Does Mindfulness Help Social Anxiety?

Anxiety can be a challenging condition to live with, often having a significant impact on your mental, emotional and even physical wellbeing. If you are suffering from anxiety, and you feel that you are unable to control your fears and worries to an extent that it is preventing you from performing your daily, normal tasks, you could benefit from trying mindfulness techniques such as meditation, which has proven to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

What Is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to be completely present, fully aware of where you are, and completely invested in what you are doing. It lets you be free from external distractions and focus your complete undivided attention on the task at hand. By training yourself to be mindful, you will be able to prevent obstructive thoughts and be one hundred percent present in the current moment.

How Can Mindfulness Help Me Deal With Anxiety?

If you are suffering from anxiety, one of the biggest struggles you are facing is your ability to control your emotions. Intense fears caused by certain events or persistent worries that are largely disproportionate to the underlying cause can make you extremely anxious, affecting your ability to regulate your emotions.

Meditation research has shown that following a consistent mindfulness programme over a period of time helps the brain to reprogram its neural pathways, thereby enabling you to be in better control of your emotions. It helps you become more aware of your feelings and thoughts, without being compelled to react to them.

How Can You Achieve Mindfulness?

Like most practices, mindfulness requires dedicated, focus, and consistent practice. Specialists recommend mindfulness techniques be practised every day, as the more regularly you train your mind, the more aware you become of the thoughts, emotions, physical reactions and world around you. You can start your journey towards mindfulness by following these steps:

Be mindful of one thing at a time

When you start trying to focus your mind, it is very easy to get pulled in multiple directions, with your mind switching from one thought to another constantly. Since you cannot be mindful of multiple thoughts at the same time, start by focusing on just one thing at a time. This could be either a task that you are working on, or a mild body ache, but try to focus and be fully aware of that particular element for a prolonged period of time.

Spend More Time Alone

While it can be difficult to find some ‘me time’ when you have a busy schedule, take a few minutes from your day to be by yourself. Pulling away from social interactions and being by yourself can help your mind to slow down the electrical impulses generated by your brainwaves and in-turn helping with social anxiety. This will help you to gain more control over your thoughts.

Meditate

The next step towards achieving mindfulness, and undoubtedly the most important one, is meditation. Start by spending a few minutes every day meditating and gradually increase this to a minimum of 20 minutes, before extending to 40 minutes or more. Ensure you stick to a routine – find a comfortable location that you can use daily, find the best time of the day for you to try and relax, and let your family know that you cannot be disturbed during this time. Find a calming meditation script that helps you to clear the clutter from your mind, and reduce your stress levels.

Here are some useful mindfulness and meditation resources that could help including a video on guided mindfulness meditation.

By investing time in yourself and achieving mindfulness, you can better manage your anxiety and lead a happy, healthy life free from the constant fear and worry that anxiety can cause.

Mavish Sikander

Mavish Sikander

Mavish is a BABCP Accredited CBT and EMDR Therapist and CBT Clinical Lead at Psymplicity.

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