You Can Let Go of Your Fears and Overcome Social Anxiety—How?

Posted byCounseling WiseonApril 22, 2019

Social anxiety can be felt with different levels of severity. For some people, it means going to a party but staying in a safe space and not mingling.

For others, social anxiety can be totally crippling. It can reach a point where you suffer from a severe fear of any social interaction or social situations.

Everything from engaging in small talk to eating in front of other people can be triggers for those with social anxiety. As you may expect, it isn’t hard for this problem to take over your life.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to let go of those fears. When you work to overcome social anxiety, experiencing interaction with people can actually be an enjoyable experience again.

Understand Your Triggers

One of the first steps in overcoming your social fears is determining what’s causing them in the first place.

Think about the things you’re most likely to avoid. It could be something like going to a party, using a public bathroom, eating with others, etc.

Make a list of your triggers or things you think might set off your anxiety. You can even give each of them a “value” when it comes to how much anxiety you think they would trigger. This allows you to give yourself a prediction.

So, when you’re actually in these triggering situations, you can then put your predictions of how much anxiety you’ll have to the test. You may be pleasantly surprised.

When you begin to see what the cause of your fear is, you can work toward overcoming those specific situations. Once you’re able to do that, you’ll have a better chance of learning nothing bad will happen in those situations.

Challenge Your Anxiety By Letting Go of Crutches

Many people with social anxiety have “safety” measures they put in place to keep them calm or help them to feel so secure.

However, one action you can take to overcome your fears is to let go of those crutches. In other words, face the issues that make you feel most anxious.

Some of these safety measures are actually harmful and could be damaging. People turn to alcohol or drugs, while others rehearse exactly what they want to say to someone obsessively.

These safety measures might make it easier to get through social events for a while. But, they aren’t letting you really let go of your fears.

Stop Criticizing, Start Rewarding

A big problem people with social anxiety often face is evaluating their “performance” after they’ve been in a social setting. It’s easy to think about what went wrong, where you messed up, how much you humiliated yourself, etc.

Even if none of those things are actually true, a negative evaluation will lead to more anxiety and make it less likely for you to face your fears in the future.

So, drop the performance review. Instead of criticizing yourself after you’ve been in a social situation, reward yourself. After all, you stepped out and faced your fears. Even if everything didn’t go exactly as planned, you showed courage and determination. That deserves to be celebrated.

When you focus on those small victories, you’re choosing to overcome social anxiety one step at a time. That’s the great approach to take when it comes to letting go of your fears for good.

Don’t feel as though you need to overcome social anxiety on your own. The help of a therapist can really make a difference. If you’re struggling to let go of your fears and need more guidance, a professional can offer the encouragement and support you need to face your fears directly, and overcome them with time. Please reach out to me today.

For more information about Anxiety treatment, please take a look at my Anxiety Counseling page.

I’m here to partner with you to transform your life. If you are ready to partner with me to transform your life, please contact me to set up an appointment or for a free 30 – minute phone consultation.

About the Therapist

Gay A. Hunter, M.Div., LPC-S, is a licensed professional counselor who graduated from Brite Divinity School at TCU. She is committed to partner with you to transform your life. She owns a private practice in Fort Worth, TX. She specializes in online therapy. She is trained in Cognitive Processing Therapy for PTSD and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. To find out more about Gay click here