Evidence-Based Complementary Therapies for Social Anxiety

Looking like an idiot in public can be a painful experience, to be sure, but for people with social anxiety disorder (SAD) the mere idea can consume their entire day. They get stressed out, start to focus too hard on the negative possibilities and this inevitably makes it hard to get anything done. No one wants to be embarrassed or look foolish in any situation, but social anxiety can amplify this fear exponentially.

Luckily, there are simple ways to combat and manage social anxiety. Please keep in mind that this is not us saying, “don’t seek out the aid of an actual medical professional.” but rather that these techniques have a scientific basis behind them and that they can work very well in conjunction with the advice of a medical professional.

No One Is Really Going to Care

We’ve all done something embarrassing at some point. It’s pretty much an inevitability of being, well… a human being. The thing about that, though, is that most people aren’t going to remember what it is that you actually did. It’s actually been proven by different studies that the majority of people don’t remember the details behind their daily social interactions beyond 24 hours or so. Unless you’ve done something that involved hurting another person mentally or physically, you’re in the clear after a relatively short amount of time.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a very popular, natural way to help people deal with anxiety and it’s often recommended by patients’ general practitioners. To explain it (although in a very simplified manner) CBT teaches you to manage your anxiety by modifying the way that you think and behave.

The logic goes like this; if you’re able to think positively, you can better prevent your mind from falling into a cycle of negativity. This type of therapy won’t fully eradicate anxiety, but it has been said by the American Psychological Association (APA) that throughout the course of the treatment, the patient is eventually able to counsel themselves.

Lavender

This one probably isn’t super surprising as it’s been making the rounds as an effective way of fighting anxiety for quite some time now. Many of you have probably at least seen pictures of lavender plants before; bright purple-ish color and smells fantastic – it’s pretty common due to how widely distributed it is.

It’s been used for stress relieving aromatherapy for a long time but has also had studies done to see if it can help with anxiety via oral capsules (supplements) too. For example, a study done in 2012 showed that 80 milligrams of Silexan (or lavender oil) a day were shown to help people manage their anxiety, depressed mood and restlessness. Even though lavender has been proven to help with anxiety, you should not take it without consulting a medical professional first, especially if you take other medications.

Magnesium

It’s been found that anxiety and the lack of magnesium in a person’s body tend to coincide with each other. There have been studies done that show when magnesium is removed from the diet of rodents, they begin to suffer from anxiety and depression-like symptoms. People who are more physically active (like athletes) are very prone to magnesium deficiency because the mineral leaves the body through sweat, but really, a lack of magnesium can be found nearly anybody.

While magnesium is easy to come by through many types of food – like beans, green vegetables and fish – and is safe to consume in supplement form, it’s probably not likely to help with anxiety if you’ve already got decent enough levels of it in your system.

Exercise

Exercise releases anti-depressants and anti-anxiety chemicals inside of your brain which can lead to you feeling better about yourself and more self-confident. The effects are admittedly temporary, but it’s been proven via studies that just going for a walk can boost your mood and help you shake off any depressive feelings. It doesn’t really matter what kind of exercise it is, so long as you’re moving it can help you manage feelings of anxiety to some degree.

The two things to keep in mind about this list of treatments is that they can and do work to help people control their anxiety and that while they are simple and achievable goals, they are best able to help when combined as part of a greater routine. If running makes you feel better, then, by all means, go for it. But don’t substitute any of these methods alone for talking with your doctor or other medical practitioners.

These techniques should be part of a greater whole to help you be the best version of yourself. If any of you folks reading this want to share other tips that can help manage social anxiety, tell us all in the comments – reaching out to others can be a great help too!

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