Social anxiety can be incredibly overwhelming and difficult to manage. It can take many forms and be triggered by a variety of situations.
Knowing what triggers your social anxiety is an important part of managing it effectively.
This blog post will explore five common triggers for social anxiety, as well as provide helpful tips on how to cope with them in addition to online social anxiety therapy.
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One of the most common triggers for social anxiety is public speaking or being put in the spotlight. Feeling that everyone’s eyes are on you can be incredibly nerve-wracking. To cope with this trigger, try to practice beforehand as much as possible and make sure that you have a good understanding of what you will be talking about. Visualizing yourself delivering the speech in a calm and confident manner can also help to reduce anxiety levels. Also practicing a mindfulness exercise or meditation prior to going in front of the group can help calm nerves.
Being Around Strangers
Another common trigger for social anxiety is being around strangers, especially when there is an expectation of conversation or interaction. This could be anything from attending public events with unknown people to going on a first date. For these situations, it can be helpful to prepare by writing down some topics of conversation that you feel comfortable talking about – this will give you something to fall back on if the conversation stalls. Also, be mindful if your anxiety is increasing and step away from the conversation, get some fresh air or take a short walk if you need to get some space or distance.
Meeting New People:
Another trigger for social anxiety is meeting new people in social group settings, such as parties or networking events. In these situations, it can be helpful to focus on the positive aspects of meeting someone new – for example, that you might make a friend or find a mentor. It can also be beneficial to arrive early and get settled in before the event starts, as this will help take the pressure off of having to immediately engage with people. Sometimes it can be helpful to think of 2-3 questions that you can ask to get to know someone more if you find yourself at a loss for words, you can lean on these questions.
Going to a Job Interview:
Job interviews can be incredibly daunting, especially if you’re not used to being in a situation where you are the one being judged and evaluated. To cope with this trigger, practice beforehand by reading up on the company or role and writing some answers to common interview questions. Additionally, making sure that you’re well-rested and have eaten beforehand can help to ensure that you are feeling calm and confident during the interview.
Making Small Talk
Lastly, making small talk with people can be another trigger for social anxiety. To cope with this, it can be helpful to focus on having a conversation rather than an interrogation – don’t worry if the conversation doesn’t go anywhere, and try to be engaged in the moment. Additionally, it can be helpful to have a few topics of conversation ready that you feel comfortable talking about – this will give you something to fall back on if the conversation stalls.
All of these triggers for social anxiety can be incredibly overwhelming and difficult to manage. However, with some preparation and self-care techniques, it is possible to cope in these situations. If you find that your social anxiety is getting hard to handle, you can talk to a qualified online social anxiety therapist to get help to work through your triggers and understand them more.
Lindsey Ferris, MS, LMFTA, Washington State
Talk. Heal. Thrive. therapist Lindsey Ferris is based out of Seattle, Washington working with clients via online social anxiety therapy who are navigating personal and relational challenges