Social anxiety is a very common issue and it’s something I’m seeing more clients for lately. It’s also something I’ve had success in helping clients to overcome.
What is Social Anxiety?
A lot of people are shy and don’t look forward to being involved in social situations but social anxiety is a lot more severe than this. It’s a fear of social activities that can cause intense panic, both during the situation itself and in the time leading up to it.
If you have social anxiety, here are some of the things that may affect you:
- Worrying that you’ll do or say something embarrassing in front of other people and that you’ll look or sound silly
- Worrying that you’re boring and don’t have anything interesting to add to conversations
- Having symptoms such as sweating, shaking, feeling sick, feeling lightheaded, palpitations and a shaky voice in social situations or when you think about them
- Feeling as though you’re being judged by other people in social situations
All of this can make you feel panicky at the prospect of any social situation (including meeting strangers, speaking on the phone and having conversations with people) and I’ve had clients tell me that they try to avoid them as much as possible.
This fear can be linked to a past experience where a social situation caused embarrassment or anxiety and this paved the way for social anxiety. It’s a way for the subconscious mind to try to protect you by not getting involved in a situation where this could happen again.
Another theory is that certain ways of thinking can play a part too. Some of my clients have found that they automatically start thinking about what could go wrong in a social situation and this causes them to panic. Often, they have had negative thought patterns in general and low self esteem.
Most people who have social anxiety don’t want to feel like they do but feel their fears are out of their control. The clients I’ve worked with have been desperate to overcome their fears and not feel that they’re being held back by their social anxiety.
With hypnotherapy for social anxiety, learned behaviours and unhelpful thinking can be challenged and changed so that social situations are no longer a source of great fear and panic.
Here are a few tips on managing social anxiety:
Challenge your thoughts
Do you find yourself making negative predictions before you go into a social situation and trying to second guess what people think of you when you’re there? This causes a massive amount of anxiety and saps your confidence right from the off.
These unhelpful thoughts are what is driving your social anxiety but remember that they aren’t proven facts and can be challenged. Once you start recognizing unhelpful thoughts and unpicking their significance, you can start to get on top of social anxiety.
Hypnotherapy for social anxiety can help you to replace negative, unhelpful thoughts with positive alternatives.
Don’t focus on yourself as much
If you have social anxiety, it’s likely that you’ll spend a lot of time focusing on the physical effects of your fear and this can encourage you to feel self conscious and vulnerable in a social situation. Your anxiety is a lot more obvious to you than it is to other people and most people won’t pick up on it. Focusing on things other than yourself when you’re in social situations can reduce some of the self consciousness you feel.
Avoiding safety behaviours
Avoiding social situations is a common safety behaviour for people with social anxiety but it doesn’t protect you as much as you might think.
Other safety behaviours can include leaving social situations as quickly as you can or staying on the fringes so that you don’t draw attention to yourself.
These actions don’t protect you as much as you may think and in stopping you from proving to yourself that you can cope well in social situations, they just keep social anxiety going.
Gradually breaking free of safety behaviours is a scary but very necessary part of overcoming social anxiety.
Put these tips into action to get the ball rolling and get in touch with me today to discuss how hypnotherapy for social anxiety can help you!