Social anxiety plagues many people worldwide. Estimates show that 18% of US citizens have some kind of anxiety disorder, or about 40 million adults. However, only one-third of those Americans get treated for their anxiety disorders. Social anxiety itself (not to be confused with shyness), typically begins to effect those around the age of thirteen years old, and keeps hindering the social ability of the person into adulthood.
So the question begs itself, is there something that can be done about social anxiety? Well, short of seeing a doctor yourself and attempting to get some kind of treatment, whether it is medical treatment or therapeutic treatment, there is something you can do to help lesson you social anxiety.
Acting kind and doing random acts of kindness.
According to a 2015 study that has recently resurfaced, by authors Jennifer L. Trew and Lynn E. Alden, kindness decreases “social avoidance goals”, or the objective of avoiding social interaction. Relatively recently, the internet found its way to this study once again, and it has gotten some media attention as of late. Along with being featured in TeenVogue to help give teenage girls some advice on how to overcome this form of anxiety, it has also been featured in various health sources online, as well as the Huffington Post.
The study found that the kinder you are, the less likely you are to have to deal with symptoms of social anxiety. The study continued to say that participating in random acts of kindness helped their study group to overcome social anxiety. They would do things such as doing their roommate’s dishes for example, without being asked to do so.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that acting kind has been correlated to feeling better. Christians may be familiar with the Bible verse in which Christ Jesus had said that ‘there is more happiness in giving, than there is in receiving’. This verse, published in Acts during the first century, indicated the belief that kindness helped the giver feel better than they would typically, aiding in their mental and psychological health. So while humans haven’t been ignorant to this fact for centuries, maybe it’s time for a quick reminder.