How Bad Is It To Take A Quick-Fix Anxiety Pill Social Anxiety – Eight Mistakes Sufferers Make

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Social Anxiety – Eight Mistakes Sufferers Make

If you suffer from social anxiety, chances are you regularly make at least half of the following mistakes. The good news is that you don’t have to continue them. The first step is to recognize that the following are actually errors, not just aspects of reality. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Experience

Like a cow that experienced – over and over and over – experiencing means turning the same thoughts over and over in your mind. These are usually thoughts about how badly you messed up during the last social interaction. The experience keeps the anxiety in place, making you extra nervous the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

2. Avoiding embarrassing situations

Avoidance perpetuates anxiety. The reason for this is that when you avoid an event you fear, or when you even decide in your mind to avoid it, you get an immediate sense of relief. This feeling of relief acts as reinforcement for avoidance. If you took Psychology 101, you remember that behavior that is reinforced is likely to be repeated. This means that you will continue to use avoidance to deal with the anxiety, and the cycle will continue: fear, avoidance, fear, avoidance, etc.

3. Using alcohol or drugs to get through social interactions

Despite the short-term benefit of treating your immediate anxiety, substance use does nothing to address the underlying problem. Not to mention you might develop an addiction. When you know for sure that you are comfortable after only 2-3 drinks, you are sure to be doubly worried when there is no alcohol available. Anxiety that is treated with drugs of any kind, including prescription drugs, is anxiety that is sure to return as soon as the drug is removed. This is why research shows that drugs alone are not an effective treatment for this condition.

4. You believe you have poor social skills

I know, I know: You absolutely are determined that your social skills are terrible compared to other people’s. Consider for a moment the possibility of being wrong here. The fact that you are so aware of other people and what they think of you means that you have the makings of a very successful socializer. In the group I run for people with social anxiety, I constantly notice the attentiveness, punctuality, and overall pleasantness of these people who are convinced they lack social skills.

5. Assume that others always know what to do

“Other people always seem to know when to hug instead of shake hands,” is an example of this cognitive error. The fact is, many social situations are inherently awkward, and we’re all in the same boat when it comes to figuring out how to navigate them. The difference between someone with social anxiety and someone without it is that the one with social anxiety takes immediate and full responsibility for any discomfort they perceive.

6. Catastrophizing

When you have social anxiety, social mistakes come at a very high cost. Walking down the hall and tripping over others. Eating something messy that gets on your chin. I don’t know what to say in the middle of a conversation. These things happen to everyone, but the person with social anxiety believes that when they happen, other people will judge them harshly and even decide not to like them anymore. These thoughts are so automatic that you may not even realize you’re having them. But consider this: if you believe that one wrong step will bring you censure and dislike, no wonder you are so anxious!

7. Focusing on yourself in the presence of others

The more attention you pay to yourself, the harder it is to listen, concentrate and respond to the people around you. Social anxiety wants you to constantly monitor yourself so you can evaluate your performance. Unfortunately, this very observation is hindering your ability to perform at your best. Being an effective social being means listening and being present with other people. It’s not about saying interesting things or keeping the conversation going. Frankly, it’s tiring for everyone.

8. Don’t ask for help

Social anxiety is a very treatable condition. If you think it is “the way you are”, then you will always be. Left alone, social anxiety tends to have a chronic, lifelong course. Yes, you will find little tricks to cope as you get older, but is it really good for you if your anxiety is still bothering you decades later? How about a year? If you suffer from regular stomach pains, you’ll see a doctor to help you figure out what’s wrong. You don’t have to suffer from anxiety any more than you have to live with physical pain. I seek help. There are many resources out there. Seek anxiety treatment if you can’t find a specific treatment for social anxiety. Luck.

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