How can I help my Social Anxiety?
Im going to a new school in a new state where i no nobody but my cousin..who i probably wont be in the same grade as..im scared out of my mind..i already feel the anxiety in me right now just thinking about it..is there any breathing excercises i can do? Different ways of thinking? Tips?
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
I'll give you my advice on facing social anxiety, and have some general anxiety tips that will follow.
In case someone recommends this solution: I think pills are a poor answer to shyness - antidepressants turn out they are probably just placebo treatment anyhow (google antidepressants placebo kirsch) and the drug companies jiggered the data to make it LOOK like their pills help stuff. Benzos are a bad deal, because they are incredibly addictive, only work for awhile, then you get a lot of tolerance to them, and again, you go thru withdrawal that can be really awful. they also cause memory problems, which is a problem especially if you are a student.
social anxiety is really just shyness. The term social anxiety disorder used to be reserved for people with the most severe problems. After the drug companies marketed their antidepressants for this problem, the definition expanded, so now people who are just shy are taking pills for something folks used to LEARN how to deal with.
My teachers thought I was mentally retarded in first grade, and again in 4th grade, because I never spoke. So you can conclude I was pretty darned shy. Here's what I did to overcome shyness. I did a couple of plays in junior high school, debate and speech in high school, lectored at my very large catholic church in college, and ran a club of 200 people where I regularly had to get up in front of about 50 people at monthly meetings. I coached debate. I went to graduate school and was a TA for labs of about 20 students. I faked it until I made it - people can't tell I'm shy anymore, and in fact, I am much less shy.
So find some activities where you have to FORCE yourself to speak up, and then DO it, no matter how afraid you are. Truth is, most people are terrified of speaking up in groups. I was a high school debate coach - most of those kids of mine were terrified!!
Also do some confidence building things. For me, a HUGE
confidence builder was camping out under the stars in Minnesota in January - it was 20 below zero F. I froze my buns off & didn't get a lot of sleep, but hey! I did it! I feel like if I could do that, i could do anything. Competitive extracurriculars are big confidence builders too.
"social anxiety" is a kind of phobia - and there are 2 ways to deal with a phobia - gradual desensitization, where you gradually expose yourself to more and more intense situations, but start off easy, or "flooding" where you jump right in with both feet, which is what I did. You can only be terrified for an hour or two, then you run out of adrenaline and calm down quite a bit.
all the best to you! You have to screw up your courage and face your fear - that is what a phobia is, when a person avoids the situation or object that they are afraid of. COURAGE - that's the ticket, and then it will get easier as you keep practicing. It's ok to be afraid.
I recommend that people see a therapist, not a doctor, for anxiety issues. Therapy can cure or reduce anxiety disorders permanently, whereas medications can only reduce anxiety temporarily and are not very good.**It takes consistent effort over time to change destructive thinking patterns.** There are NO good quick fixes for anxiety.
Antidepressants are commonly prescribed, but it turns out they are primarily placebo treatments, at least for depression. For each new drug, the drug companies would run a dozen studies to get two showing their drugs were a bit better than placebo and submit those studies to the FDA or other regulatory body (non-US). The other 10 studies wouldn't be published, and they showed the drugs didn't help or made it worse. (google "antidepressants placebo kirsch") I'm sure if you look into it, you will find the antidepressants are acting as placebo in anxiety treatment, also. Also, most antidepressants will wreck your sex life, and in rare cases, it may be permanent. Most people won't stay on the drugs long term because it's so upsetting but then some or many people get severe withdrawal symptoms that are worse than the original depression and/or anxiety.
Benzos work only for a few weeks to months, and you get increasing tolerance to them, until the dosage can't be upped anymore. Then you are worse off than before, because you get rebound anxiety when you try to stop, often worse than the original anxiety. They are well known to cause addiction problems.
Generic anxiety tips (print them out):
Try turning the heat up in the house or dressing more warmly. It is hard to feel anxiety when you are too warm Hot baths work, and at work/school, you can try running hot water over your hands.
Avoid caffeine; it increases anxiety. Also, some cold remedies & other drugs can cause anxiety. Look for the "agitation in children" warning on the box. Adults can get problems too. Antidepressants can cause agitation and panic attacks. Birth control, blood pressure, acne, sleeping pills, antipsychotics & others often cause depression.
