Social Anxiety News

Therapy Reminders

Overcoming social anxiety involves putting the cognitive strategies into place (behaviorally) in your life at work, school, home, social situations, etc.  One tip to help you remember to USE the strategies instead of letting anxiety take control, is (for example) writing "ST" -- for slow talk -- on anything you will see many times throughout the day. You can write it on notebooks, your desk drawer, the mirror in the bathroom, an index card for your pocket, your purse, or in the car.  Get creative with this.

Keep Small Talk Small

We put too much pressure on ourselves when we are in conversations.  There’s really no need for this.  Instead, we should focus outwardly and listen to the other person, and then we need to get rid of the irrational ideas that we must be funny, interesting, and/or entertaining.  You are just making small talk.  No one else is worried about telling funny stories.  Maybe you are trying too hard to gain the other person's approval?  You don't need to do this. 

Boxed in by Anxiety

Feeling Stuck?

Changing Neural Pathways

Your brain is accustomed to feeling socially-anxious. The neurons and chemicals used by the brain have been used for a long time and are habituated (i.e., have become a habit).  Even though social anxiety is a painful emotion to live through, the brain still finds comfort in using the same neural pathways and the same neurochemicals it feels accustomed to.

Don't Fear Mistakes

Sometimes we forget that, as human beings, we ALL make mistakes.  We also think that making mistakes is terrible, awful, and will bring negative attention to us.  This is simply not true.  People are not judgmental of mistakes, since they make mistakes all the time, too.  If you are alive and have a life, you're going to make mistakes.  That's how life itself works.

Dealing with Setbacks

Experiencing a setback is, unfortunately, a normal part of overcoming social anxiety disorder.  However, the good news is you can't have a setback unless you've made some kind of progress.  How to prevent and stop setbacks should be an integral part of any therapy program for social anxiety.  When you start to feel down (usually as a result of experiencing anxiety unexpectedly), catch yourself as quickly as you can.

Avoid Repeating the Past

Doing the exact same thing over and over again, which leads to more anxiety, is not a rational way to proceed.  This saying has been attributed to many people, especially to Albert Einstein.  It is very appropriate for overcoming social anxiety.  Many people do the same things over and over again...and hope for a different result, intent on "getting over" their anxiety.

When the Rational Becomes Rational

Some rational beliefs may be too hard to believe at this stage in your life.  You cannot FORCE what is rational to become a belief of yours automatically.  However, open your brain up to the idea that MAYBE (just possibly) this belief is true.  It may not be true now, but maybe in another month ... or another year ... it may be true.

Slowing Down

High amounts of social anxiety can be viewed physiologically: it comes about due to an excess amount of adrenaline and cortisol.  Adrenaline speeds you up, and cortisol, the stress hormone, induces feelings of fear.  "Sped-up fear" is a good non-standard definition of social anxiety, although it's one that everyone with SA can relate to.

Advice on Anxiety Groups

Any small group of social anxiety people, or understanding, supportive people can be used as a starting point for running a behavioral group. Starting small and working on EASY things to start with may help other SA people see that the behavioral group is easy if it is run properly.

Anxiety Hides and Restricts Us

Anxiety hides, blocks out, restricts and keeps our true personalities from emerging. Your value and worth as a human being are much more important than you think. Maybe you do not realize yet that you have a very valuable contribution to make to the world in the future. 

Social Anxiety Mailing List for February Has Been Published

The February 2013 Social Anxiety Mailing List has been sent out to almost 15,000 people.  We have to clear the list entirely (one reason is so our new website will "fit in" better with the e-mail program).  So, that took the list membership down to zero.

Fast and Furious Activity and Shout Outs

Everything is happening very quickly now with the three new anxiety websites.  A big thank you needs to be sent to our interns and volunteers who keep putting all this together and doing all the small "errands" that you have to do to publish and maintain a website.  Thanks to Zach Brown for his more-than-helpful advice and his talents at adding additional functionality to the basic site.  Justin Bashore, Aaron O'Banion, and Tim Henry have also been instrumental in the progress we have made so far.  Special thanks to Matt Whitley


Last Saturday I spoke about paradoxes, or what everyone with social anxiety does wrong (not on purpose, but just because they don't understand).  A paradox is something that is solved by doing the very opposite of what seems like common sense.  It is counter-intuitive.  The body wants to respond to anxiety in one way, and you have been responding in that way for years and years.  The problem is that what you are doing now does not help you overcome social anxiety.  Any strategy that chips away at soc

Social Anxiety Institute Website Launched

The updated Social Anxiety Institute site went live an hour ago. We hope you like it and find it easier to navigate. The site contains over 500 pages of information, explanation, and therapy articles. This site is the largest site on the internet for social anxiety resources, and the plan is to keep growing.

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The Social Anxiety Association

The Social Anxiety Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 to meet the growing needs of people with social anxiety.  The SAA became inactive for several years due to lack of resources.  We are in the process of re-doing our website, listing all active, structured CBT groups for social anxiety, and renewing all our licenses.  Major changes will be happening by the end of 2013.  We publish new web content -- concerning social anxiety -- almost daily on the site now.

The Social Anxiety Institute is the largest website on the internet about social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Therapy programs have run at the Institute full-time since 1994.  Major new help for overcoming social anxiety is under development and will be introduced in 2013. 

For treatment: Overcoming social anxiety: Step by Step   A structured guide to overcoming social anxiety (a "How to" guide to get over social anxiety).

The Anxiety Network explains and describes five major anxiety disorders.

Guidelines for listing social anxiety groups on this site.  We cannot officially endorse groups, so check them out thoroughly.  We ask that they be groups that are operating, have a definite leader, and are thoroughly structured.  Social anxiety therapy groups are very different than the groups that operate for other mental health conditions.