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Overcoming Social Anxiety: 10 Services & Products to Transform Your Life
Do you find yourself grappling with social anxiety, overwhelmed by a sea of advice and unsure where to start?
You’re not alone, and you’ve just stumbled upon a resource that could be a game-changer for you.
Welcome to your all-in-one guide, meticulously designed to help you navigate the complex landscape of social anxiety solutions.
What sets this guide apart? Each recommendation you’ll find here is backed by scientific research and has been put together by professional psychologists, ensuring you have trustworthy options at your fingertips.
From therapy and medication to self-help tools and lifestyle changes, we’ve got you covered.
So, whether you’re contemplating professional help, considering medication, exploring the latest technological advancements like virtual reality and mindfulness apps, or simply looking for effective self-help strategies, this guide is your one-stop resource for making informed decisions on managing social anxiety.
#1: Online Therapy Providers for Social Anxiety
The digital age has revolutionized the way we approach mental health, making therapy more accessible than ever.
Online therapy has emerged as a viable and effective treatment option for social anxiety disorder, backed by a growing body of empirical evidence.
A meta-analysis found that internet-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) had a large effect on reducing symptoms of social anxiety disorder (Kampmann et al., 2016).
Internet-delivered cognitive therapy for social anxiety has shown particularly promising results, with large pre-post effect sizes in both initial case series and randomized controlled trials (Stott et al., 2013; Clark et al., 2023).
This mode of treatment can be especially beneficial for those who experience intense social anxiety, as it eliminates the need for face-to-face interaction with a therapist.
Here, we spotlight three standout platforms that offer comprehensive online therapy services tailored to your needs, all of which provide the option for weekly therapy sessions via video, voice call, or text-chat.
Our Top Pick for CBT-Based Therapy: Online-Therapy
We’re delighted to partner with Online-Therapy to offer a therapy package that is both comprehensive and customizable. This platform is particularly geared towards Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a proven method for treating social anxiety.
- Flexible Communication: Choose your preferred mode of communication with your therapist, be it video, voice, or text. You get one live session per week to discuss your progress and concerns.
- Unlimited Messaging: Stay in touch with your therapist throughout the week with the option of unlimited messaging, ensuring you’re never alone in your journey.
- Structured CBT Program: An addition to your weekly therapy sessions, the platform offers an 8-section CBT program featuring 25 worksheets, designed to help you understand the root causes of your social anxiety and equip you with coping mechanisms.
- Daily Feedback: Receive daily worksheet feedback, allowing you to track your progress and make necessary adjustments in real-time.
- Holistic Resources: Access additional resources like yoga and meditation videos, a journal, activity plan, and self-assessment tests to supplement your therapy.
- Plans starting at just $160 per month.
- Use our link below to get a 20% discount on your first month.
Our Top Pick for Alternative Therapeutic Approaches – BetterHelp
BetterHelp is another leading platform in the online therapy space, offering a wide range of therapeutic approaches beyond CBT. This makes it an excellent choice for those looking to explore different types of therapy.
- Diverse Therapeutic Options: BetterHelp offers a range of therapies, including psychodynamic therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and more, allowing you to find the approach that best suits you.
- Mobile Accessibility: The platform is accessible via a mobile app, making it easy to connect with your therapist on-the-go, whether you’re at home, at work, or traveling.
- Customized Matching: BetterHelp uses a detailed questionnaire to match you with a therapist who specializes in your specific needs, ensuring a more personalized therapy experience.
- Multi-Lingual Therapists: For those who are more comfortable speaking in a language other than English, BetterHelp offers therapists who are fluent in multiple languages.
- Plans start at $240 per month
- Use our link below to get a 50% discount on your first month.
Our Top Pick for Teenagers: TeenCounseling
If you’re a minor grappling with social anxiety, we strongly suggest discussing your concerns with your parents. After informing them, you and your parents can together consider exploring TeenCounseling as a potential solution.
