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Ways to conquer phone anxiety
by TeenHelp February 3rd 2019, 01:42 AM

Ways to conquer phone anxiety
By Cassie (cynefin)
What is phone anxiety?


Phone anxiety is when someone struggles
with, or has a fear of making calls, answering them, or leaving a voice mail. While phone anxiety is associated with social anxiety, someone can also have difficulty with using the phone even if they do not have social anxiety.

Symptoms often consist of anxious thoughts such as
: "What will the person on the other end of the line think of me?" or "What if I don't know what to say?" There are also physical symptoms that are similar to a panic attack: sweating, racing heart, or difficulty breathing. Someone who has
phone anxiety may avoid using the phone whenever possible or altogether.

Treatment

Treatments for phone anxiety could include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or exposure therapy. Someone who struggles with phone anxiety may find relief through seeing a professional,; but they can also benefit by working on it by themselves or with a trusted person.


Self-help

Self-help techniques can include practicing with someone, planning what to say, and calming the anxiety.
  • Rehearse the phone call. Someone struggling with anxiety can think about what they want to say and then rehearse it by themselves or with a trusted person. One can talk to themselves to practice as well; talking out loud often enough may make the phone call seem more natural.
  • Make or answer phone calls with friends and family. Try calling someone, or have them call at planned or unplanned times of the day. Going through the motions of a phone call can make it easier to talk to unfamiliar people later on.
  • Plan when to practice or do it spontaneously. Some people benefit from planning their practice while others like to 'strike while the iron is hot'. Practicing with an actual phone call can sometimes be more true to life if it is done unplanned, since people cannot plan when they are going to need to make or answer a call.
  • Visualize making a successful phone call. Getting to a relaxing state of mind visualizing something anxiety provoking can be beneficial for different everyday scenarios. For example, someone can visualize picking up the phone, dialing, having a conversation, and then hanging up the phone. Doing this is similar to meditation or hypnosis.
  • Build up confidence with different calls. It might help to do a tier type of practice. Someone could start with a simple phone call to a family member or friend, then move to someone they are unfamiliar with, and finally call someone they do not know (such as a tech support person or a store).
  • Use rewards. Rewards can be motivating and they also serve as a pat on the back for difficult work. If someone builds up their confidence with different phone calls, they could start with smaller rewards and move on to larger ones.
  • Keep up the hard work! One should continue to work on their phone anxiety to maintain progress. Often, if the work is not continued, the amount of progress can be reduced or eliminated.
Though phone anxiety can be terrifying for many people, it is possible for someone to reduce it when they are ready to work on it. Professional or self-help are both good choices to take the first step.
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