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5 Tips on Overcoming Social Anxiety in Teens

Group of people displaying social anxiety in teens

Teenagers face many different challenges in their day-to-day lives. Navigating romantic relationships, dealing with academic pressure, and coping with the hormones produced during puberty can strain teenagers’ mental, emotional, and physical health. Stress and nervousness are expected in their lives during adolescence, especially during new experiences. However, excessive anxiety during everyday living can make it difficult for teenagers to function in society. Social anxiety, for teens, is a common mental health issue. Learning how to deal with it can help your teen feel happier and more confident.

If you have observed your teen having difficulty in social situations due to anxiety, you should consider getting them help and support. Luckily, treatment programs can guide your teen through these types of mental health conditions. Anxiety disorders are common among adolescents, and there is no shame in getting professional help. Our specialized teen treatment programs at Imagine Fort Collins are designed to support the whole family. Call 970.680.5887 today to discover our many comprehensive treatments and therapies.

What Is Teen Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder is the most common anxiety disorder throughout America today. Millions of people struggle with this condition, and cases of social anxiety disorder in teens are prevalent.

The condition is marked by a person experiencing an ongoing and pervasive fear of social interaction or fear of situations where they might get embarrassed. The feeling of overwhelming self-consciousness can make it nearly impossible for teenagers to behave normally in social situations, preventing them from having normal relationships and interactions. In some cases, the following physical symptoms may manifest in people struggling with social anxiety:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trembling or twitching
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Tense muscles
  • Racing heartbeat

Like people diagnosed with other anxiety disorders, those struggling with social anxiety disorder may recognize that there is no good reason for their anxiety. However, they may still find themselves trapped by fears and worries.

5 Tips on Overcoming Social Anxiety in Teens

1. Focus on Breathing

Stress can cause breathing to speed up, which can cause even more mental pressure and cascade into a chain of physical issues. When faced with social anxiety, your teen can focus on breathing to stay calm and reduce the effects of anxiety.

2. Learn What Triggers the Anxiety

Each person is unique, and your teen may have situations, events, or people who cause their anxiety. Encourage your teen to note when they experience anxiety, including who they were with, where they were, and what they were doing. By doing this, your teen may be able to identify their specific triggers and start to learn how to manage them.

3. Recognize Negative Self-Talk

A significant part of social anxiety is the negative beliefs and thoughts that accompany the disorder. The more your teen tells themselves that they will have difficulty in social situations, the more likely it is to come true. Your teen can start to improve their self-image through positive self-talk and consequently improve their ability to speak to others.

4. Set Concrete Goals

Overcoming social anxiety does not have to be an all-or-nothing affair. Small, steady steps toward improvement are better in the long run, as change rarely happens overnight. However, it is impossible to measure that improvement without a concrete goal. Some examples of very easy, achievable goals can include:

  • Participating more in classroom discussion
  • Greeting friends as they arrive at school
  • Speaking to neighbors once a day
  • Setting their appointments with their dentist or doctor

While these may be relatively small goals, they may serve as the building blocks for your child’s self-esteem.

5. Celebrate Successes

As a continuation of setting concrete goals, it’s also beneficial for your teen to celebrate and be thankful whenever they achieve one. It’s important to teach your child that it’s okay to feel good about their accomplishments. They may feel better about themselves over time, with someone teaching them how to build on small achievements.

Begin Treatment for Anxiety at Imagine Fort Collins

The outpatient center of Imagine Fort Collins provides a full continuum of care for adolescent behavioral health. If you are concerned that your child may struggle with social anxiety, we have various treatment options to guide them through their experience. Our compassionate mental health professionals are experts at helping teens with social anxiety overcome their condition. You can contact us at 970.680.5887 to learn more about our available treatments.