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    You Can Overcome Social Anxiety

    Do social gatherings and outings cause anxiety? Have you struggled with this challenge since you can remember and are feeling like you'll have to live with it for the rest of your life?

    When we're emotionally drained, we tend to feel like there's no way out. Believe me, you're not alone.

    Luckily, the situation is not as bad as you might think. There is hope, even if you can't see the light at the end of the tunnel yet.

    Here are a few points that will hopefully encourage you to choose the path of overcoming social phobia. It is possible and you can do it.

    1. Social anxiety is a result of unhelpful core beliefs and thinking patterns.

    Every thought creates a pathway in your brain, your thoughts form into core beliefs. Together they influence the way you think, feel and behave.

    Fear of social situations is a result of thinking patterns and belief systems. These are mainly shaped by the environment and events that you endured in your early childhood.

    The great part is, you can unlearn unhelpful beliefs and create brand new pathways that will work for you instead of against you. 

    2. Social anxiety is not caused by genetics.

    Even if your parents used to struggle with social anxiety, or maybe they still do, this doesn't mean they passed it to you through their genes. Rather it’s through their examples and their own anxiety that you've learned and adapted similar patterns and reactions. 

    Traumatic events scar us most when we are still small children, it's not shocking if you feel you've struggled with social anxiety since you can remember. However, it doesn't mean you were born with it.

    You may have a predisposition to anxiety, or might be an introvert who loves spending time alone. Either way it doesn't mean you will automatically have social anxiety or that you can't overcome it.

    3. Social anxiety is not a personality trait.

    You may have personality traits that make it more likely for you to develop social anxiety over time, but it's not the trait itself that causes it.

    For example, if you are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), you will process all experiences more deeply than those who are not. If a highly sensitive child experiences constant rejection and emotional or physical abuse, they are more prone to develop social anxiety as an adult compared to a non-HSP.

    It’s not the trait alone that caused social anxiety, rather the event and the way that person processed traumatic experiences. In other words, we form core beliefs that trigger social anxiety.

    How we can help  

    Remember that in having social anxiety you are no different regarding your capacity to transform yourself, develop self-confidence, and thrive as a person. Countless people struggle with social anxiety and manage to overcome it. 

    There are multiple ways that we can assist you with overcoming your social anxiety. Through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) we focus on the problem and aim to understand and eliminate the unhealthy and irrational thoughts and behaviors on a conscious level.   

    With mindfulness we can reduce anxiety and stress. By learning to become aware of your physical and mental state in the moment, mindfulness allows you to have more control over your emotions and healthy reactions to difficult situations.

    EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) works by permitting negative, fear based, or traumatic memories to be accessed and then reprocessed both emotionally and cognitively.  In doing so, people can change their negative core beliefs that have resulted from such memories and either eliminate or greatly reduce the behaviors they are trying to change.

    Exposure therapy is another type of treatment that Pathways Counseling Services offers to reduce social anxiety.  In repeatedly facing feared social situations, instead of backing away from them, people are able to decrease their overall social anxiety. When conducted in session with the help of a trained therapist, people can safely and with minimal discomfort permanently change how they feel in social situations. Exposure therapy is a well researched and successful treatment for social anxiety.

    If you experience social anxiety, you do not have to continue to be tormented by scary thoughts. You can learn the skills that will stop anxiety in its tracks and allow you to move forward. We can show you how. 

    At Pathways Counseling Services, a Scottsdale counseling practice, we offer simple to learn and highly effective tools and techniques that treat and heal anxiety. Get started today by scheduling an appointment online or call our office at 480-235-1682.

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