- Specialization: Their team of therapists specializes in working with teenagers and addressing issues commonly experienced during this phase, including social anxiety.
- Parental Involvement: It’s important to note that at least one parent should be present to assist in the initial consultation.
- For Parents: If you are a parent of a child dealing with social anxiety, you have the option to schedule an appointment with a counselor at TeenCounseling, either with or without your child, to discuss how this service can potentially provide support and assistance.
- Plans start at $240 per month.
Online-Therapy, BetterHelp, and TeenCounseling all provide a secure and confidential environment, ensuring your privacy is maintained throughout your therapy journey.
#2: Online Psychiatry Providers for Social Anxiety
Managing social anxiety often involves a multi-faceted and personalized strategy. For some individuals, medication can play a crucial role in treatment. Several types of medications have been found to be effective in treating social anxiety disorder (e.g., Williams et al., 2020).
Online psychiatry services not only offer the convenience of consulting with a licensed psychiatrist from the comfort of your home but also provide the option of receiving prescription medication for social anxiety, if deemed appropriate by the medical professional.
Below, we spotlight two platforms that offer unique and comprehensive services tailored to meet your specific needs.
Best for Integrated Medication and Therapy Treatment – Brightside
Brightside offers a flexible approach to treating social anxiety by providing the option to integrate evidence-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with psychiatric services or to opt for standalone psychiatric services.
- Flexible Services: Choose between integrated psychiatric and therapeutic services or standalone psychiatric services, based on your needs.
- Dedicated Team: When opting for integrated services, you’ll have your own dedicated psychiatrist-therapist team focused on your well-being.
- Individualized Approach: Your treatment team tailors a comprehensive and individualized approach to meet your specific needs.
- Licensed Psychiatrists: Consult with board-certified psychiatrists who can evaluate your condition and prescribe medication if necessary.
- Psychiatry Plan: Costs $95 per month + your pharmacy copay if you have insurance prescription (Rx) benefits.
- Integrated Psychiatry + Therapy Program: Costs $349 per month, offering a savings of $45. This includes unlimited messaging and a weekly video session with a licensed therapist.
Flexible Psychiatric Treatment Plans with or without Therapy -Talkspace
Talkspace offers the flexibility to add therapy services at any point in your treatment. This makes it an excellent choice for those who may already be in therapy elsewhere but are considering medication as an additional treatment option, or for those who are planning to add online therapy to their psychiatric treatment at some point in the future.
- Consultation with Psychiatrists: Talkspace connects you with licensed psychiatrists who can evaluate your symptoms and prescribe medication if deemed appropriate.
- Add-On Therapy: If you’re already in therapy elsewhere, you can use Talkspace for psychiatric consultation and medication. You also have the option to add online therapy services at any time in case you want to start with psychiatric treatment first.
- Diverse Therapy Approaches: In addition to CBT, Talkspace offers other therapeutic approaches such as Psychodynamic Therapy (PDT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
- Insurance: Talkspace is in-network with most major insurance plans, and the average copay for insured members is $30.
- Out-of-Pocket Costs: An initial appointment with a Talkspace psychiatric provider costs $299 for the evaluation, diagnosis, and prescription. Follow-up appointments every three months cost $175 when you pay out-of-pocket.
- Pharmacy Costs: If prescribed medication, you’ll pay for it directly at the pharmacy of your choice.
- Discount: Use our link below to get a code for an $80 discount.
Both Brightside and Talkspace provide a secure and confidential environment, ensuring your privacy is maintained throughout your treatment journey.
Note for International Readers
Please note that the online psychiatry services mentioned here are primarily geared towards U.S. residents due to licensing and regulations involving prescription medications.
On the other hand, online therapy options such as those discussed in the first section of this article are generally more globally accessible. These services are subject to fewer restrictions and can often be accessed from most parts of the world.
#3: Online Courses for Social Anxiety
Online courses offer a self-paced, flexible approach to learning how to manage social anxiety.
