5 Tips to Help with Social Anxiety

In a world fueled by social connections, navigating social situations can be challenging for those dealing with social anxiety. The worry about others’ perceptions and the resulting unease can make it difficult to engage comfortably. This blog post aims to provide five practical tips for overcoming social anxiety and cultivating a more fulfilling social life.

1. Try Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Among the various psychotherapeutic approaches, cognitive-behavioural therapy stands out as a valuable method for addressing social anxiety. This form of therapy involves restructuring thoughts and emotions related to a situation, ultimately leading to behavioural modifications. It is important to recognize thought patterns contributing to social avoidance, such as the anticipation of negative outcomes or fixation on visible signs of anxiety like blushing, sweating, or stammering. The aim is to assist individuals in challenging these expectations and cultivating positive self-talk as opposed to negative self-talk.

2. Gradually Introduce Yourself to Anxiety Inducing Situations: Identify social situations that trigger anxiety and gradually expose yourself to them, starting with easier scenarios and practicing relaxation techniques to help tolerate anxiety. For instance, if you fear large groups, begin by going out one-on-one with a friend and progressively increase the group size. Repeat as needed until you feel more comfortable. Furthermore, consider seeking support from a therapist for situational exposure. Like cognitive behavioural therapy, exposure therapy is a type of treatment a trained psychologist can provide.

3. Practice Public Speaking: For those who have mild-to-moderate social anxiety disorder — for example, maybe it’s not causing you panic attacks — finding ways to practice public speaking is a good approach. Joining groups specifically for the purpose of practicing public speaking and rehearsing is a great way to start. 

4. Be Mindful of Avoidance: Merely attending social events without engaging with others doesn’t truly overcome social anxiety. Be aware of subtle avoidance behaviours, such as keeping busy, focusing on your phone or remaining on the periphery of social interactions. By actively engaging, you address social anxiety and allow for deeper connections to develop.

5. Challenge Negative Thought Patterns: While mishaps may occur and be mildly embarrassing, maintaining perspective is crucial. Everyone makes mistakes, and social errors are likely to occur in front of non-judgmental individuals. Challenging negative thoughts with constructive, positive ones and utilizing realistic thinking can redirect focus away from negativity. Additionally, collaborating with a therapist on these scenarios can provide additional support.



Cleveland Clinic. (November 22, 2021). Need Help Overcoming Social Anxiety? 6 Tips from an Expert. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-overcome-social-anxiety 

Elizabeth Keohan. (February 3, 2022). Talkspace. 13 Effective Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety.  https://www.talkspace.com/blog/how-to-overcome-social-anxiety/