We all get anxious sometimes: first-date butterflies, taking a test worth 33% of our final grade, or driving away from home only to wonder if we really turned off the stove. Most of the time, these everyday worries pass.
But if you have an anxiety disorder, daily worries can take over your life. From work performance to social interactions and everything in between, an anxiety disorder can leave you feeling nervous, fearful, agitated, and constantly on edge. Luckily, therapists can help those who suffer from anxiety disorders learn to cope with symptoms, and address habits caused by anxiety.
Understanding these habits is the first step toward living happily and healthily with an anxiety disorder. And the news isn’t all bad: Many of the habits people with anxiety express can actually be good qualities if channeled in the right way. Here are some common habits of people with anxiety, and how you can find your secret strengths inside of these behaviors.
Continue reading The Unexpectedly Positive Attributes of Anxiety
What would you do if you were in a relationship with someone who constantly criticized, second-guessed or belittled all of your choices, behaviors and decisions?
Hopefully, you would leave immediately, or at least take major issue with being the victim of emotional abuse.
But what if … that critical person was you?
Continue reading Negative Thinking Got You Down? Here’s How to Shift Your Thoughts
In my practice, I see many clients who grew up in very anxious families. Parents may have suffered from generalized anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Often, these parents were never formally diagnosed with a mental health disorder, and it’s only after the fact, during adulthood, that clients are able to recognize and understand how anxious their parents were — and how it has affected their mental health, both during childhood and into adulthood.
Continue reading Raised by Anxious Parents? Here’s How it Might Be Affecting Your Mental Health
I approach the holidays with a sense of trepidation every year. I get to our large annual family Christmas gathering and struggle with the small talk and the added attention in brings. How is the job going? What have you been doing the last year? How do you like the city? What have you been writing? Are you dating anyone? Oh no. The way I stutter and stammer and try to hide in a corner with just the baked goods for company, I may as well be the grinch.
While I love the festive spirit, getting to see family and friends who live far away, and picking out gifts for everyone I love, there’s no denying my anxiety can outshine all the holiday cheer. Enter the difficult combination of social anxiety and the holidays. Continue reading 9 Ways To Manage Social Anxiety During The Holidays
It’s hard to have social anxiety. You feel like everyone is judging you, and you’re frequently uncomfortable in your own skin. It can also be difficult to date someone who suffers from social anxiety. Sometimes it can seem like your life is being constricted in ways you didn’t sign up for, and that issue can lead to resentment and irritation. Here are some tips to keep in mind when your partner has social anxiety, so the relationship can withstand the pressure of this disorder.
1. Try Hard to Empathize With Your Partner
You may not have social anxiety, but do you have any other issues you wish you didn’t have, or that you are actively working on improving? Most people wish they were different in some way or other. For instance, if you struggle with ADHD, it is useful to compare the conditions in your mind, saying, “I don’t try to forget things, and my partner isn’t trying to be scared of social situations. We both struggle.” Continue reading Dating Someone With Social Anxiety: 6 Tips from a Therapist
My first experience meeting a significant other’s close friends was like being thrown into the lion’s den. I’m from a small rural town and had recently moved to a city. The group I was diving into was a suburban clique that had known each other since childhood.
I was in an unfamiliar place. People asked me lots of questions. I drank to relax. Long story short, it was awful.
Just getting out and dating with social anxiety comes with its own set of pitfalls and requires both courage and commitment. Now that you’ve jumped that hurdle, getting serious means meeting friends and family. This step of relationship growth can be a big social anxiety trigger.
Over the years, I searched for ways to make the best of meeting my partner’s friends, much to the benefit of the authors of the books I bought and therapist I paid. The following tips are what I learned and will help you have the best experience possible when meeting your significant other’s close friends or family. Before we dive in, my tips assume your partner knows about your social anxiety, your symptoms, and is committed to supporting you. If that’s not the case, that should be your first step. Continue reading How to Manage Social Anxiety When Meeting Your SO’s Friends
Roughly 15 million American adults live with social anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Social anxiety has grown in mainstream conversations about mental health over the years, but what does it look like to actually live with the disorder? There’s a great example viewable in one of television’s biggest sitcoms, “The Big Bang Theory.”
Rajesh Koothrappali (Raj) from “The Big Bang Theory” represents a solid case of social anxiety disorder. In earlier seasons of the show, Koothrappali’s social anxiety cripples him by rendering him speechless around women who aren’t members of his family. When he’s alone with his friends, he has no problem expressing himself. But when faced with the prospect of speaking with a woman he deems attractive, Raj often uses alcohol as a social lubricant.
Many viewers, including myself, find this character trait charming in those earlier seasons. As a therapist I understand this kind of representation can minimize the lives of those who deal with social anxiety in real life. Nonetheless, my impression is that the writers of the show handle Raj’s disorder with both compassion and humor. This leads me to believe that both the actor and those in the writers’ room understand what it’s like to experience social anxiety. Continue reading What ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Theory Teaches Us About Social Anxiety
Many clients are surprised to learn they have a diagnosis of social anxiety. In fact, according to the NIMH, an incredible 18% of the population suffers from anxiety. Of those, 63% aren’t receiving treatment, and 34% of those aren’t receiving adequate treatment. Some sufferers assume they might only be shy, introverted or quiet; others think they are awkward or lacking in social skills. Interestingly, women are 60% more likely to suffer from anxiety than men.
Here are 10 signs that what you’re dealing with might be social anxiety, and not simply shyness:
1. You skip events you are interested in, only because you think you will feel awkward.
Salsa dancing sounds cool. But you cringe thinking about how stupid you’ll look doing it, so you don’t go. Even if other people don’t know how to dance either, you assume they’ll look less silly than you. If an event involves any aspect of performing, you’re even more scared to go. Continue reading 10 Signs You Have Social Anxiety, According to a Therapist
If you want to learn more about social anxiety, this infographic is a great place to start. It breaks down issues within social anxiety, including symptoms, myths and ways to cope.
Use it as an overview to begin your journey toward understanding social anxiety. If you have it, understanding it is the first step to dealing with it. Continue reading This Infographic Will Help You Understand Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be both frustrating and fascinating. If you suffer with it, you might wonder, “What causes social anxiety? Why do I have to deal with this?”
Even if you don’t have it, you might be curious. Maybe someone you care about has it or you are interested in exploring the issues surrounding it.
Whatever the perspective or motivation is, learning about what causes social anxiety is worth it. Understanding the causes can help you be more empathetic toward the roughly 15 million people who deal with it. If you have social anxiety and are tired of it limiting your life or stressing you out, learning what causes it is the first step toward treating it. Continue reading What Causes Social Anxiety?