Try meditation tapes like progressive muscle relaxation or guided imagery. Try The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook (library?) There are guided imageries in there, you could make a recording or get a friend to do it. I read mine into the computer using a program called Audacity (free) and digitally altered my voice so it doesn't bug me. Free 15 minute guided imagery download at healthjourneys.com.
Go out with friends, and if you don't have any, find a club to join and MAKE yourself go until you look forward to it. Laughing helps reduce anxiety.
Exercise at least 1/2 hour a day, and anytime you feel really anxious or depressed -research shows it is effective for most people. Don't do it right before bed, though.
"Sleep hygiene" tips: Go to bed and get up about the same time each day, even weekends. Don't use your bedroom to watch TV and read and use the computer -just use the room as a bedroom Don't do stuff that pumps you up right before bed, like exercising and using the computer. Wind down, instead - take a bath ? The light from the computer screen or TV wakes you up if you use them right before bed. Bluish light is the big offender – try using dim old fashioned incadenscent bulbs right before bedtime. Make the bedroom really dark, even cover up the clock display. Use a noise generator (makes wave sounds etc.) to cover up disturbing sounds. Try soundsleeping.com for free relaxing sounds downloads. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
Put colorful happy things around the house, and let the sun in. Make a list of things that make you happy. Part of my list: Bread fresh from the oven, fireworks popping on a warm summer evening, the first fireflies of the season, the crisp sound of a saltine cracker breaking, fresh sheets on the bed, flicking a topwater plug out onto the still surface of a summer lake, etc. Use all your senses and read that list when you are breaking down. I also use comforting scents, like Jergen's lotion, vanilla or cloves.
Work on time management if overwhelmed. Cut back on other responsibilities temporarily so you can spend more restorative time with friends and family. ASK for help. If there are people or situations that stress you , identify them and reduce them as much as possible.
Learn to breathe. Put your hand on your belly. Now breathe deep, and feel your belly move up & down. That is the right way to breathe. You are probably breathing up in your chest area, instead, and that makes you more anxious. Now breathe slowly. Do a mantra in your head innnnnn ouuuuut innnnnn ouuuuut while slowly breathing. Focus on whatever 2 words you want as you breathe slowly.
are you catastrophising, always thinking of the WORST thing that could happen? Try to catch yourself doing this, then change your thinking to, what is the MOST LIKELY thing to happen – hardly ever is the worst going to happen.
Try free computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at moodgym.anu.edu.au. Computerized therapy appears to be almost as effective as counseling, research shows.
All the best!!
- 4 years ago
You sound just like me, lol So I know how you feel. I don't know old you are, but if your still in high school or college, you should try to find a group of people that you feel comfortable with. Some ways to do that is when you are at a party or new class, etc, look for the people who are also on the outside of the group and look kinda nervous like you do. It may turn out that they're actually really nice people and have the same insecurities as you, so you may not feel as nervous around them. As for always replaying what you said or did, try this: Allow yourself to think about what you said or did only once during the moment you said/did those things, and again at night, before you fall asleep. By allowing yourself to repeat past scenarios over and over, it could develop into OCD and make it worse. So starting now, limit yourself to rethinking/replaying to only two times a day. If this doesn't help, you should join a support group for people with similar problems as you. There you can learn some tips on how to cope with it and also mean new people who are understanding of your problems.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Go to: http://ecouch.anu.edu.au/welcome Select "social anxiety" for free Cognitive Behavio(u)ral Therapy. An exercise which may help you is called "Act as If." When you are in a social situation, act as if you are outgoing. Talk more; smile at people, ask questions, speak in a normal or excited tone, not a meek tone. Watch some of your more outgoing peers, and imitate the style of their social behavior. (PRETEND that you are an ACTOR, PLAYING a PART). Research shows that when you "act as if" continually, your image of yourself begins to conform to your new behavior. In this case, you will gain self-esteem and self-confidence, and begin to see yourself as socially normal, not shy. You will become more socially successful, and this will motivate you to continue your new social behavior until it becomes a habit. A form of therapy is to go somewhere that nobody knows you, and deliberately make an utter fool of yourself: put on a paper hat, and yell out: "I'm queen/king of America!", or something else ridiculous, (make up your own - have some fun, safely) then get back in the taxi, (warn the driver of your intentions, first) or car, and leave. People will point, and say: "Look at that idiot". Or, possibly in the company of a friend, or family member, on a different train, or bus route to your regular one, call out the names, or numbers of all the stops. It will teach you that, although it isn't actually pleasant, (EXPECT MODERATE DISCOMFORT/EMBARRASSMENT) you will survive; be stronger for the experience, and the next time (should you need to repeat this type of therapy) will be considerably easier. Remember: "A fear avoided is a fear strengthened; a fear faced is a fear reduced." Regard it as your final test: once you have accomplished it, the barrier will be broken; just don't go too far, the other way! Learn to laugh at yourself, and give a big, cheesy grin when others see you do something foolish, as we all do, occasionally. It is endearing, if you don't do it too often. Use positive affirmations: for example: "I am very likable and other people feel comfortable around me".
