someone who has personally suffered with severe Social
Anxiety, I went through several phases of learning
how to deal with it and eventually overcome it: denial, hiding
it, being ashamed of it, and finally, seeking help and learning
to accept and working through it.
thing that really helped me was reading about someone famous
that I admired who admitted they had Social Anxiety and even
laughed about it!
the time, I felt deeply ashamed of my anxiety around people,
and it really amazed me that this person could be so light-hearted
about it. He spoke about his social problems very openly,
as if he were admitting that he had diabetes, or some other
very common condition.
thought about this for a long time and it began to make me
feel much better about my situation. So, cautiously at first,
I began to tell my closest friends and relatives about my
You don't want to do this in an apologetic way or asking asking
for sympathy(because that's not helpful at all), but in a
very matter-of fact way: "Oh, by the way, did you know
I have social anxiety?"
the most part, my loved ones and close friends were extremely
understanding about the whole issue and offered to help with
my social anxiety anyway they could.
relief I felt was unbelievable, like a large stone had just
been lifted from my shoulders. I was REALLY beginning to make
learned much about how to help social anxiety problems since
that time, and probably the most important thing is this:
Social Anxiety is ENTIRELY about feeling "overwhelmed."
feeling of being overwhelmed is what pushes people into limiting
their life to a greater and greater extent, until they find
themselves living in a very small world indeed.
it doesn't have to stay that way. Understanding that Social
Anxiety is REALLY all about feeling overwhelmed can help you
to gradually begin making changes to eliminate it.
simple plan of action to help with social anxiety...
Accept the situation and DO NOT feel bad about it at all
(again, see the article above). "Beating yourself up"
because you're having social anxiety doesn't help you develop
the state of mind needed to overcome it.
Begin putting your self in social situations for VERY SHORT
periods of time. This is extremely important, because
when you do this, YOU are limiting YOURSELF, instead of having
your anxiety limit you. In other words, you are taking back
control over the situation, and are not reacting, like a victim
Talk to those who are very close to you and might
be affected by this, and let them know what you are doing
to help the situation and exactly why you are doing it. Remember
to be UNAPOLOGETIC about explaining your social anxiety to
them. There is nothing to apologize for! Be very matter-of-fact
Keep your social interactions very brief at first.
If 5 minutes is all you are comfortable with, then do 5 minutes
and feel perfectly fine about that. Even if 1minutes is all
you can do, that's just fine. Remember, YOU are in control,
and YOU are placing the limits--not anything outside of you.
begin to increase the time you spend in social interactions.
BUT...do this very gradually. Don't push it! Even if you increase
by a few minutes every month, that is better than letting
yourself get overwhelmed in a situation.
Remember this phrase, "Nothing succeeds like success."
This means that success builds momentum and leads to greater
success. This is particularly true with social anxiety.
is very important that you continue to have good social interactions
that do not overwhelm you. It does NOT matter how long the
interaction is; all the matters is that you get through it
without any strong negative feelings. It doesn't help to push
yourself too hard in social situations. And you don't have