Research supports the efficacy of this approach; it has been found that online courses can lead to significant reductions in social anxiety symptoms (e.g., McCall et al., 2019).
Whether you’re interested in CBT, practical tools, or mindfulness techniques, there’s a course tailored to your needs.
Why Choose an Online Course?
- Self-Paced Learning: Complete the course at your own speed.
- Flexibility: Access the course anytime, anywhere.
- Cost-Effective: Often cheaper than in-person therapy or workshops.
- Expert Guidance: Courses are often designed and taught by professionals in the field.
Our Top Pick: Overcome Social Anxiety using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
We’re thrilled to recommend a standout course that has garnered high praise from individuals who have struggled with social anxiety.
Taught by a Master Psychotherapist with years of experience in the field, this comprehensive course offers a deep dive into the tools and techniques you need to liberate yourself from the grips of social anxiety. Here’s what you can expect:
- In-Depth Understanding of Triggers: The course helps you identify specific triggers and understand the root causes of your social anxiety, providing a strong foundation for effective treatment.
- Practical Rules to Combat Anxiety: You’ll learn actionable rules and coping mechanisms to combat anxiety in real-time, empowering you to face your fears head-on.
- Application of CBT Principles: The course is grounded in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a proven method for treating social anxiety. You’ll learn how to apply these principles in situations that trigger your social anxiety, offering immediate relief and long-term benefits.
- Long-Term Maintenance Plan: Beyond immediate coping strategies, the course guides you in creating a long-term plan to maintain the benefits you’ve gained, ensuring sustainable improvement.
- Duration: The course spans 3 hours and 31 minutes, making it a thorough yet manageable commitment.
The course has received glowing reviews from many who have battled social anxiety, attesting to its effectiveness and practical applicability. You can have a look at it and enroll by clicking below.
Most Budget-Friendly: Manage Social Anxiety and Create Meaningful Connections
If you’re looking for a shorter, budget-friendly course that still packs a punch, this is the one for you.
Designed to offer practical tools and actionable tips, this course aims to help you conquer mental habits that contribute to social anxiety and equip you with the confidence to engage in meaningful connections. Here’s what you can expect:
- Comfort in Social Settings: The course provides targeted exercises and strategies to help you feel more at ease in social situations, whether it’s a casual gathering or a formal event.
- Confident Conversations: You’ll learn how to engage confidently in both personal and professional conversations, breaking down barriers that have held you back.
- Non-Verbal Communication Techniques: Master the art of non-verbal communication, including body language and facial expressions, to complement your verbal interactions and convey confidence.
- Managing Mental Habits: The course delves into identifying and managing mental habits that contribute to social anxiety, offering you a toolkit to break free from self-limiting thoughts and behaviors.
- Duration: With a duration of just 1 hour and 24 minutes, this course is perfect for those who are looking for quick, impactful lessons that can be easily integrated into a busy schedule.
This course is recommended for those who want to focus on practical, immediate solutions for managing social anxiety on a low budget.
Awareness-Based Alternative: Mindfulness for Social Anxiety
If mindfulness and meditation resonate with you, this course offers a specialized approach to tackling social anxiety.
Designed to integrate mindfulness techniques into your daily life, the course aims to help you become more present, aware, and ultimately, less anxious in social settings. Here’s what you can expect:
- Reduced Anxiety in Social Situations: Through mindfulness exercises, you’ll learn how to reduce anxiety levels in various social settings, from small gatherings to larger events.
- Effective Coping Strategies: The course equips you with mindfulness-based coping strategies to manage and reduce stress, helping you navigate social situations with greater ease.
- Handling Awkward Silence: One of the unique features of this course is its focus on dealing with awkward silences, a common trigger for social anxiety. You’ll learn mindfulness techniques to stay calm and composed during these moments.
- Comfort with Your Appearance: Mindfulness practices in the course also address concerns about physical appearance, helping you become more comfortable and accepting of how you look, thereby reducing social anxiety.
