How to overcome social anxiety isn’t an easy question to answer.
Not because it cannot be done, but rather it is dependant on the individual.
People with Social Anxiety can have trouble making friends, building their careers and maintaining a relationship, just to name a few.
The best treatment straight off the bat is you see your Doctor to get a referral to a psychologist. From there, it is likely you will begin working on cognitive behavioural therapy.
It’s not as scary as it sounds.
PSYCHOLOGIST VS. PSYCHIATRIST
According to APA.ORG Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders and severe mental illness.
This is the treatment that I started out with when I first started experiencing anxiety and depression symptoms and it has been extremely helpful.
Sometimes, CBT treatment is simply not enough to treat the condition which is when you will likely be referred to a Psychiatrist.
A Psychiatrist specialises in mental health, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems.
A Psychiatrist is also able to prescribe medication to help treat your condition. You will usually work in tandem with your Psychologist providing CBT treatment and follow-ups with your Psychiatrist to make sure the medication is working.
SO HOW DO YOU OVERCOME SOCIAL ANXIETY?
People that suffer with moderate to severe anxiety may feel down a lot of the time. One of the best ways to get over this hurdle is to get yourself out there and do something.
You would be surprised at how beneficial it can be to take your mind off of the worry and focus on something else.
I’m not saying you have to go out to a massive party or anything like that – start small with things like:
- Going for a walk or run
- Hanging out with friends in a casual setting
- Doing something that you enjoy
It can be tempting to avoid social situations because in the short term, it makes us feel better. However in the long run it is detrimental to our mental well-being.
By gradually pushing yourself to do more things to challenge your anxiety, the better you will start to feel in the longer term.
WHEN TO ASK FOR HELP
If you feel like you are in a crisis, it is important that you seek help right away.
This does not mean that you are weak, it means you are courageous to seek help.
When I started experiencing symptoms, I was terrified. Mainly because I didn’t want to take more medication, as I felt it was medication that seemed to had sparked my anxiety to begin with.
I didn’t even know where to begin coping or how to overcome social anxiety.
The truth of the matter now, is that I cannot cope without medication. I need it in order to go about my daily activities without anxiety and depression weighing me down.
If you are not ready to talk to friends or family about it, there are many services that you can reach out to for support including:
- Your GP
- Beyond Blue – Beyond Blue is an Australian mental health and wellbeing support organisation. They provide support programs to address issues related to depression, suicide, anxiety disorders and other related mental illnesses. Get immediate support · Call 1300 22 4636 24 hours / 7 days a week.
- SANE Australia – SANE Australia is a national mental health charity making a real difference in the lives of people affected by complex mental health issues. The Helpline is available on 1800 187 263, Monday-Friday 10am-10pm.
- Lifeline: Lifeline is a non-profit organisation that provides free, 24-hour telephone crisis support service in Australia. Volunteer crisis supporters provide suicide prevention services, mental health support and emotional assistance, not only via telephone but face-to-face and online. You can call 24/7 on 131114.
OTHER WAYS TO OVERCOME SOCIAL ANXIETY
There are many other ways to help you overcome social anxiety.
Some of the ways that I use to cope are:
Keeping a journal
Besides from blogging about my experiences, I also have a journal that a carry around with me all the time.
Keeping a journal can not only help put your worries into words that you can action, but it can also help you reflect on how far you have come.
When I look back at my Journal from November/December 2020 – it is complete chaos.
It is obvious from reading it how scared and anxious I was.
I am a very different person now, sitting here writing this blog and sharing my experience with you. I call that progress.
If I can learn to slowly overcome social anxiety, so can you!
Look, I know. You have probably read this a thousand times before but stay with me. Exercise!
It really does work.
Get the heart rate up and your body will flood with endorphins.
Exercise will not only lift your mood and help you overcome social anxiety, but you will also get you fitter in the process.
Set Small Goals
This is another tip that I found extremely helpful.
Setting small goals to achieve throughout the day can help you feel better about yourself.
- Finishing an important email for work
- Cleaning the kitchen
- Doing your washing
You get the idea.
The point of it? Having a physical list of things to do and crossing them off as an achievement is gratifying and in the long run will help you overcome social anxiety.
Having a list of things to cross off your list will help to lift your mood by seeing what you have accomplished, and as a bonus you will have kept your mind occupied from anxiety.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing distress you can reach out to Beyond Blue: Beyond Blue’s support line is available 24/7.
Lifeline: For crisis support, Lifeline provides a 24/7 line, as well as online resources on a range of issues.