Health

Strategies That May Help Students Cope With Social Anxiety

As highlighted in the accompanying resource, anxiety among students is a serious issue and possibly more common than you might realize. Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a widespread condition that has affected a growing number of young people over the past year, in part due to the challenging educational conditions brought on by pandemic restrictions and disruptions.

However, pandemic-related issues are not the only factors contributing to increased anxiety among students. The rise in social media use and other forms of digital communication has led to some students feeling more isolated, reducing their face-to-face interactions. This isolation limits the practice of vital social skills necessary for personal and professional development throughout life. Compounding this problem is the tendency for social media to expose students to bullying and other hostile communications, creating additional stress that exacerbates social anxiety.

The positive news is that experiencing social anxiety doesn’t necessarily mean a student is destined for a life of anxiety, underachievement, or isolation. The resource below offers various strategies for students coping with social anxiety, which may also benefit parents, family members, and concerned friends.

Understanding what social anxiety is, and how it affects individuals, can be a starting point to overcoming it and can aid in supporting a friend or child who may be dealing with it. Here’s the thing: nearly everyone gets nervous in some social situations, whether it’s speaking in public, attending a party where you don’t know many people, or even participating in online high school classes. If you have social anxiety, however, that fear can become intense, and you might be terrified of embarrassing yourself or looking foolish. This fear can prevent you from engaging in activities you typically love or lead you to avoid situations that trigger those anxious feelings.

Although social anxiety can be isolating, it can also be managed. The key takeaway from the resource is to recognize that you’re dealing with social anxiety and take steps to manage it effectively. Remind yourself that people around you are more focused on their own concerns than on you. If you feel anxious in large groups, it might help to practice social skills in smaller, less intimidating settings, gradually building up your confidence.

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