- Duration: With a concise duration of 1 hour and 12 minutes, this course is perfect for those who want to quickly grasp mindfulness techniques specifically tailored for social anxiety.
This course is highly recommended for those who are interested in a mindfulness-based approach to managing social anxiety, offering a unique set of tools to improve your social interactions.
#4. Books that Help with Social Anxiety
Books offer an in-depth, self-paced resource for understanding and managing social anxiety. Whether you’re interested in exposure therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), or mindfulness, there’s a book tailored to your needs.
It’s worth mentioning that research has shown unguided bibliotherapy to be effective in significantly reducing symptoms of social anxiety (Furmark et al., 2009). This suggests that choosing the right book could offer substantial benefits for those struggling with social anxiety.
Why Choose a Book?
- Self-Paced Learning: Complete the book at your own speed.
- Flexibility: Access the book anytime, anywhere.
- Cost-Effective: Often cheaper than in-person therapy or workshops.
- Expert Guidance: Books are often written by professionals in the field.
The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook
- Focus: Exposure therapy & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Highlights: Proven-effective techniques, practical activities, and updated research.
- Why Choose This Book: Provides a structured pathway to confront fears and engage with the social world.
The Social Anxiety (CBT) Workbook for Adults
- Focus: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Highlights: Actionable insights, mindfulness meditation techniques, and CBT exercises.
- Why Choose This Book: Equips readers with practical tools to cultivate an anxiety-free life.
Improve Your Social Skills
- Focus: Social skills training
- Highlights: Covers conversation flow, body language, making friends, and combating shyness.
- Why Choose This Book: Step-by-step explanations to navigate social interactions and build meaningful connections.
The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Social Anxiety and Shyness
- Focus: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
- Highlights: Combines psychological insights with practical exercises.
- Why Choose This Book: Evidence-based approach to conquering shyness and social anxiety.
The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook
- Focus: Mindful self-compassion
- Highlights: Practical steps to break free from self-judgments and cultivate emotional well-being.
- Why Choose This Book: Offers guided meditations, exercises, and stories to transform your relationship with yourself.
Metacognitive Therapy – Free Yourself from Imprisoning Thoughts
- Focus: Metacognitive Therapy
- Highlights: Introduces the potential to reshape thought processes through illustrative cases.
- Why Choose This Book: Provides a pathway to regaining control over your mental landscape.
#5. CBD Products that Reduce Social Anxiety
As more individuals seek natural alternatives to medication for social anxiety, CBD (Cannabidiol) has gained attention for its potential therapeutic properties. Derived from hemp, CBD is a non-intoxicating compound that doesn’t produce a “high” like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).
The Science Behind CBD and Social Anxiety
- Anxiety-Reducing Effects: Studies have consistently shown that CBD has anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, particularly in the context of social anxiety (e.g., Fliegel & Lichenstein, 2022).
- Public Speaking: CBD has been found to reduce anxiety levels associated with public speaking, a common trigger for social anxiety (e.g., Zuardi et al., 2017).
- No Cognitive Impairment: Unlike some medications, CBD reduces anxiety without causing sedation or cognitive impairment (e.g., Linares et al., 2019).
- “CBD Gets You High”: Contrary to this misconception, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects. Products that are within legal limits contain only trace amounts of THC, the compound responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis. Therefore, CBD products that comply with these regulations will not get you high.
- “CBD is Addictive”: This statement is incorrect. CBD is not known to be addictive. In fact, it has been studied for its potential therapeutic properties, including its ability to reduce anxiety and promote overall well-being, without the risk of addiction.
Our Top Pick for Social Anxiety: Nordic Oil
Nordic Oil offers a diverse range of CBD products, including oils, capsules, topicals, and more. Their CBD oils, in particular, are highly regarded for their fast-acting effects. By applying a few drops under your tongue, the CBD is quickly absorbed into your system.
