Social Anxiety is more common than you may realise. On the outside, most people appear to be in control and even confident in new social situations, but you will be surprised to find out how many of them are feeling jittery and anxious inside.
They may be feeling afraid of what others think, of rejection, and also terribly nervous about what they will say or how to start a conversation.
As a result, people suffering from Social Anxiety may:
- *Avoid social activities and spend most of their time alone or with people they feel ‘safe’ with.
- *Feel a strong feeling of low self-worth and inadequacy in a large group of people, in meetings or in any public situation, particularly when they don’t know the people well.
- *Feel a huge reluctance towards meeting new people, fearing rejection or making a fool of themselves in some way.
- *Have a general fear of saying or doing the ‘wrong’ thing.
- *Worry excessively about what others will think or say, fearing criticism.
- *Feel socially inept, and possibly inferior to others. They may be sure that ‘everybody’ else has got it ‘all together’ and they are the only ones who feel the way they do.
- *Feel terrified that somehow people will see who they ‘really’ are and realise they are inferior, or a fake, or see how nervous they are.
- *Say they ‘don’t know what to say’ in company.
Social Anxiety is also sometimes referred to as Avoidant Personality Disorder – although I feel this gives it a very negative ‘label’ and makes it seem like some kind of disease which is irreversible!
Social Anxiety can be treated by :
1) Challenging and changing dysfunctional thinking. People with social anxiety tend to have a lot of limiting beliefs, plus an unrealistic view of social standards and of themselves. These need to be corrected by consciously changing the way they think.
2) Learning to understand other people and the way we all think. Nobody is perfect, and we all want to be loved and accepted.
3) Developing self-confidence and self-acceptance is essential for any real permanent result to be achieved.
4) Accepting that thinking and beliefs can be changed.
One of the biggest obstacles people with Social Anxiety face is the ‘secondary gain’ of keeping their anxiety. The sub-conscious mind will try to avoid the treatment, as a way to avoid social interaction. It is essential to consciously overcome this avoidance by committing to action. The sub-conscious only tries to help and doesn’t ‘realise’ that when once healing has been achieved, social events will become pleasurable!
I treat people with social anxiety using a combination of Counselling, CBT, NLP, hypnotherapy and EFT. I also recommend positive affirmations and listening to motivational and self-help audios daily until there is a noticeable shift in the levels of fear around meeting new people.
The mind is a wonderful slave, but a terrible master! In order to be the master of our lives and destinies, we must first become master of our own minds!