Social Anxiety: 7 Articles

Understanding social anxiety in children

Effective Strategies for Teens to Manage Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is tough, but teens don’t have to figure it out alone. Find Your Fierce by Jacqueline Sperling, PhD, uses evidence-based skills from cognitive behavioral therapy to give teens a toolkit to help them overcome their anxiety and move toward becoming their bravest, fiercest selves. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction and first chapter: Introduction Humans are supposed to care about what others think of them, and this starts feeling especially important when you’re a teenager. That concern about what others think can sometimes turn into worry about being judged or embarrassed in front of others, grow even bigger, and get in the way of spending time with friends, participating in school, and going out in public. If that sounds like you, you might have social anxiety disorder and you most certainly would not be alone. Social anxiety disorder is the second most common anxiety disorder and affects many of your peers—over 9%. A lot of people with social anxiety disorder blame themselves for what they’re experiencing. No one chooses to feel this way, though, and you certainly did not sign yourself up for this. You might have inherited some genes that make you more likely to experience social anxiety—a lot of teens with social anxiety also have a parent with social anxiety. Sometimes stressful events or big life changes, such as moving to a new school, being bullied, or going through puberty, can bring your social anxiety front and center.  Chapter 1: What Is Social Anxiety? Social anxiety is a fear of judgement or embarrassment that has lasted for at least six months and gets in the way of life at home, at school, or in other social environments. For example, social anxiety may make it difficult to attend family gatherings, complete homework, and spend time with friends. Those with social anxiety disorder may avoid raising their hands in class, going to parties, ordering in restaurants, making eye contact, giving a presentation, using public restrooms, eating in front of others, going to school, making phone calls, or texting friends. Social anxiety disorder can look different from one person to the next. Although social anxiety disorder can get in the way of everyday life, it can be managed with some skills. The aim of this book is to give you a toolbox so that you, and not your anxiety, can be the boss of you. A type of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with exposure and response prevention is very effective for social anxiety disorder. CBT focuses on how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are linked, and teaches you tools to manage all three.  You are the expert on you; no one knows you better. An important part of CBT is that it aims to make you not only the expert on you but also the expert on your own treatment. In this book, you will learn how and why these skills work. There will be activities throughout the book to help you practice what you learn.

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Effective Strategies for Teens to Manage Social Anxiety 2021-09-20T16:37:08-04:00

Help Your Child Cope with Social Anxiety

Many kids are shy around strangers, but “warm up” after becoming familiar with a person or situation. But sometimes kids experience fear and anxiety about participating in everyday social situations like playing with neighborhood kids and attending school. In Shannon Anderson’s book, Too Shy to Say Hi, Shelli’s fears and anxieties prevent her from joining in on activities she would certainly enjoy. In this excerpt from the Reader’s Note in Too Shy to Say Hi, Dr. Elizabeth McCallum explores the difference between shyness and social anxiety and offers tips to help your child feel more confident and relaxed in social situations. Shyness or Social Anxiety? Shyness is a part of many kids’ temperament, or the personality traits that determine the unique way in which they interact with the world. It may take a shy child a little while to get comfortable with a new person or situation. However, sometimes shyness is so extreme that it interferes with a person’s social development, causing significant distress. Social anxiety is a term used to describe when a person avoids everyday social activities because they’re worried about being judged or fear behaving in ways that might bring about embarrassment. Usually people with social anxiety don't have any trouble interacting with family members and close friends, but the idea of meeting new people, speaking in public, or unfamiliar situations can put their anxiety symptoms into high gear. Fight-or-Flight? We all feel anxious or scared sometimes. In fact, feeling anxious can be helpful in certain situations. Our bodies and brains are hardwired to feel anxious and respond to these feelings with our fight-or-flight response. When our brains sense danger, they release adrenaline and other chemicals that cause all kinds of bodily reactions: quickened heartbeat, rapid breathing, sweating, and even goosebumps. Evolutionarily speaking, the fight-or-flight response helped to keep us safe from predators. Today the fight-or-flight response continues to keep us safe from different dangers like walking into oncoming traffic or eating spoiled foods. But what about when the danger isn’t real? When someone has social anxiety, or any type of anxiety problem, they feel anxious in situations where there is no real danger at all. Their fight-or-flight response gets activated too frequently, too powerfully, and in situations where it isn’t actually necessary. How Does Social Anxiety Affect Daily Life? Social anxiety is a common mental health diagnosis in childhood, with the typical age of onset between 8 and 15 years old. People with social anxiety have fears regarding their social performance. They tend to be highly self-conscious and have an extreme fear of being judged by others. School, for example, is a very social time for kids. Kids may spend hours at school each weekday, interacting with peers and teachers. Social anxiety can keep kids from participating in everyday school and extracurricular activities. Unstructured time, like lunch or recess, may be the worst for these kids because there is the most opportunity for social rejection. Some kids may also avoid raising their hands in class

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Help Your Child Cope with Social Anxiety 2021-03-03T21:08:49-05:00

Too Shy to Say Hi

Shelli was content with her pet friends with feathers, fins, and fur.  Her bird would keep her company at home, her fish would hideaway in his cave, and her dog was the social butterfly of the neighborhood. Shelli is shy. Often too shy to even say 'hi!' But now, Shelli is determined to try to make friends with kids at school. Hear  author Shannon Anderson read Too Shy to Say Hi aloud and hear how Shelli takes brave steps toward breaking out of her shell. Shannon also suggests a simple craft to help manage worries.

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Too Shy to Say Hi 2021-03-11T15:56:40-05:00