Tips for social anxiety

Here are a few tips which I have used for social anxiety:

1. Behavioural experiments - I have done a few of these as part of my therapy sessions. Behavioural experiments are where you write down what you think will happen and what actually happens. For example, I had to do a behavioural experiment for asking for something in a shop and had to record what happened.

2. Start off small - Always work your way up through your fears of social anxiety; I guess this is a bit like CBT. For example, I used to always wear black, no jewellery or make up so no one would look at me. In order to overcome this, I would start off wearing a piece of jewellery for a week, then work my way to changing the colour of my clothes.

3. What if - often the "what if" is always present in our minds. For example, "What if I stutter when I'm on the phone?" "What happens if I panic?" "They'll think I'm stupid". You've got to remember, that very rarely do people react to this. In fact, my therapist did a survey and found out that if someone did stutter, they wouldn't think them to be stupid. Although it's extremely hard to stop the "what if", we all must try to do so. In reality, what you think will happen, will rarely happen. For example, I did a phone interview with the fear I was going to stutter, and it turns out I didn't.

4. Talking - One thing I've always encouraged you guys to do, is to talk. Please, if you find yourself struggling talk to someone. Often, talking to someone about your social phobia will help you to think clearly. The person may even be willing to help you through the situations that give you social anxiety. Talking to someone with a different point of view, may be beneficial to you.

5. Plan - If you have a fear of talking on the phone, in front of class and so forth you can make a plan of what you're going to say. In this way, you'll have a few sentences to pick from whilst you are talking, which will ultimately calm you down.

Best Wishes,