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Christian Life

5 Ways to Deal with Social Anxiety

Girl-Comforting-Friend

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.

 

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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!

Image: Thinkstock | BananaStock

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17 Comments

  1. sarahddel

    Posted by sarahddel on July 14, 2014 at 13:30

    I loved these verses. Because I’m in a wheelchair (or as I like to say, “learning to walk”), I have extreme social anxiety when I’m ordering food, asking for help at a library, going into a building alone or in a classroom. Weirdly though, I’m a public speaker and my last speech was for approx. 300 people! Being on the stage and speaking about my causes empowers me and I love the speaking engagement opportunities, yet for some reason, interacting with people who are not in my audiences, gives me knots in my stomach. It’s beyond weird and frustrating! Can someone please help me figure out why this is? Why am I the exact opposite of most people when it comes to “social comfort zone”?

    Thank you! God bless!

    • Norris

      Posted by Norris on July 1, 2015 at 17:21

      This is weird… But I think the same advice kind of applies, but I’m sure there are scriptures that help with that. I need to check it out first tho. I’m not being helpful right now but… I’ll see if I can help 🙂

  2. nursekat

    Posted by nursekat on July 13, 2014 at 22:03

    Thanks, Christina!
    This article was very, very powerful! I have been struggling with this for a while myself. I’ve come to find that another reason a person might feel socially awkward is because they have a low self esteem. The Devil wants you to think you are inadequate and subordinate to your peers; just another one of his schemes! But we ARE worthy through Christ! Girls, keep your heads held high, your back straight, and your chin up! Jesus loves you.
    God bless you, Christina, and thank you for all you and Nicole have done.

  3. Trinity

    Posted by Trinity on July 13, 2014 at 21:47

    I dunno. I agree this advice can help if you categorize more as someone who sometimes gets anxious in social situations or is shy, but if you’re like me and suffer from social anxiety nearly every time you’re at a social event and have panic attacks, then this advice may not be what you need. 1, 2, and 5 especially made me kind of dubious about real help. If you have an actual anxiety disorder, it doesn’t help to ‘be more social’ or ‘not give in to fear’ because trying these things can lead to an anxiety attack and make it worse. It’s not necessarily about your strength of will. When I told people that I had social anxiety one thing I heard is ‘maybe you’re just not letting God heal you’. Please listen: That’s not true. If you have a mental disorder, it’s a real, chemical defect in the brain and needs real, physical help in addition to the spiritual acts of praying for help.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by Neece on September 11, 2017 at 05:15

      I totally agree Trinity. This is actually a physical condition and the brain functions differently than it does for those with just normal situational shyness/anxiety. I always flinch a little when I hear the use of “God has not given us a spirit of fear” to try and help with the fight in coping with this disorder. We do use that Scripture for coping with the kind of anxiety described in the article but there is a vast difference between normal anxiety experienced in a social situation and the social anxiety disorder. These verses are addressing the kind of fear that is part of the normal anxiety of every person’s experience, which we also experience. I used to condemn myself for not being able to overcome the intense anxiety with God’s word and my determination until I realized that we experience this type of anxiety so differently. We who experience social anxiety know the difference; one can be fought with bringing our thoughts captive and the other is a cascade of biochemistry that is very different from our “normal” fear responses. It is well meaning advice but it is out of the range of experience unless a person actually has this affliction or has spent a good deal of time learning the difference. Even then, it requires a deep understanding of the difference between true anxiety disorders and anxiety caused by deep rooted insecurities, shyness or rejection, etc.

  4. kayemisme

    Posted by kayemisme on July 3, 2014 at 21:20

    I deal with social anxiety so much. Needed these tips and godly advice! Thank you!

  5. LizzieJean

    Posted by LizzieJean on June 30, 2014 at 21:14

    Some of this advice is very good. I agree praying helps me calm down quite a bit and I really like the 2 Pslam verses and the Colossians 3:15. However, some of the advice isn’t helpful at all. It looks down on introverts and people who have any kind of anxiety disorder.

