I'm at a party I don't wanna be at

If you struggle with social anxiety like I do and you haven’t read this book by Ellen Hendriksen yet ... GET IT NOW. It is rooted in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and rich with tips on how to conquer your anxiety in social situations.

So far, these are my biggest takeaways from the book (maybe try saying these out loud to yourself?):

◽️I will feel less anxious BY living my life, rather than waiting to feel less anxious IN ORDER TO live my life.

◽️Introversion IS my way, social anxiety GETS in my way.

◽️My social anxiety is not credible. It is a liar.

◽️I am stronger, more capable, and more likable than my Inner Critic ever gives me credit for.

◽️I can talk back to my social anxiety with these questions: What is the worst that could happen? How bad would that really be? What are the odds? How could I cope?

◽️In a social situation where I literally know no one, I can give myself an assignment of sorts, i.e. chatting with 3 specific people.

◽️A solution to social anxiety is getting in my reps or exposures in social situations. Repetition is key. It gets easier with more reps.

◽️I feel far worse anticipating my challenges than actually completing them.

◽️The success of my task is independent of the outcome. The only criteria is ‘did I follow-through’?

◽️Conquering my social anxiety is not only for my sake, but for those around me, who may feel uncomfortable secondarily, or who may perceive me as aloof, distant, snobby or prickly.

◽️If I drop my safety behaviors, not only will I feel better, I’ll get a better response from those around me.

◽️One of the biggest myths of social anxiety: I must perform perfectly. This is highly unrealistic, and aligns my self-worth with performance and results, which is dangerous.

◽️If I try to be “warm and friendly and curious, then everything else - the blemishes and foibles and awkward behaviors all of us have simply because we are human - becomes much less important to the other person because we’re connecting with them.”

Comment below if any of these resonate with you! Happy Tuesday friends!


Some thoughts on Self-Care

The best form of mental health treatment is prevention, agreed?

I am a firm believer that one of the best forms of self-care is setting boundaries with our time and one mode of anxiety prevention is utilizing solid time management skills.

A common theme I hear from patients is that they are overwhelmed with their long to-do list. From work to home to kids to relationships to exercise/nutrition to socializing to hobbies, it’s hard to fit everything in and lead a balance life. (Mental health professionals are sometimes the worst examples of how to live a balanced life!). We wear ‘busy’ as a badge of honor, yet setting poor boundaries with our time and a chronically unbalanced life can leave us feeling unfulfilled, stagnant, and weary.

When we feel this way, it’s natural to crave relief. Relief can take many forms - a mental health day off work, a massage and facial, a couple episodes of our favorite show on Netflix, happy hour with co-workers, or a big bowl of Graeter’s. If we’re not careful, we can take our relief techniques and turn them into maladaptive coping mechanisms.

Consider these tips when it comes to self-care through setting boundaries with our time:

Learn when it’s appropriate to say “no thanks” or “maybe next time” to an invitation. Rehearse ahead of time the answer you will give when you are invited to an event or activity that you know will drain you, or will make you feel overwhelmed.

Keep the long-term in mind. Doing something that makes you feel good in the moment (spending spree!) but that will make you feel stressed later (overdrawn bank account!) is NOT true self-care.

Make a list of the 3 most important areas of your life. What are your passions? What are your priorities? What are your goals? From this point on, when you get an invitation for your time - if it doesn’t fall into one of those 3 areas, give yourself permission to say ‘no.’ Feed your passion with your time.

Let’s create a life of buffer and care for ourselves through healthy choices in how we spend our time.