Making a plan for change will require a couple key considerations
- Are you ready, able, and willing?
- Different types of social anxiety treatment
- Self-help or professional help?
- Developing your treatment plan
Are you ready, willing, and able to make a change in your life? If you are like me, then you felt like you had to make a change. I personally couldn’t keep living like that. Are you able? Do you have all the right tools and resources?
Now that you have a better understanding of your social anxiety and what areas you want to change, it’s time to make a plan and set some goals.
Before we dive in and start making a plan, ask yourself if now is the best time to tackle your social anxiety. Overcoming social anxiety will require work and time. If you’re not committed and motivated to make a change, then you will probably fail. So, ask yourself several important questions:
1 – Are you truly motivated and ready to become less anxious and shy?
If you are unmotivated to make a change, it simply won’t happen. You have to decide to make a change. You have to be ready and be willing to take action. It cannot be forced on you – it has to come from within. You have to want it.
2 – Are you willing to feel even more uncomfortable and anxious in the short term in order to overcome your social anxiety and shyness in the long term?
Part of the treatment plan will consist of exposing yourself to uncomfortable situations. These exposure exercises will get you out of your comfort zone. Yes, they may cause you a bit of anxiety, but I promise you that it will pay off huge. Once you expose yourself to the situations you fear, you learn that they are not so bad. If you keep avoiding them, you will continue to maintain and strengthen your fear and social anxiety.
3 – Are there any other major stressors in your life that may interfere with your treatment plan? If you have some other major life stressors, you may want to wait until those are taken care of before tackling this.
4 – Are you able to set aside an hour or so per day (or a couple time blocks per week) to practice exercises?
If you’re still on the fence, or feeling unmotivated, think about all of the costs and benefits of overcoming your anxiety. Make 2 columns – in one, write down the benefits of overcoming social anxiety. In the other column, write down the costs of overcoming your social anxiety.
Costs: Most of the time, the costs of performing some social anxiety exercises will equate to a temporary feeling of uncomfortableness. Exposing yourself to fear provoking activities can make you tired and possibly grumpy. It’s very taxing to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Consider if your changes will impact any of your family members or friends.
Benefits: Consider how social anxiety has impacted your life. How has it brought you down? What have you missed out on because of social anxiety? These are a lot of potential gains to be made when you overcome your social anxiety. You will meet new people, feel more comfortable around others, learn to network, expand on your friends, feel closer to more people, feel more confident, increase enjoyment, and properly express yourself. Consider what other benefits there are to overcoming you social anxiety.
Getting clear on why you want to change will help motivate you to keep pushing yourself.
Next, let’s look at some of the goals we want to achieve with our social anxiety treatment plan.