According to current Canadian Mental Health Association stats show that women are twice as likely as a man to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder for several reasons including the way women are socialized, our hormonal changes, and caregiving stress.
But that does not mean men are exempt ... it means they may be better at avoiding anxiety. How anxiety manifests in men and women can differ but anxiety itself is equal opportunity.
It’s normal to feel a bit nervous or anxious when you have to give a speech or when you’re meeting people for the first time. But with social anxiety your anxiety can be so intense that it can affect all aspects of your daily life preventing you from reaching your full potential. This is more than shyness.
Do you feel fear in any of the following situations?
- Speaking over the telephone or leaving phone messages
- Eating in front of others or using public washrooms
- Giving presentations, asking questions publicly or speaking with authority figures
- Interacting with others, including social parties, speaking with a sales clerk or dating
Do you experience any of the following Common symptoms of social anxiety:
- Avoidance of social situations or engaging in drinking or substance use before social situations to “soothe nerves”
- Remaining quiet in group settings or social situations out of fear of being judged or watched by others
- Intense worry for a period of time before an upcoming social situation
- Upset stomach, feeling faint, sweating, trembling (including shaky voice) in social situations
Living with social anxiety can severely limit your ability to relate to people.
- Difficulty initiating or sustaining relationships
- Isolation from others due to extreme shyness
- Inability to establish intimacy in relationships
- Decreased performance in work or school
As a human, you have a need for social connection but if you have social anxiety you may avoid social situations all together as a way to cope with your anxiety. This leads to other mental health issues such as disordered eating, substance abuse, low self-esteem, isolation, loneliness, sadness or depression.
Although very overwhelming Social Anxiety is a very treatable condition that is very responsive to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
I have extensive experience working with Social Anxiety and welcome you to contact me by phone or email. My style is very relaxed and friendly and there is no pressure to say the right thing.
Please utilize my satisfaction guarantee so you can become familiar and comfortable with how I work. I can help you better manage your symptoms, overcome your fears and have a better life.
Some of the strategies I use to help you manage your social anxiety
- Identify unhelpful patterns - thoughts, emotions and behaviours contributing to your anxiety problems and replacing them with more realistic and positive ways to look at and manage your situation.
- Get to know your anxiety - Mindfulness training to increase awareness of your particular anxiety and to help you recognize and minimize triggers
- Build new coping skills - Learn ways to manage anxiety in the moment that you can do on your own to help keep you feeling better
- Gradual exposure - Slow introduction to situations that you may have been avoiding or extremely afraid of until you feel more comfortable with them.
- Lifestyle management - Strategies for regulating stress and anxiety such as healthy food choices, exercise, emotional support and sleep.
- Homework - to practice the new skills between sessions. We measure the results and adjust as needed to make sure the interventions are working for you.
If social anxiety stands between you, your priorities and your fulfillment it's time to take the step towards improving your life.