One of the most common types of depression that most people suffer from is social anxiety disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression where a person tends to avoid crowds as much as possible. People with SAD are often categorized as nerds, the socially inept, the shy type, among all other terms. While this may have become a “norm” in the society, the truth is that it shouldn’t be accepted as a norm.
Why? Because SAD is a disease that should be treated immediately. If not, it will endanger the victim. People with SAD are at high risks of attempting suicide. That warning should be enough call into action to help someone you know suffers from this disorder. Let us give our love, support, care, and compassion to help them overcome their extreme shyness and start making friends. Let us show to them that they’re not alone in this world.
How can we help them to overcome the social anxiety they’re experiencing? Here are our top 4 tips and ways on how to overcome SAD.
Give Some Self-help manual books
Since most people with SAD prefer to be alone, it may be better to give them a self-help book first rather than talking to them. People with social anxiety are always wary of new people, especially if the said people are not in their closer, inner circles. Therefore, if you decided out of a blue to approach them and talk to them, the chances are that they will shun you away. They will heighten their guards against you, rather than dropping and opening up.
That’s why it’s important to gain their trust first before they can open themselves to you. You can build a rapport by giving them some self-help books. Such books are designed to support therapy and building confidence for themselves.
Work with a therapist
If somehow they’re inspired by the book you gave, and they decide to give it a shot, they would probably approach you to ask for help. Grab this opportunity to get to know them better. Listen to them without judging by what they say. Show compassion and understanding, Most of all, express your gratitude to them.
Opening up with someone else is definitely hard for them, but they’re willing to try it with you. You can become their unofficial therapist for the meantime in disguise of friends. If they’re comfortable enough, suggest the idea of seeking professional help. Explain to them how working with a professional therapist can help them better in overcoming the depression they’re feeling, build their confidence back, and overcome their fears.
Practice Deep Breathing or Yoga for Meditation
We all know that people with SAD are often anxious and are prone to panic attacks. No matter what they do, they cannot help themselves from being paranoid. One way of helping them get through these panic attack is by meditation. If possible, teach them how to meditate, do yoga, or practice deep breathing to help them relax the inner turmoil happening inside their body and mind.
It will greatly help them get through with these tough situations when their panic attacks occur. Deep breathing and meditation will help them ease the symptoms they’re experiencing besides making them feel at peace with their mind and soul as they search for their purpose in life.
Create an exposure hierarchy
One way of overcoming social anxiety is by facing your fears. Therefore, encourage your friend to list all the fears they have, starting from the easiest to the hardest. Then bit by bit, help him overcome those fears by slowly conquering them. We bet that by now, they have already conquered their first fear, which was by opening up to someone else — you. Give them encouraging words such as
“See? Communicating with people isn’t so bad. You’ll do just fine”
“How do you feel after going with the crowd? It’s better to enjoy and go with the flow right?”
Encouraging words will help them embrace the new positive feelings they gain by blending with the crowd. Show your support by being at their side in every step of the way as they eliminate the listed fears.