Got Social Anxiety? Try This Unexpected Treatment (It’s Free!)

Written by Pamela Wagner

Written by Pamela Wagner

@pamelawagnerofficial

Social anxiety is a term that has been used more and more in the past years. The search volume is highest for those between the ages of 18-24, which comes of no surprise. Growing up with long hours facing smartphones gives little space for human interaction. While being ‘digital’ comes naturally to them, practicing in-person conversations becomes more and more difficult. As a result, many have, unfortunately, not learnt how to navigate social interactions and fear them as a lack thereof.

A man looking down.

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However, what do you do when seemingly just talking to someone makes you cringe? 

What to do when a conflict shows up and instead of facing it, you just end up keeping all the emotions and feelings inside of you?

What to do when you’re putting off having a partner because you’re afraid of dating situations and how others may perceive you?

A women huddled up on the couch

Being scared of something and not knowing what to do can be scary in itself. There are so many unknowns. And, how can you teach your mind that it will all just be fine and that you’re safe when it’s hard to control it at the moment?

Let’s say you got a family gathering or business socializing event coming up, but you’re dreading going to it. Even more, you’re worried about it and it already produces stress in you when you just think about it. Your social anxiety kicks in. And, not just that, but you already know that you’re at a disadvantage: people with social anxiety tend to have fewer friends, get married less often, and have a higher tendency to be unemployed. In a nutshell, whatever could help you, you’re just stressed out by it. So, it’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to escape from. (Eng et al., 2005)

Luckily, some scientists have figured out an answer.

Kindness.

When we engage in acts of kindness, we’ll feel happier and it boosts our overall feeling of contentment. 

Feel sad? Do something good for someone else. 

Feel disappointed? Do something good for someone else.

Just had a fight? Do something good for someone else.

By making someone else happy, we automatically lift ourselves up.

A man and women holding hands.

Alden and Trew (2013) focused on looking at social anxiety and methods to help people deal better with it. They found that, when engaging in kind acts (e.g. giving compliments, taking others out for dinner, doing household chores) FOR others, their relationship satisfaction and positive affect increased significantly. 

Of course, there are all kinds of activities that people suggest you do to counter that feeling…like writing a gratitude journal and expressing your gratitude to someone else, savoring positive life experiences, or working to achieve personal goals. However, their effectiveness is usually dependent on your own motivation to actually do these things. When you’re overwhelmed by social anxiety, that motivation is often hard to find, so it is likely that these activities might not yield the desired results.

A person petting a puppy

How often should you engage in these acts of kindness?

Next time you feel anxious, try walking a granny across the street, holding the door for a stranger or help your neighbor bring in groceries. Even petting a person’s dog and letting them know how cute it is will definitely make everyone’s day better and in return lower your anxiety levels. Researchers suggest at least 3 acts of kindness on a minimum of 2 days per week increase positive affect. But, there are certainly more opportunities in a day, which you’ll notice once you start practicing it. The best thing is – the more you do them, the more relaxed you’ll be.

Sources:

Eng, W., Coles, M. E., Heimberg, R. G., & Safran, S. A. (2005). Domains of life satisfaction in social anxiety disorder: Relation to symptoms and response to cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 143–156. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2004.01.007

If It Makes You Happy: Engaging in Kind Acts Increases Positive Affect in Socially Anxious Individuals. Lynn E. Alden and Jennifer L. Trew (2013)

Are you ready to hustle less and start living more?

However, what do you do when seemingly just talking to someone makes you cringe? 

What to do when a conflict shows up and instead of facing it, you just end up keeping all the emotions and feelings inside of you?

What to do when you’re putting off having a partner because you’re afraid of dating situations and how others may perceive you?

A women huddled up on the couch

Being scared of something and not knowing what to do can be scary in itself. There are so many unknowns. And, how can you teach your mind that it will all just be fine and that you’re safe when it’s hard to control it at the moment?

Let’s say you got a family gathering or business socializing event coming up, but you’re dreading going to it. Even more, you’re worried about it and it already produces stress in you when you just think about it. Your social anxiety kicks in. And, not just that, but you already know that you’re at a disadvantage: people with social anxiety tend to have fewer friends, get married less often, and have a higher tendency to be unemployed. In a nutshell, whatever could help you, you’re just stressed out by it. So, it’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to escape from. (Eng et al., 2005)

Luckily, some scientists have figured out an answer.

Kindness.

When we engage in acts of kindness, we’ll feel happier and it boosts our overall feeling of contentment. 

Feel sad? Do something good for someone else. 

Feel disappointed? Do something good for someone else.

Just had a fight? Do something good for someone else.

By making someone else happy, we automatically lift ourselves up.

A man and women holding hands.

Alden and Trew (2013) focused on looking at social anxiety and methods to help people deal better with it. They found that, when engaging in kind acts (e.g. giving compliments, taking others out for dinner, doing household chores) FOR others, their relationship satisfaction and positive affect increased significantly. 

Of course, there are all kinds of activities that people suggest you do to counter that feeling…like writing a gratitude journal and expressing your gratitude to someone else, savoring positive life experiences, or working to achieve personal goals. However, their effectiveness is usually dependent on your own motivation to actually do these things. When you’re overwhelmed by social anxiety, that motivation is often hard to find, so it is likely that these activities might not yield the desired results.

A person petting a puppy

How often should you engage in these acts of kindness?

Next time you feel anxious, try walking a granny across the street, holding the door for a stranger or help your neighbor bring in groceries. Even petting a person’s dog and letting them know how cute it is will definitely make everyone’s day better and in return lower your anxiety levels. Researchers suggest at least 3 acts of kindness on a minimum of 2 days per week increase positive affect. But, there are certainly more opportunities in a day, which you’ll notice once you start practicing it. The best thing is – the more you do them, the more relaxed you’ll be.

Sources:

Eng, W., Coles, M. E., Heimberg, R. G., & Safran, S. A. (2005). Domains of life satisfaction in social anxiety disorder: Relation to symptoms and response to cognitive-behavioral therapy. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19, 143–156. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2004.01.007

If It Makes You Happy: Engaging in Kind Acts Increases Positive Affect in Socially Anxious Individuals. Lynn E. Alden and Jennifer L. Trew (2013)

Are you ready to hustle less and start living more?

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

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Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

Hi, I'm Pamela, the face of Hustle Less & Live More!

I have trained and coached hundreds of people on personal development all over the globe – from Jamaica, the USA, to hosting workshops while being on a ship on the Atlantic ocean, all the way to Uganda, Austria, Ghana, the UAE, Pakistan, Singapore, and many more.

I am a go-getter, dream achiever, a true role model for behavior change, and I'm here to help you become the same.

Find me on:

Find me on:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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