Research shows that nearly 11 per cent of the Australian population experiences SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder) during their lifetime [1]. This condition often begins in childhood and or adolescence. SAD is a marked and persistent fear of social situations in which the individual believes they will act in a way that embarrasses and draws attention, scrutiny, or rejection from others.  A diagnosis of SAD is made when the severity of the individuals fear significantly hinders their daily functioning in areas of school, work, relationships and general wellbeing.   

Social anxiety is a common condition where individuals experience fear and anxiety in social situations. It can be a debilitating condition that impacts daily life, but there are coping strategies that can help manage social anxiety. Feel the fear and do it anyway, as anxiety avoidance perpetuates anxiety. Here are some tips:

Identify your triggers

For example walking into busy shopping centre or meeting new people. Pay attention to situations that trigger your social anxiety. Write them down and keep track of them. Once you know your triggers, you can develop coping strategies for each of them. Coping strategies may include going shopping out of peak hours and having some ideas of what to talk about before meeting new people.

Practice relaxation techniques

Deep breathing, meditation, and yoga are ways to calm your mind and body. They do not always for work for everyone so see what feels right for you. If you find something that works you could incorporate these techniques into your daily routine to help manage the anxiety.

Challenge your negative thoughts

People with social anxiety tend to have negative thoughts about themselves and their abilities. Try to challenge these thoughts and replace them with positive, realistic ones. Such as I am not an interesting person, with I do know about somethings, I must be likable as I have some friends or focus on your knowledge around hobbies as a way to increase conversation and connections with people.

Gradually face your dears

Start by facing situations that make you anxious, but in a gradual and controlled way. This can help you build confidence and reduce anxiety over time.

Seek Support

Talk to someone you trust about your social anxiety, whether it’s a friend, family member, or a therapist. They may be able to offer support, guidance, and help you develop coping strategies.

Remember, social anxiety is a common experience that many people struggle with. It is important to be kind to yourself and take steps towards managing your anxiety. With time and effort, you can learn to manage some of your fears and live a more fulfilling life.

Psychology and Counselling at Harnessing Wellness can assist to:

  • recognise productive and challenge unproductive worries through psycho-education and cognitive restructuring.
  • use rationale thoughts and solve problems (CBT).
  • use relaxation and breathing techniques, in particular muscle relaxation to aid in controlling anxiety and physical symptoms of tension.

For appointments or clinical supervision in equine assisted therapy please call our reception on 03 9118 2022 or book online via our website.

For books and resources such as ‘Hoofprints on how to set up an Equine Assisted Therapy clinic’ and children’s books, ‘Happy The very Sad Pony’ and ‘Trigger the Anxious Horse’ you can purchase them via or online bookshops such as Amazon and Booktopia among others.