Social Anxiety is the most common form of Anxiety. Social Anxiety can be quite cruel in the sense that being sociable is a part of a day to day life. From buying groceries, going to parties or even partaking in interviews can be simple for some, but intensely complex for individuals with anxiety.
This month we wanted to focus on Social Anxiety; what it is and tips on how to overcome it.
Social anxiety refers to the fear of being around people due to the threat of criticism or embarrassment. People who are socially anxious frequently freeze and are unable to seek the very company that would address their anxiety over time. They isolate themselves and are at risk of low mood or agoraphobia. I have a passion for treating this form of anxiety, as I have endured it in the past and overcame it through the integration of CBT into my day to day life.
In an attempt to help individuals with social anxiety, Jessica Leigh uses a signature 3 pronged approach to address anxiety. This is deemed the B.D.A technique (Before, during, after). This targets anxiety from three directions, which often results in avoidance of a panic attack.
Before the event:
List your fears on a piece of paper. Ask yourself what is the worst case scenario, followed by questions below:
· Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?
· Is this thinking helpful or unhelpful?
· What would you say to a friend who had this thought in a similar situation?
· What are the cost and benefits of this thinking?
· Is there another way at looking at this situation?
Most commonly, prior to social situations, individuals with anxiety will catastrophize what will happen and live in the feeling instead of fact. By asking yourself these simple questions, we begin to challenge this negative thinking.
During the event:
Recognize your anxiety.
Do not try to push it away.
Rationalize that you understand why you’re nervous (due to catastrophizing the situation)
Biologically, if you can control your breathing, your anxious symptoms will come down. By breathing in for 8 out for 11 can dramatically slow heart beat to normal levels.
After the event:
Take another piece of paper and answer the following questions:
· Did the worst case scenario come true?
· Was your prediction accurate?
· What positives occurred that you weren’t expecting?
· What did you learn?
By completing this technique at each social event, your mind will start to gather information that in social situations, there is no perceived threat, which will, in turn, lower your anxiety and panic attacks.
For more information on CBT for Social Anxiety, click on the link below for a callback today.
Have a lovely day,