To utilize their CBD oils effectively, Nordic Oil recommends placing the desired dose under your tongue and holding it for approximately 60 seconds. This allows the CBD to be absorbed through the mucous membranes before swallowing.
For individuals with mild social anxiety, Nordic Oil recommends starting with a conservative dosage of their 10% CBD oil. Begin with just 1 drop three times a day, amounting to a total of 3 drops daily.
It’s important to note that individual responses may vary, so closely monitor your experience and any positive effects.
If you do not experience the desired relief or noticeable improvements, you can gradually increase the dosage. However, it’s crucial to do so under the guidance of a healthcare professional or in consultation with Nordic Oil‘s customer support team.
Note for International Readers
If you’re located outside of the US and UK, Nordic Oil has online stores in different European countries. Ensure to select the appropriate link based on your country of residence.
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Poland
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Germany
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Finland
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Denmark
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Spain
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Sweden
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Italy
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil France
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Netherlands
Our CBD Top Pick: Nordic Oil Portugal
Remember to always follow the guidelines for use and dosage provided by Nordic Oil. If you have any questions or concerns, it’s advisable to consult with Nordic Oil directly or consult your healthcare professional for personalized advice.
#6: Meditation Apps for Social Anxiety
The practice of mindfulness and meditation has been shown to offer a multitude of benefits for individuals dealing with social anxiety (Liu et al., 2021).
These techniques can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings, making it easier to recognize and challenge the negative thought patterns that often accompany social anxiety.
Moreover, mindfulness practices can help you develop better coping mechanisms, reduce stress, and improve your overall mental well-being.
Best Price-Quality Ratio: Headspace
For those interested in reaping these benefits without committing to specialized therapies, we highly recommend the Headspace app as a convenient and effective solution.
As our partner in supporting your journey to manage social anxiety, Headspace offers an intuitive interface and a wide range of expert-guided meditations tailored to improve mental well-being.
With its intuitive interface and expert-guided meditations, Headspace provides a seamless platform for fostering mindfulness and self-compassion, supporting individuals with social anxiety on their path to progress.
Multiple studies have provided evidence supporting the positive effects of brief mindfulness interventions using the Headspace app.
These studies have demonstrated significant improvements in irritability, affect, and stress resulting from external pressure (Economides et al., 2018), as well as a significant reduction in anxiety and worry after using Headspace for four weeks (Abbott et al., 2023).
Furthermore, a systematic review, which rigorously considered potential conflicts of interest when assessing the efficacy of mindfulness apps, including Headspace, concluded that the empirical results of trials investigating Headspace are promising (O’Daffer et al., 2022).
By clicking below, you can access a free 7-14 day trial of Headspace and experience how it can support you in integrating mindfulness into your daily routine.
If you are a student, you should click below instead. This will allow you to access a special student discount, tailored to your situation and help you manage social anxiety effectively.
#7: Virtual Reality Software for Public Speaking Anxiety
Virtual Reality (VR) technology is emerging as a revolutionary tool in the field of mental health, offering a new avenue for individuals to confront and manage their social anxiety. Research has indicated that Virtual Reality can be effective in reducing public speaking anxiety (Kroczek & Mühlberger, 2023).
VR provides a unique blend of immersion and interactivity, allowing you to practice speaking in front of an audience in a controlled, virtual environment. This can be a game-changer for building confidence and reducing anxiety related to public speaking.
Our Top Choice Against Public Speaking Anxiety: VirtualSpeech
Realistic Practice Scenarios: VirtualSpeech offers a range of exercises tailored for public speaking, from delivering presentations to impromptu speech training. These scenarios simulate real-life speaking environments, allowing you to practice in a realistic yet safe setting.
Immediate Feedback: One of the standout features of VirtualSpeech is its real-time feedback capabilities. As you practice, the platform evaluates crucial aspects like eye contact, volume, and use of filler words, enabling you to make instant improvements.