    I believe most people know that worrying and being anxious does nothing to help you.
    I also believe that anxiety isn’t something you can just ‘get over’. It is something you can learn to deal with and moderate. Anxiety doesn’t just go away. I have anxiety and I don’t think it is right it say someone is a bad person for having anxiety. I do love God and trust him with all my heart. He doesn’t want me to be anxious and I don’t want to be anxious. I don’t believe anyone wants to to have anxiety and worry all the time. You don’t have control over anxiety. You don’t get to decide if you are going to have a panic attack or not. You are NOT a bad person for having anxiety.
    I believe anxiety can be helped. Challenging yourself is a good idea. Just don’t set your goals too high to start. If you have social anxiety, don’t go to a huge party and decide to make 5 friends. Try going to the store and ask an employee to help you find something. Or go to a small gathering with someone you know. As you succeed in each task try something harder each time.
    I also think it’s very rude to tell someone their problem is they need to learn to ‘be social.’ I’m sure some people really don’t know how to be social but to classify ALL people with social anxiety as being anti- social is not okay.

    • LizzieJean

      Posted by LizzieJean on June 30, 2014 at 21:49

      A few of you young ladies may not have social anxiety.You may be uncomfortable going to parties/large youth groups because you are introverted. Being an introvert means you need less simulation in your brain to be content. You are happier when you are by yourself or being with just a few people. You can’t stand small talk and have a hard time starting a conversation. Going to a large party is a lot simulation and introverts tend to become over simulated at things such as parties/big events. People literally drain your energy. Obviously you can be around people but it takes away energy instead of giving you energy. Because of this introverts don’t like big events and tend to avoid them.

      Like anxiety I believe you have to challenge yourself. Go to that party, but leave early. Try out that new youth group your friend that does to a ‘mega church’ is always begging you to go to. You can try it and if you don’t like it just let your friend know. She will understand.

      It is not wrong to be introverted. It is not wrong for you to enjoy being alone. It is not ‘bad’ you have 1 or 2 close friends instead a big group of friends.

      If you think you might be an introvert or aren’t sure Google the Myers-Briggs personality test.
      It really helped me understand my personality. 🙂 Once you find what your letters (I’m INTJ 🙂 ) Look up watchwellcast on Youtube, click on their channel and look for their video on Myers-Briggs test. Good luck

  6. Eurydice

    Posted by Eurydice on June 29, 2014 at 12:01

    Anxiety is NOT a sin.

    • Project Inspired

      Posted by lilawe on July 1, 2015 at 08:30

      Yeah, even Jesus got scared and anxious in the Garden of Eden. He was sweating blood! But he never doubted God.

  7. Eurydice

    Posted by Eurydice on June 29, 2014 at 12:00

    I wouldn’t call that very good advice. Sometimes, it’s not as simple as just “getting over it” and starting a conversation with someone. It’s okay to be introverted. It has nothing to do with a lack of trust in God; it’s just a personality trait.

    • mkay77

      Posted by mkay77 on July 2, 2014 at 09:28

      Thank you! The heart is in the right place in this advice, and this is definitely something easier said than done. I’ve been diagnosed with OCD, depression and anxiety, and I’ve been eaten up with it since I was eight (I’m going on 16 now). I realise that worrying isn’t helping me, but it’s not really a disease that goes away with sheer willpower. Neither does medication. Way I see it, it’s those two things, maybe willpower, and God gives you the boost to push you up higher. Telling a depressed person to just “get over it” is just like telling an arm amputee to punch themselves to get their arms to grow back. Just a thought.

  8. Godismytruelovexx

    Posted by Godismytruelovexx on June 26, 2014 at 17:53

    I struggle with social anxiety as well, and I thank you PI for writing this post, because these verses have and will continue helping me. For those in this same situation, know that our anxiety is nothing compared to our God, and He will make you see how this anxiety has helped you grow and become a better person in the future 🙂 God Bless

  9. Jeanuuh

    Posted by Jeanuuh on June 25, 2014 at 07:42

    This really did help me. I have dealt with this issue for years and I felt ashamed of it. I am so glad that God brought me to this article.

  10. cherrykatt

    Posted by cherrykatt on June 24, 2014 at 18:07

    I needed this article. I love these verses.

  11. Jazzyangel

    Posted by Jazzyangel on June 23, 2014 at 19:45

    thankyou so much fathergod for bringing me to this article.

  12. Lace and Thunder

    Posted by Lace and Thunder on June 23, 2014 at 14:00

    I suffer from clinical anxiety and some of the scripture here helps me immensely. My fear and my anxiety does not come from God. It comes from the enemy. The less than mediocre state of my mental health is not really something I can blame on God. I get frustrated sometimes because I feel like it is the way he created me, but I see now that it’s not really true. I just wish that it was easier for me to overcome my illness and stay calm.