried to avoid. Our smartphones have become a way for us to avoid people even if we physically attend an event, so if you want to really overcome social anxiety, it might be a good idea to put your phone aside and try to out there and mingle with people. Yes, you might still feel socially anxious the first few times, but tell yourself "Good job on challenging yourself today!" after every event, and eventually it'll become more manageable.

Finally, remember that human interactions can sometimes prove really valuable! Many people have landed their dream job just because they attended that conference. Many have meet their future significant other because they went to that family function. And more commonly, many have met new friends through social interactions! While social anxiety is a real, even debilitating case, remember that we are more powerful than it will ever be.

This link might be helpful: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/a...y-disorder.htm

Take care and PM me know if you have any questions!

   
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Re: don't know what to do about it. - May 2nd 2020, 10:33 AM

Hi there!
I sufffer from anxiety as well.
You're welcome to send me a PM!
I'm better at answering questions

Huug.





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