“Help People Even When You Know They Can’t Help You Back.”
Like other types of anxiety, social anxiety can also be a tiring condition. Hence, it’s always nice for social anxiety sufferers to have someone to fall back on for support. However, there aren’t many who know how to actually help someone overcome social anxiety. In most cases, we generally ask the sufferers to calm down and ‘pull themselves together.’ This isn’t even remotely helpful as sufferers do not voluntarily experience the symptoms of social anxiety.
Below are 3 ways to help someone overcome social anxiety
1. Focus on the feelings of the sufferer and work with their emotions
It’s important to know that social anxiety is not some kind of rational ailment (this video will help tremendously). In turn, offering help in some rational form is mostly unlikely to be helpful; it might make the anxiety episode even worse. People need to understand the emotions of the sufferer and then work with them. We need to accept their state of anxiousness and be kind and patient with them instead of offering a direct solution. We can assure the sufferers that even though they are anxious and distressed for the time being, they can overcome social anxiety as others have in time.
Instead of asking social anxiety sufferers about the reasons for them feeling distressed and anxious, it’s abetter option to ask them about what they are feeling and their current state of mind (this video teaches you how to deal with emotional distress). Allow them to freely tell you about their varied symptoms without interruption. In case they feel like crying, let them do so as it will help release the pent-up pressure much more rapidly.
2. Avoid criticizing and practice patience
Social anxiety sufferers are generally very self-critical and they expect that others also view them in such a critical light. Most of the studies conducted on social anxiety reveal that the condition has strong links with a belief of being socially inept, even when others do not think of them as being so. I turn it’s essential for us to avoid criticizing the behaviours of the sufferer as doing so will only add to their overly critical view of themselves.
Avoid telling a social anxiety sufferer that he/she needs to get a little loose or that she/he is excessively quiet. It’s important to understand what limitations social anxiety can place on a sufferer and avoid expecting more out of them than they can offer.
Patience is vital when trying to help your partner overcome anxiety. Avoid snapping or losing your temper over them. Wait till the anxiety episode reaches its peak and then patiently help and support them as they calm down.
3. Be friendly and funny!
Laughter is one of the best medicines for all kinds of ailments, and it works to overcome social anxiety as well. Thus, if an anxiety sufferer states that he/she feels that all are watching him/her then your response should be that they are all watching him/her because they think that he/she was some kind of celebrity! And then ask them to enjoy the moment as best they can (no expectations)!
What a good joke or a lighter side of seeing something also does is it creates a ‘state break’ within the suffer.
Meaning, the brain becomes frazzled and begins focusing on something else which will then create an emotional charge in a different more lighter direction. In time the social anxiety sufferer will instinctively perceive the situation differently, and feel much more neutral to pleasant.
Sufferers may look like they’re trying to avoid company. But that does not mean that they do not want friends or deeper connections. Putting your perspectives through the eyes of the social anxiety sufferer will show you their worldly views, and you’ll more easily understand where their current disconnect is coming from.
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