How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps With Social Anxiety!

person hiding on couch under pillows

People drink alcohol for many reasons. For some it’s a way to cope with social anxiety. Since drinking might not be the healthiest choice, I figured there had to be a better way!

As a result of writing that post, I discovered a terrific website called the Social Anxiety Institute and they have a boat-load of information regarding social anxiety disorder SAD.

How does social anxiety differ from general anxiety?

The Social Anxiety Institute describes social anxiety as “the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression.

If a person usually becomes (irrationally) anxious in social situations, but seems better when they are alone, then “social anxiety” may be the problem”.

Very Well Mind states that “People with general anxiety tend to worry about a range of topics. Worries may be about major life issues, such as health or finances”. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a combination of methods, strategies, and techniques that work to help people successfully overcome their particular emotional problems.

The Social Anxiety Institute says that “the behavioral component of CBT involves participation in an active, structured therapy group, consisting of people with clinical social anxiety.

In the behavioral group, people voluntarily engage in practical activities that are mildly anxiety-causing, and proceed in a flexible, steady, scheduled manner.

By moving forward in this manner, step by step, and through the use of repetition, the anxiety felt in social situations is gradually reduced. The behavioral therapy group should consist of people with social anxiety only“.

The social anxiety institute assembles social anxiety groups, along with an anxiety mentor to ensure everything goes smoothly, for engagement in experiments outside the clinic, maybe at a store or mall.

Here are some examples, listed on the Social Anxiety Institute’s website, of exercises that are executed with other social anxiety group members:

    • Go up to a sales person and ask them for directions to another department
    • Go up to a sales person and ask them legitimate questions about their product
    • Ask a worker for help or information
    • Stand for several minutes in front of the condom section, the feminine hygiene section, or read all the small print on the “Depends” box. Do this while others go by you and can see you are doing this.
    • Eat at a food court (and other eating establishments, if appropriate):
    • Everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to one person who gently looks around and notices if she is being watched, judged, and disliked. Monitoring this while being sung to is important. Then, everyone claps loudly for the person and says, “SPEECH!” The experimentee then stands and briefly says something nice to the “crowd” (loud enough so they can hear you.)
    • Eye Contact: Sit, stand, or walk and catch a strangers’ eye for one or two seconds.
    • In a bookstore, start a discussion with another customer who is reading a book (or subject) you know something about. In a sports store, ask some questions of another customer about what they are trying out or looking at.
    • Have yourself “made over” at a department store as people walk by you.
    • Talking from one floor of the mall to another. Yell up at your friend and he yells back to you. (Notice this is a normal thing that people do).
    • In the parking lot of any store, scream, “Hey, Ben, wait for me!” Several people may turn around and look… but if they don’t know you, they will turn back and keep walking. Prove this to yourself. This is especially good for “quieter” people.
    • Ride the up escalator down and the down escalator up. Do this seriously rather than jokingly and do not cause others’ harm. You will be the center of attention. Note if others are mad and critical at you … or not.
    • Skip (dance) around the shopping center fountain on your way out.

Visit the SocialAnxietyInstitute for more details.

If you are suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), you could check around in your area for a therapist or support group.

If these options are unavailable, you could join an online SAD Facebook or Meetup group.

You could also contact places such as 7 Cups of TeaAnxiety and Depression Association of America, or the National Alliance for Mental Illness,

Do YOU suffer from social anxiety disorder?

Please leave a comment!

 

Here is a book that could help, if you suffer from social anxiety disorder.

TOPIC: How Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Helps With Social Anxiety!

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