Write down all of your self limiting beliefs; then write down, or print, in large type/capitalisation, the positive counter of them, (exact opposite) and repeat them and imprint them into your mind. Put it in a prominent position, where you will see it regularly. Most importantly: Force yourself to approach somebody and initiate some sort of communication. Start out small by asking the time, or directions and gradually go bigger. Although there are anti-anxiety medications (anxiolytics) available, these come with risks, and the possibility of side effects, habituation, even addiction, and withdrawal problems, and are unsuitable for young people. Try having a cup of "Tension Tamer", etc., or make some at home, and cool, then bottle, and drink as needed. C(h)amomile tea tastes better. As with all herbal/green teas, use lemon/lime, and/or a little sweetener (NOT ARTIFICIAL!!!) but no cream, or milk. Xylitol, or Stevia is preferable, from health food stores. Valerian has also been recommended, but some people experience "valerian hangovers". Ensure you know how you react to it, before doing something potentially dangerous, like going out on the roads. The idea is to use the above products like water wings, to provide initial, short term support, while you become proficient in those techniques. Use a relaxation method daily, like http://www.drcoxconsulting.com/managing-stress.htm... or http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/mindbody/a/Meditat... or http://www.wikihow.com Meditate or Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or yoga. Give the EFT a good tryout, to see if it helps you. It is free via the searchbar at www.mercola.com "EFT" & "EFT therapists" or www.tapping.com (13 free videos). Professional is best. - There is a version for use in public places, (if you want to, you can claim to have a headache, as you massage/lightly tap your temples, but you would then be restricted to subvocalising: saying it to yourself in your mind: "Even though I suffer from social anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself."Source(s): Read: Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness: A Self-Help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Gillian Butler, & Managing Social Anxiety: A Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Approach Client Workbook (Treatments That Work) by Debra A. Hope, Richard G. Heimberg, Harlan A. Juster, and Cynthia L. Turk. 85% of people are suggestible, to some degree, so you could either seek professional hypnotherapy, or more along such lines is at http://your-mental-health.weebly.com/e.html about social anxiety. At Amazon.com enter "social anxiety; CD, & VHS" See www.wikihow.com SURVIVING MIDDLE (then high) SCHOOL, & BEING POPULAR & SOCIAL ANXIETY. Those with $: up to 6 months of CBT, and group therapy with similar sufferers is recommended.
- Anonymous4 years ago
I am single mum. I have been suffering for panic attacks for some 15 years now, though it was not until recently I understood what they were. They were progressively getting stronger and more frequent, stopping me from some days even leaving my house. I read this book and it all made perfect sense.
I am not saying I was not terrified of putting theory to action, I was more scared of that than the next attack! But I decided to view it as a game, one I had control of and could therefore not lose!Source(s): https://bitly.im/aNCH4
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- CindyLv 41 decade ago
I actually think its fun starting at a new place. Actually a lot of people will be interested in you and to hear about where you came from and what its like over there, which is a good conversation starter. Take deep breaths, inhale exhale. you'll be fine.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
The answer is simple. Just realize that when you feel anxiety you will overestimate the dangers you face. Thinking like this will compensate or neutralize your anxiety.