If you have social anxiety, you likely are struggling with the fact that you need to be social in your day to day life but that your brain is making it very difficult. Your brain might be sending you thoughts like "none of these people will ever like you" or "you are too boring for anyone to ever want to talk to." Not only are these thoughts hyperbolic and untrue, but they are also unhelpful, since they make you less likely to want to go talk to people.
You are likely already in therapy so that you can get help to overcome your social anxiety. Your therapist might suggest exposure therapy, or slowly exposing yourself to situations that you are afraid of so that you can replace your negative memories of such situations with positive ones. Here are some tips for a successful exposure therapy session for social anxiety.
1. Start Short
The first thing that you want to do is figure out a way to do something that has a real time limit, or impose an artificial one. It can be easier to get yourself to do something scary if you tell yourself that you only have to stand the discomfort for five minutes. If you are practicing talking to strangers, have the built-in excuse that you have to go to a meeting that will allow you to gracefully exit the conversation.
2. Try an Activity that Leaves You a Lot to Talk About
Small talk can be really hard for people. If you count yourself as a member of this group, you might want to try an activity for exposure therapy that has built in small talk. It could be taking your dog to the dog park. This is because you can easily ask a million questions about someone's dog, such as how old they are, what type of breed they are, what their name is, if they're a girl or a boy, and how long the person has had the dog. This is enough content for a few minutes of conversation.
3. Bring Comfort
Finally, bring something small that you can keep in your pocket and that makes you feel more comfortable. It could be a piece of jewelry that is especially meaningful to you. It could be a small stuffed animal that you can keep in your purse. Touch it whenever you are feeling stressed to help yourself get through the discomfort.
For more information, talk to a counseling facility like The A Treatment Center that specializes in anxiety therapyShare
5 June 2017
I suffered depression for much of my life, and I lived with it for years before seeking help. I visited a psychiatrist and received an antidepressant prescription along with a referral to a counselor. I filled my prescription, but I put off making an appointment with the counselor. The medication began to help, so I decided that I didn't need to see a counselor after all -- or so I thought at the time. After a couple of months of medication, a close friend of mine died of an illness. I then learned that even though the medication helped my depression, I still had not learned the coping skills I needed to deal with traumatic life experiences. That even motivated me to seek counseling, and it helped me immensely. I created this blog to remind others that medication can help when suffering with depression, but counseling is also extremely important.