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Manage Social Anxiety at Work

Updated: Aug 8, 2023




Social anxiety at work can be challenging, but there are several things you can do to reduce it. Here are some tips:

  1. Identify triggers: Try to identify what triggers your social anxiety at work. It could be certain situations, people, or tasks. Once you know what triggers your anxiety, you can plan how to cope with it.

  2. Prepare: Being prepared can help you feel more confident and less anxious. If you have a meeting or presentation, prepare in advance. Practice what you're going to say, and anticipate any questions that might come up.

  3. Take deep breaths: Deep breathing exercises can help you relax and reduce your anxiety. Take slow, deep breaths through your nose, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

  4. Challenge negative thoughts: Social anxiety can cause negative thoughts about yourself and others. Try to challenge these thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. For example, instead of thinking, "Everyone is judging me," think, "I am doing my best."

  5. Seek support: It can be helpful to talk to someone about your social anxiety. Consider talking to a therapist, counselor, or supportive colleague. They can offer you strategies to cope with your anxiety and provide encouragement. I offer Anxiety Counseling in Richmond, Virginia to help you manage and even reduce Social Anxiety. Feel free to Contact Me or Book a Session today.

  6. Practice exposure: Gradually exposing yourself to situations that trigger your anxiety can help desensitize you to them over time. Start with small, manageable tasks and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations.

  7. Take care of yourself: Taking care of your physical health can also help reduce social anxiety. Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep. A healthy body can help you feel more confident and less anxious.

Remember, reducing social anxiety at work takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress along the way.

How Does Exposure Therapy Help Social Anxiety at Work Exposure therapy is a type of behavioral therapy that can be effective in treating social anxiety. The goal of exposure therapy is to gradually expose individuals to situations that trigger their anxiety, in a controlled and supportive environment, with the aim of reducing their fear and anxiety response. Here's how exposure therapy can help social anxiety:

  1. Gradual exposure: Exposure therapy helps individuals gradually confront their fears and anxieties, starting with less intimidating situations and progressing to more challenging ones. This approach allows individuals to build up their confidence and coping skills over time.

  2. Desensitization: With repeated exposure to anxiety-provoking situations, individuals may become less sensitive to the stimuli that trigger their anxiety. The process of desensitization can help individuals to learn that the feared outcomes or consequences they are worried about are unlikely to occur.

  3. Improved coping strategies: As individuals gradually confront their fears, they also learn and practice new coping strategies. These strategies can help individuals manage their anxiety symptoms in real-life situations, such as breathing exercises, positive self-talk, and problem-solving techniques.

  4. Increased confidence: As individuals confront their fears and realize that they can manage the situation, they gain more confidence in their ability to handle social situations that may have previously triggered their anxiety.

  5. Long-term benefits: Exposure therapy can have long-lasting effects. Studies have shown that individuals who undergo exposure therapy for social anxiety experience a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms even after therapy has ended.

It's important to note that exposure therapy is typically conducted under the guidance of a trained therapist and should not be attempted alone. The therapist will work with the individual to create a personalized treatment plan that gradually exposes them to anxiety-provoking situations, while providing support and guidance throughout the process.

Should I Talk to My Boss about My Social Anxiety Talking to your boss about your social anxiety can be difficult, but it can also be beneficial. Here are some steps you can take to approach the conversation:

  1. Prepare what you want to say: Before talking to your boss, it can be helpful to prepare what you want to say. Write down your thoughts and concerns, and think about how you want to explain your social anxiety.

  2. Schedule a meeting: Ask your boss if you can schedule a meeting to discuss a personal matter. This will give you both time to prepare for the conversation.

  3. Explain your social anxiety: Explain to your boss what social anxiety is and how it affects you. You can give examples of situations that trigger your anxiety, such as giving presentations or speaking in meetings.

  4. Discuss accommodations: If your social anxiety is impacting your ability to perform your job, discuss accommodations that could help you manage your anxiety. This could include working from home on occasion, taking breaks during the day, or adjusting your work schedule.

  5. Reassure your boss: Let your boss know that you are committed to your job and that you are seeking support to help manage your anxiety. You can also reassure them that you are taking steps to improve your mental health, such as seeing a therapist or practicing relaxation techniques.

  6. Ask for feedback: Ask your boss for feedback on how you are performing in your job. This can help you identify areas where you may need additional support or where accommodations could be helpful.

Remember that talking to your boss about your social anxiety is a personal decision, and you should only do so if you feel comfortable. If you are not ready to disclose your social anxiety to your boss, consider talking to a trusted coworker or seeking support from a mental health professional.


If you would like to discuss this issue in Anxiety Counseling locally here in Richmond, Virginia with me, Brian Mayer LCSW prior to discussing with your boss please Contact Me or Book a Session today to get started.


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