Social Anxiety on the Rise: Are you affected?
By: Nate Webster, IMH
There’s a growing trend of social anxiety that is leaving many of us feeling lonely and disconnected. Brought on by things like social media, online dating and television, people find themselves more afraid of each other than ever before but also wanting relationships more than ever before. In other words, we’re afraid of relationships but are also dying of loneliness. Whether we realize it or not, we’ve all felt the ripples of social anxiety. If you’re a millennial you might be living with it. If you’re of an older generation, you might have been a victim of it.
Below is a list of a few common behaviors of modern social anxiety to help you gauge where you may be. A quick preface though - the below behaviors are not always caused by social anxiety, but are good indicators that you may be struggling with social anxiety.
Indicators of Social Anxiety:
· People in general feel like a burden and a problem to avoid.
· Talking to a stranger for any reason leaves you feeling guilty or regretful.
· You talk with people more over electronic devices than face-to-face.
· You often pretend to not notice those you walk past.
· You often talk softly in public to prevent others around you from listening.
· You save your feelings for when you get home, and rarely show them in public.
· Personal space and personal transportation are often a non-negotiable need for you.
· You feel like most people rarely understand you or are on your level.
· There’s a time and place for relationships and they shouldn’t interrupt the rest of your life.
· The moment you begin a conversation you’re already trying to figure out how to end it.
These aren’t absolutes of course, but general indicators of social anxiety. These behaviors can be debilitating and can act as barriers to joy and fulfillment in your life. Fortunately Social Anxiety doesn’t need to run your life. Below are some hopeful tips for dealing with social anxiety.
Tips for Improving Social Anxiety
· Remember that too much comfort and safety isn’t always a good thing.
· Practice not always being in control of social situations. Wonderful things can happen when you let them naturally occur.
· Remember that you aren’t weak if you can’t figure out something on your own!
· Don’t let others blame you for their feelings and don’t blame others for your feelings.
· Tell yourself who you are before you let others tell you who you are.
If you identified with any of the above points, the best way to address them is through counseling. Counselors help you understand what life experiences have contributed to your unhealthy beliefs and help you build new beliefs that create different outcomes in your life. For counseling resources check out our website at LifeWorksGroup.org.