Do you feel a sense of dread descend whenever you are placed in an unfamiliar social situation? Are you always worried about what people are thinking or saying about you? You are not alone. As many as 7% of Americans at any one time suffer from social anxiety, undermining their ability to get ahead at work, form relationships, and lead a satisfying life. The good news is that social anxiety is not a life sentence. Effective therapy can give you the freedom to approach social interactions in a new way and live the life you want.
The signs of social anxiety
People with social anxiety often find themselves alone and isolated, but they are not ‘loners’. They have the same desire for social interaction and human connection as others, but are held back by feelings of nervousness and anxiety. While every case of social anxiety is unique, the common theme is feelings of anxiety that prevent you from engaging in social activity which you would otherwise want to engage in. The most types of situation that most frequently provoke social anxiety are meeting new people, being the center of attention, or interacting with people in positions of authority.
Symptoms of social anxiety vary from person to person, but often include acute feelings of embarrassment, sweating, heightened heart rate, and an inability to make eye contact. Since everyone feels nervous from time to time, it’s not always easy to know where to draw the line between normal jitters and true social anxiety. If you experience these symptoms frequently and they are preventing you from achieving your goals in life, then you should consult a professional.
Therapy for social anxiety
Social anxiety if left untreated can be crippling, but evidence-based therapy has been shown to work. Effective therapy works by helping you challenge the negative ‘automatic thoughts’ that hit you when placed in social situations.
Your brain produces emotions and feelings for a reason: to help you thrive and navigate life’s challenges and opportunities. Sometimes, however, the brain’s responses to stimuli become skewed, producing emotions that demoralize and hold you back. In therapy, we will work together to identify the precise triggers that produce excessive feelings of anxiety and give you the tools you need to think in a different, more healthy way.
As you progress in therapy, you will gradually notice that the new thought process you learn to implement during your sessions will become more and more natural in your daily social interaction. The freedom you gain will allow you to approach formerly overwhelming situations with confidence and poise.
Reach out today
For help with social anxiety in Overland Park, KS get in touch with Caryn Hess, LPC today. You can reach her by phone or by filling out the contact form.