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How Do I Function Around People Again?

How Do I Function Around People Again?

As the world opens back up and people start seeing each other again, it's natural to feel a little anxious about how to be around others - it's a skill you haven't really had to use much the last couple years.  Krisztina has written an article which offers a few suggestions on how to get back into society and overcome the anxiety that might imapact you or a loved one.

Overcoming Social Anxiety


Krisztina Kelemen, MA R.(Prov) Psych


Sometimes we all feel nervous, shy, or self-conscious in social situations, in public speaking situations or even when making simple phone calls. This is quite common, and it does not mean we have social anxiety. However, when anxiety grows above a certain level and it interferes with our normal daily routine, then it may be time to seek for help.

If you have a constant fear of being watched or judged by others, fear of embarrassing yourself, intense worry for days, weeks or even months before an upcoming social situation and you also show physical symptoms such as blushing, sweating, trembling, and racing heart, you may have social anxiety. 

Many people also experience intense social anxiety these days as a result of being isolated from others for far too long during the pandemic.

People with severe social anxiety often have few friends, feel chronically lonely and they usually think that there is nothing they can do about the symptoms. In reality, there are different tools and strategies that can help:

1. Challenge your negative thoughts: your counsellor can help you identify the automatic negative thoughts that cause your fear and replace them with more realistic, more positive thoughts about social situations and about yourself.

2. Shift your focus from yourself to others: Instead of paying attention to what is going on in yourself, pay attention to what other people are saying or doing.

3. Learn to relax: To manage increased heart rate, dizziness and muscle tension, deep breathing can be a significant help. Focus on a slow and steady breathing pattern of inhaling through your nose for 4 seconds, holding it for 6 seconds and exhaling through your mouth for 8 seconds. Your counsellor can help you learn other relaxation techniques as well.

4. Expose(ure) yourself: Through role plays, imaginal exercises and gradual real life exposure exercises, your counsellor can help you face your fears only to discover that your fears usually do not come true.

5. Improve your social skills: Through role plays your counsellor can help you improve your social skills, starting from the basic skills (making eye contact, asking questions an actively listening) to more complex ones (such as how to interview for a job or build and maintain friendships).

By practicing these techniques, as well as other tools we can provide you in session, it will help makethe transition back to the office, back to school, into the community to see faces you haven't in a long time, just a little easier,by feeling less anxious and more confident.

Feel free to reach out to a Refresh Psychologist who can walk with you and help you face your fears in a safe, equip you with tools, and help tease apart the complexities of life, in non-judgmental space - all to help you live your social life to the fullest!


Source: Leahy, R. L., F., H. S. J., & McGinn, L. K. (2012). Treatment plans and interventions for depression and anxiety disorders. The Guilford Press. 

At Refresh Counselling, we offer your first 20-minute session at no charge.  This is your opportunity to ask any question you would like to ask, and get a feel of what future sessions will be like.  This will also give us a chance to get to know you and start preparing for our next session.

We offer you a complimentary consultation (a 20-minute session).  This provides the opportunity to meet your therapist, ask any questions, understand what future sessions will be like, and ensure that you feel safe and a connection with your psychologist.  This also gives us a chance to get to know you a bit and prepare for our next session.

I am so glad you are dedicated to getting the most out of your sessions. Your active participation and dedication is crucial to your success. After all, we only see each other for a session a week. It’s the work you do outside of our sessions that will really help you see your personal growth and development.

This is one of the most common counselling questions we get asked and certainly makes sense because the nature of therapy is so dynamic.  Because each person has different issues and goals for therapy, therapy will be different depending on the individual. we tailor our therapeutic approach to your specific needs.

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