5 Ways to Deal with Social Anxiety
Written by Christi Given | June 23, 2014
Every week, I go through the “Girl Talk” section of Project Inspired and look for those seeking advice and counsel. I want to help answer some questions you may have about living out your Christian life and walk of faith! We want PI to be a safe place where you can ask questions.
This week I am discussing anxiety and how to deal with it. A PI Girl posted to the “Girl Talk” forum and asked:
“Hey guys. I have horrible anxiety when I go out. It’s mainly around people I don’t know. How can I get over this? I feel like such a freak because of it.” (Read the full post by clicking here.)
The Bible talks about not being fearful, doubtful or anxious, so let’s see how I can help this PI Girl who is struggling with social anxieties and insecurities.
Luke 12:25-31 says:
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them.But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.
In life we can worry way too much about the smallest details, and even though God cares about the big and the little things, we need to remember worrying doesn’t help any situation. Even in the circumstances the PI Girl is dealing with regarding fear and anxiety, remember that worrying and feeling anxious doesn’t help us. We need to trust God and pray when we begin to feel nervous or scared. We all have our moments of fear and doubt, but let us cling to the Word and to the Lord in the times when things are not going the way we planned.
Here are some other verses that you can write down on a notepad or have in your binder at school to remember that the Lord is always with you. The Lord says He will never leave us and His presence is always around us.
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Why You May Be Having Social Anxiety and How to Deal with It
There may be several reasons you are experiencing nervousness or anxiety. For one, maybe when you are around people you don’t know, you are shy or not into sparking conversation. A good conversation starter can be about sports, clubs on campus, friends or people you may know or have in common, if your peers have jobs or do anything outside of school and so on. Not all people are energetic and outgoing, and you may feel awkward starting a conversation, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
If the response is negative or just uncomfortable, you can at least know you tried to reach out and make new friends. When you ask a question, it usually shows you are interested in the other person and causes them to want to have a conversation. People enjoy talking about their experiences and about life, so don’t hesitate or worry. The worst thing that will happen is that they will not respond they way you expect. If they are rude or snobbish, move forward. Don’t worry and keep moving.
The next reason you may be feeling nervous is because our society is so into smartphones and technology that people don’t know how to be around people. It is not healthy to only be communicating via computer or phone, and to always be holding your cell phone to your face. If you need to shut it off, shut it off. Sure, you may feel weird at first because phones are addictive, but try it and challenge yourself to not touch your smartphone and have an interesting conversation about the Lord, life, school, hobbies and so forth.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
The next reason why you may feel anxious is you need to be in prayer. Sometimes in life, we experience something called spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:10-20). I have discussed this on Project Inspired before, and it is very important to recognize this. The enemy WANTS you to feel scared and nervous, and wants to paralyze believers with FEAR because then you will be silent and won’t want to share the good news with people! I felt waves of anxiety at times in school and I took the thoughts captive, rebuked them, prayed and the anxiety went away. I am NOT ignorant of the devil’s schemes. The demons are on the loose and we need to be aware of the tactics of the spiritual battle that is unseen. Sounds crazy and weird, but it’s true. I have experienced warfare not only in my life, but even in friends’ lives, so please make sure you are in the Word and pray daily.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to Sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
When we pray and are in God’s presence, we are protected (read Psalm 91). We will be under the shadow of the Almighty God, and the devil and his demons can’t touch us when the anointing of God is on us. So fill your soul with the Word of God and fill your mind with truth. If you are believing lies and falling into the trap of fear and sin, then you need to evaluate how often you are trusting and reading God’s Holy Word in the Bible and need to ask for God to help you. He will hear you and will come to you.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)
Remember this, though, PI Girls: This isn’t a one-time thing where you pray and voilà—it is gone. No, the battle is ongoing, every day. We need our daily bread (Psalm 23), the daily spiritual manna or food to fill us. If we are running on empty, we will be weak and vulnerable to the enemy’s attacks. So be aware, be watchful and, last but NOT least, don’t be afraid, because there are more with us (God and the angels) than there are in the world. Amen?!
5 Tips on How to Deal with Anxiety
1. Spark conversation. Step out of your comfort zone. (Don’t worry what people will think, just be nice and ask about THEM.)
2. Learn to be social and around people. (Put down the cell phone!)
3. Be in prayer.
4. Be aware of spiritual warfare. Rehearse the TRUTH (God’s Word). (Read Ephesians 6, Psalm 91.)
5. Don’t fall for the traps of these sins: fear, anxiety and doubt. (God commands us to not be afraid; read John 14:27 and Isaiah 41:10.)
PI Girls, do you have any prayer requests? Does this help you? Comment below! We love you!