How to Overcome Social Anxiety Fast
Just the thought of standing in front of a group of colleagues and giving a presentation can stoke feelings of insecurity and anxiety. This is a normal response to the thought of being singularly observed and evaluated by people. Do you know anyone who relishes the idea of standing alone on a stage and hearing themselves speak to a room full of faces staring intently at them? Fear of speaking to a group probably began back in school when mandated to address the class by reciting a poem or giving an oral report. Everyone is at least a little shy in those situations, and that is perfectly normal.
Social Anxiety Disorder, on the other hand, occupies the severe end of the “shy” spectrum. When one struggles with social anxiety disorder the level of avoidance used as a coping mechanism can seriously thwart relationships, career advancement, and personal growth. This isn’t just a matter of being a bit shy in social situations; this is about isolating behaviors that can cripple all aspects of life. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, approximately 15 million U.S. adults suffer form social anxiety disorder. When it becomes apparent that the disorder is having serious repercussions in one’s life, learning how to overcome social anxiety fast can be a great way to get a quick grip on it.
What Are the Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder?
Someone who struggles with social anxiety disorder will likely suffer with elevated stress levels throughout their days. An overriding concern about how other people are judging them, evaluating their performance, or harshly criticizing their appearance causes the individual to withdraw socially. At work they may keep to themselves and rarely volunteer for any activity or role that would draw attention to them, as they do not want to stand out. In social situations, which they fervently avoid when possible, they may stand off in a corner with arms crossed or tightly grasping their drink, avoiding eye contact or small talk with fear of being rejected. People with social anxiety are prone to abusing alcohol as a tool to help them relax when having to participate in an inescapable social situation.
The symptoms of social anxiety disorder may include:
- Excessive fear of being judged by others
- Stomach upset and nausea
- Extreme symptoms of anxiety when anticipating an event
- Shortness of breath
- Irrational fear of being humiliated in front of others
- Blushing easily
- Feeling faint
- Feeling dizzy
4 Tips For How to Overcome Social Anxiety Fast
When aiming to learn how to overcome social anxiety fast, there are some tactics to access that can speed up the process. They include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). A highly effective therapeutic method for treating social anxiety disorder is CBT. A licensed therapist will help you identify how fear of rejection or of being evaluated in specific situations leads to an automatic coping response of avoidance. The irrational thoughts about being harshly judged lead to the safety behaviors. The CBT therapist will guide you toward confronting the coping behaviors and eventually replacing them with assertive behaviors to be accessed in each anxiety-provoking situation. The client practices these new responses and eventually they become habit.
- Create a Hierarchy. Make a list of situations that spark social fears, from the least worrisome to the most severe. Address the least fearful situation with exposure to it. Do this exercise as often as needed until you can enter that situation more calmly. Say it is fear of sitting in the lunch-room at work. Day one you enter the room and grab a cup of coffee and exit. Day two you enter the room, say hello to a coworker, grab the coffee and exit. Day three you enter the room, say hello, and make a short comment about the weather or something. Eventually, through exposure, you will be more comfortable actually sitting down and having lunch there. Work up the ladder using exposure to one situation at a time until you can feel more assured and confident in a variety of situations.
- Make a Plan. Knowing that a given situation will be anxiety-provoking, anticipate in advance your responses. For example, if you have to attend a mandatory work event and fear having to shake hands and chit-chat with colleagues and strangers, practice the steps in advance. Get in front of a mirror and practice making eye contact, smiling, shaking a hand, offering a nice compliment. Do this repeatedly prior to the event so it will feel more natural in real time.
- Guided Imagery. Imagine the upcoming situation that stokes feelings of dread and anxiety, and walk yourself through the various stages of the upcoming interaction involved. In your mind’s eye, see yourself extending your hand and saying hello. See yourself making eye contact. Imagine each person you will see there as someone interesting to know, and look forward to meeting them. See yourself as an interesting person too, who people would like to know and learn from.
The Treatment Specialist Locates Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorder
The Treatment Specialist offers free assistance for locating an inpatient or outpatient social anxiety treatment program customized specifically for your particular needs. When wondering how to overcome social anxiety fast there are programs that use CBT, a short-term therapy that helps you assertively conquer this disorder. For more information about finding a treatment program for social anxiety, contact the helpful and compassionate specialists today at (866) 644-7911.