What exactly is social anxiety and how can music therapy help me to manage it?
Do you feel anxiety when surrounded by other people? Does being the center of attention make your stomach turn? If so, you may be one of millions of adults in the United States who suffer from social anxiety.
Social anxiety is different from being an introvert or having a shy personality; it is more impactful and can have a negative impact on both your mental and physical health. Many people with social anxiety use some type of wellness strategy to help reduce their stress and anxiety. There are a variety of techniques and therapies that people with social anxiety can use to lessen symptoms, one of them being music therapy.
In this post specifically, we’ll be discussing two major concepts:
First, let’s talk about what social anxiety actually is. Social anxiety is the experience of extreme fear of or apprehension about social situations. This can include, but is not limited to, being afraid of embarrassment and humiliation in a social setting, or avoiding social situations due to severe anxiety. Simply even thinking about social situations may trigger stress.
It’s completely normal for a person to experience nervousness when going into a social gathering or meeting new people; everyone feels this fear sometimes. However, social anxiety is more severe and often makes it difficult for people to function in their everyday lives. Having social anxiety can interfere with a person’s life at home, work, school, or in relationships.
There are a variety of situations that can trigger a person's social anxiety. Below is a list of some of the more common triggers:
Being exposed to these situations can have a variety of effects on someone with social anxiety. This includes physical, emotional, and behavioral effects. Common effects of being exposed to a social situation include:
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, social anxiety affects more than 15 million adults in the United States alone. There are a variety of coping strategies that people use to manage social anxiety. Many people also seek professional help and treatment; one option for treatment is music therapy.
Music therapy involves using therapeutic techniques along with music in a variety of ways to meet the physical and emotional needs of patients. This includes two main branches- active and passive music therapy. In active music therapy, a music therapist engages the patient in a variety of different exercises. This can include, but is not limited to, singing or playing an instrument. Passive music therapy is just as helpful, but involves a patient listening to either live or recorded music.
During a music therapy session, a licensed music therapist will use a combination of both active and passive music therapy. Sessions are individualized to a patient’s specific needs.
For patients with social anxiety specifically, a music therapist will work with the patient to both reduce the patient’s anxiety and increase the patient’s social skills.
There are numerous ways that music therapy can reduce a patient’s social anxiety. Some of the following include:
These are only some of the ways that music therapy can help with social anxiety. More information can be found here.
Edited by Cara Jernigan on January 16, 2021
If you suffer from social anxiety, you are far from alone. Social anxiety affects millions of people, and there are professionals available to help you decrease your anxiety.
Music therapy can be an impactful way to decrease social anxiety and improve upon a person’s social skills. Professional music therapists will meet your needs on both an emotional and physical level. Overall, music therapy has the ability to change your life and help you manage social anxiety in a beneficial and healthy way.