How To Decrease Social Anxiety At Work

Social anxiety at work can feel all too overwhelming. Worrying about what others think. If you are good enough. If you said the right thing. Maybe you said the wrong thing you ask yourself. The anticipation of seeing people. Or video conferencing people more so these days. But it’s still all there. The worry of people and judgment. 

If you struggle with social anxiety in the workplace then you know how mental exhausting this can be. It can truly take over your mind if you allow it. And then it will impact all other parts of your life. You notice how your social anxiety at work then carries over to your ability to be present with your wife or your kids. 

Getting stuck in a cycle of worry and mental exhaustion and you just want out. You don’t know where the exit is but you are desperately looking for it. You don’t want to worry about if you said this perfectly. Or what your coworker Bryan things about that article you wrote. You want to trust yourself and love yourself enough to let work stay at work. 

man sitting at a desk on his computer against a white wall

Maybe your social anxiety in the workplace looks like this: 

You think over and over what you are planning on saying to your team at work during the next video conference. You know you are supposed to be the one to start off to talk about the ideas for the next project. Your mind is going and going about the words to say. You get into internal conversations and get caught up in your mind. 

Once the meeting starts you notice your heart beat super fast. You wonder if anyone else notices that you are super anxious (They probably don’t notice FYI). You say what you planned to say and then you have a hard time listening to much of the rest of the meeting. Why? You are replaying all the things you said. And what they must have thought about this or that. 

The reality is that living this way is so overwhelming and truly impacts your ability to feel happy. You are taking away from your ability to connect to life ultimately. You’ve tried so hard to feel better but you keep on cycling back to this social anxiety at work. 

The good news that there is a lot you can do to build your confidence in yourself and to reduce your social anxiety. Check out my How To’s on reducing social anxiety in the workplace. 

Reduce social anxiety in the workplace HOW TO ONE: Change up your internal self-talk 

woman on her laptop looking to the side out a window

How do you talk to yourself? Are you setting yourself up for a difficult time with anxiety? You may not be attuned to your internal dialogue but it’s important that you start listening to it. Are you hard on yourself? How much are you judging? The reality is that we can be the biggest bullies to ourselves. It’s sad really since what did we do to deserve such a bully? I am asking these questions on purpose. Take the time to check in with yourself on these answers. Internal awareness is a huge first step in changing up your social anxiety. 

It’s important to first be aware and then to change up how you talk to yourself. How can you talk to yourself in a way that builds up your confidence? The reassurance you give yourself will help alter the bully language you have in your head. The trick is however the internal dialogue needs to be strong. Your inner bully has been given so much power. And in order for the new self talk to take over it needs to be practiced on a regular basis. You can repeat and repeat the new inner dialogue. Set reminders on your phone. Post it notes. Do what you need to do to make that change. 

In anxiety therapy at Simi Psychological Group or online therapy Los Angeles we help with changing the internal dialogue so that you can give power back to you (not to the anxiety). 

Reduce social anxiety at work HOW TO TWO: Practice breathing in a new and different way

woman with bun and wearing glasses,

Practicing being present with your body and connected to the moment is a huge factor in reducing anxiety. It’s not that we get rid of anxiety but rather we learn to have a different relationship with anxiety. It no longer becomes something that takes over. When you learn how to be present you are teaching yourself to connect with what is real. Not all the What If’s of life. And not to the overwhelming thoughts that take over either especially when it comes to things of the past or future. 

Breathing is a powerful tool to help you learn to be present. This sounds simple. Yes, I get it. But the truth is that so many people think they use this tool but when it really comes down to it when anxiety is high we forget to breathe in a way that soothes us down. Even when anxiety isn’t high we forget to practice breathing as a means of mindfulness. Try breathing in and out very slowly counting slowly three seconds in and three out. 

man standing against wall taking off their glasses

Reduce social anxiety in the workplace HOW TO THREE: Journaling and gratitude  

Journaling is a very helpful strategy to get out the messiness that one has in their mind and allow for more room. The reality is that when we keep all of it in our minds we are setting ourselves up to feel anxious. Try writing out all the thoughts you have going on in your mind in the morning and at nights. 

Preferably also trying what I call gratitude journaling. Write down a few very specific things you are grateful for. This helps you refocus your mind on what is going well. And when this becomes a consistent approach you then actually look for the things that are going well and what you are grateful for. When you do this you reduce the focus on anxious thoughts and refocus your mind. Our Simi Valley therapists are here to help you reduce focus on those anxious thoughts and gain control of your anxiety.  

Reduce social anxiety at work: HOW TO FOUR: Get the help you need 

Getting help to ease the social anxiety you are experiencing at work will help you feel more in control and at ease. You have the ability to make the changes you want but it does require you getting outside your comfort zone. In anxiety treatment in Simi Valley, Ca we work with our clients on strategies to help them reduce their overwhelming thoughts and try things differently. We know that continuing to do the same isn’t working and we want you to be your own navigator in your life. 

Social anxiety in the workplace can feel all too overwhelming. It can truly take over all parts of your life and limit your ability to feel happy and connected. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to help with this anxiety. Changing up your internal self talk, breathing in a different way, journaling and gratitude journaling, and getting the help you need are all ways to help make changes in your life. To experience the pleasure of feeling good in your skin and in what you do. 

About the author, 

Donna Novak, Psy.D. 

Simi Valley Therapy offering anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, Ca

I specialize in working with anxiety and in helping adolescents and their families, adults, and couples better their relationships and find direction. Rather than shy away from the tough stuff in life, I prefer to face it head-on, together. I believe that challenges are part of being human and that everyone has the potential to become their own life’s navigator. So they never have to feel out of control or at the mercy of their circumstances. Learn more

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