• Research suggests that people who struggle with social anxiety aren’t as successful at school or work as their non-socially-anxious peers. (MOODBOARD)
If you live with social anxiety, simply turning up to school, work and parties might feel intensely challenging. Here are five ways to help you manage the condition.
By
Science of Us editors

Source:
Science of Us
10 Feb 2017 - 12:53 PM  UPDATED 10 Feb 2017 - 12:56 PM

Life is rough for the socially anxious. Research suggests that people who struggle with social anxiety aren’t as successful at school or work as their non-socially-anxious peers, and they also (not surprisingly) tend to have fewer friends. Here are five ways to help you overcome social anxiety.

1. Do good deeds for others

Social psychologists at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University recently found that when socially anxious people were encouraged to perform little acts of kindness — doing a roommate’s dishes, mowing a neighbor’s lawn — they reported less daily social anxiety one month after starting the little experiment in niceness, when compared to others who did not undertake the doing-good-deeds assignment.

2. Learn how to lucid dream

Not many serious scientists are studying dreaming; even fewer are studying lucid dreaming, or the state of being aware you’re dreaming while you’re dreaming. But among those who are, some are putting forth an intriguing new theory — perhaps lucid dreaming could be used as a therapeutic tool to treat anxiety or phobias, a kind of exposure therapy that takes place safely in the subconscious.

I named my anxiety Clive and it changed my life
Carolyn Tate decided to give her anxiety a name, and in the process stumbled upon a way to feel a whole lot better.

3. Experiment with exposure therapy

Scientists are experimenting with exposure therapy as part of an overall cognitive-behavioral therapy approach to treating social anxiety. Think of the most embarrassing, most excruciatingly awkward thing you can imagine happening while you’re out in public. Now imagine actually having to do that thing. Exposure therapy for social anxiety encourages people to stop avoiding their fears, and start running headlong into them.

4. Play a video game

Playing video games is about allowing the player to become someone (or something) else — a hedgehog, a small mustachioed man in overalls, whatever. Some researchers, though, are banking on the fact that the opposite situation — playing with a video-game character exactly like you — may be a powerful therapeutic tool.

5. Use talk therapy

If you give someone a pill for their social-anxiety disorder, they may feel better temporarily; but if you teach them to manage their emotions, they’ll be more functional forever. That’s what talk therapy is all about. Therapists teach their patients to think more about how and what they’re thinking, and analyze their reactions and beliefs to the thoughts that they have. This understanding is key when using talk therapy to overcome anxiety.

This article originally appeared on Science of Us: Article© 2017. All Rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

Psychologists explain your phone anxiety (and how to get over it)
If the thought of calling someone and actually speaking to them on the phone makes you feel all squirmy inside, you’re in good company.
How to overcome exam anxiety
Most people feel anxious when taking an exam, but some students are more likely to suffer from exam anxiety than others. Here's what you can do to cool your end-of-year high school, TAFE or university exam nerves.
This is the time of day when anxiety therapy is most effective
That there’s a simple, low-effort way to make mental-health treatment better, and all it requires is a scheduling tweak.
Why psychologists say anxiety is the ‘shadow’ of intelligence
Instead of fearing your anxiety, why not embrace it? Psychologists believe the worrying voice in your head might actually be an advantageous and functional skill that you can use to plan your future.
Alarming levels of depression and anxiety in parents of preterm babies
A new Australian study reveals that new parents whose babies are born before 30 weeks gestation experience high levels of anxiety and depression, as their very preterm child fights for its survival at birth.