Hello there everyone and welcome to another episode of Your Anxiety Toolkit Podcast. This week's episode is all about how to prevent Social Anxiety. I know that the title, “How to Prevent Social Anxiety” might sound a little fishy, but in this episode, we are going to look at some groundbreaking new research on social anxiety that might help us to understand the relationship between shyness and social phobia and how to prevent social anxiety in adolescence. In this incredible new finding, researchers found that there is a direct relationship between shyness and social anxiety in pre-adolescents. For the purpose of this episode, we will define shyness as the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness. These symptoms will increase, especially when a person is around other people and in new or unfamiliar situations.
This research found that negative social self-cognitions mediate the shyness - social anxiety link, whereas, social interpretation bias does not. Social interpretation bias, by definition, is the tendency to interpret ambiguous situations in a positive or negative fashion. What does this mean in regard to how to prevent social anxiety, you may ask? Basically, if we can teach pre-teens how to interpret themselves in a more positive way, we might be able to reduce the impact of social anxiety in adulthood. This research showed that prevention should address the negative self-cognition of shy (pre-)adolescents.
So examples such as the below statements might be corrected into more logical and objective statements.
◆“I am a fool”
◆“There is something wrong with me”
◆“I look like an idiot”
More Objective Statements
◆I am not for everyone
◆Just because there was silence, doesn’t mean I am incapable of being in social settings
◆It's ok that they didn’t laugh at my jokes. One person's “funny” isn’t everyone's version of funny.
Link to research.