Skill Building: Regular practice in these virtual scenarios can significantly boost your public speaking skills and confidence, preparing you for real-world situations.
Accessibility: While the ideal experience is with a VR headset, VirtualSpeech is also accessible directly through your web browser, ensuring that everyone can benefit from its features.
Supplement to Traditional Therapy: VirtualSpeech complements traditional exposure therapy methods for social anxiety, offering a modern approach to overcoming public speaking fears.
If you’re considering an immersive VR experience, the Meta Quest is currently the most cost-effective compatible option. You can find the Meta Quest here.
#8: Dietary Supplements for Anxiety Reduction
Before we explore the range of dietary supplements that show promise in reducing anxiety and improving mental health, it’s important to note that the scientific landscape is ever-evolving. While current research suggests these supplements may offer benefits, it’s crucial to stay informed about new findings.
For personalized advice and to ensure these supplements are appropriate for your specific needs, always consult with a healthcare professional.
Known for its adaptogenic properties, which means it helps the body adapt to stress and restore balance.
A systematic review by Akhgarjand et al., 2022 found significant reductions in anxiety and stress levels.
L-Theanine is celebrated for its calming effects, commonly used to reduce stress and anxiety.
A 2014 study by Lane showed that L-Theanine, in combination with other supplements, contributed to a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
A study by Fadaki et al., 2017 found that ginger extract effectively reduced anxiety levels in mice.
Known for its mild relaxation properties.
A review by Weeks in 2009 suggested anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects.
Remember, while these supplements show promise, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice tailored to your specific needs.
#9: Aromatherapy for Anxiety Reduction
One natural and holistic approach that has garnered attention is aromatherapy. Utilizing the aromatic compounds found in essential oils, aromatherapy aims to create a balance between the mind, body, and spirit.
Research suggests that specific essential oils may have the potential to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, thereby enhancing social interactions and overall well-being.
Note: These essential oils are intended for use in aroma diffusers, not for ingestion.
Known for its potential anxiolytic effects.
A study by Etaee et al., 2019 found that mice treated with Cin showed increased exploration and time spent in open areas, indicating decreased anxiety.
Linalool (Rosewood Essential Oil)
Linalool, a compound found in rosewood essential oil, is known for its potential to reduce anxiety, encourage communication, and improve social interactions.
A study by Linck et al., 2010, suggests that Linalool may have these positive effects on interpersonal functioning.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is celebrated for its calming properties and is commonly used to reduce anxiety.
Multiple studies have concluded that lavender essential oil is effective in reducing anxiety (Firenzuoli et al., 2014), which can, in turn, improve social interactions.
Orange Essential Oil
Orange essential oil is known for its uplifting and calming effects, often used to alleviate anxiety.
A review by Firenzuoli et al., 2014, found that orange essential oil shows promise in reducing anxiety.
#10: Free 7-Day Email Course for People With Social Anxiety
As we conclude this extensive guide, we have one more invaluable resource to offer you: our Free 7-Day Email Course on Managing Social Anxiety.
Whether you’re personally affected by social anxiety or have a loved one who is, this course is designed to provide you with a well-rounded understanding of the condition.
What You’ll Learn
- Symptoms & Diagnostic Criteria: Understand what social anxiety is and how it’s diagnosed.
- Practical Tools: Equip yourself with actionable strategies to manage social anxiety in everyday situations.
- Medication Options: Get an overview of pharmaceutical treatments that can help manage symptoms.
- Therapy Options: Learn about various forms of therapy that have proven effective in treating social anxiety.
This course is a one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about social anxiety, delivered straight to your inbox. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to empower yourself with knowledge and practical tools to tackle social anxiety head-on.
About the Author: Martin Stork
Martin is a professional psychologist with a background in physical therapy. He has organized and led various support groups for people with social anxiety in Washington, DC and Buenos Aires, Argentina. He is the founder of Conquer Social Anxiety Ltd, where he operates as a writer, therapist and director. You can click here to find out more about Martin.