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Break Free & Connect: Proven Strategies to Overcome Social Anxiety & Phobias

Updated: Mar 25


A young shy girl

Social anxiety and inhibitions are prevalent emotions that many of us encounter at certain times in their lives. These sensations are typically characterized by a sense of uneasiness or unease in situations involving social interactions, often leading to the avoidance of specific activities or engagements with others.


Although it's entirely typical to experience occasional anxiety or shyness, continual episodes of social unease and reticence can exert a substantial influence on a person's daily existence and general welfare. Should you or an acquaintance be grappling with persistent social unease or reticence, there are measures that can be embraced to improve these feelings and enhance overall life quality.


First, it's important to understand the difference between social anxiety and shyness.


Social anxiety represents a distinct form of anxiety disorder distinguished by a strong apprehension of social circumstances, particularly those wherein an individual's actions might be scrutinized or assessed by others. This apprehension often results in evading social engagements, struggling to forge friendships, and experiencing challenges in expressing oneself or engaging in collective gatherings.


Conversely, shyness is a broader expression employed to portray unease or edginess in social situations, although it may not fully fulfill the requisites of a precise disorder. Addressing both social anxiety and shyness can present challenges, yet there are tactics that can offer assistance.


Coping Strategies.


One effective way to address social anxiety and shyness is through therapy. such as:


Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).


A diagram of CBT

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) entails a form of psychotherapy concentrating on aiding individuals in recognizing and altering pessimistic or distorted cognitive patterns, as well as behaviors that might be adding to their discomfort. This therapy follows a structured and objective-driven approach, involving working with a therapist to formulate distinct tactics for managing and dealing with the challenges at hand.


In the context of addressing social anxiety and social phobia through CBT, the primary objective revolves around assisting individuals in identifying and transforming detrimental thoughts and convictions regarding social scenarios and self-perception.


Concurrently, it involves a gradual exposure to social situations and the instruction of mechanisms to handle anxiety. This may encompass learning relaxation methods, developing assertiveness abilities, and honing conversational skills.


The approach for addressing social anxiety and social phobia with CBT commonly integrates both in-session interactions with the therapist and assignments for practicing skills and applying acquired knowledge in day-to-day life. Typically, it's a time-limited intervention focused on well-defined objectives, emphasizing substantial cooperation between the therapist and the individual to formulate and execute strategies for accomplishing those objectives.


Collectively, the main aim of employing CBT for social anxiety and social phobia is to empower individuals to move beyond their uneasiness and cultivate more optimistic and practical cognitive patterns and behaviours within social situations.


Self Hypnosis for Social Anxiety and Social Phobia.


A woman lying down relaxing

Self-Hypnosis stands as a relaxation method conducive to reducing challenges such as social anxiety, social phobia, and shyness. The process entails inducing a state of profound relaxation and directing your attention inwards. This involves harnessing visualization and constructive assertions to facilitate constructive shifts in your cognitive patterns and actions.


Sharon Shinwell is a UK qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist. Sharon has been helping people to overcome fears and phobias for over 20 years. You can download her session for Social Anxiety HERE


Apart from therapeutic approaches, there are also personal strategies that can effectively aid in handling social anxiety and shyness. These tactics include:

  1. Gradually immersing oneself in social settings: This gradual progression enables an individual to cultivate self-confidence and ease within social situations. Begin with small steps, like engaging in conversations within small groups or clubs, and progressively advance to more intricate social scenarios.

  2. Practicing relaxation methods: Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can all play a role in reducing anxiety and unease experienced in social situations.

  3. Gathering support from friends and dear ones: Developing a network of supportive individuals to communicate with and confide in can greatly assist in managing social anxiety and shyness.

  4. Seeking professional assistance: If the impact of social anxiety and shyness on daily life is substantial, enlisting the guidance of a mental health specialist can be beneficial.

It's vital to bear in mind that defeating social anxiety and shyness requires time and patience. There isn't a universally applicable remedy. The key is to ascertain what suits you best and to treat yourself with compassion and understanding as you navigate through these challenges.


Sharon Shinwell is a UK qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist.

Sharon Shinwell Clinical Hypnotherapist

Through Counselling, Life Coaching and Clinical Hypnotherapy, Sharon has been helping people with fears and phobias for over 25 years. Although now retired, Sharon has since produced a range of downloadable Self-Hypnosis recordings. Click the link for the session Overcoming Social Anxiety


"This article represents the personal views and opinions of the author and should not be taken as representative of the official policy or position of any organization, professional, expert, or individual."

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