Can Toastmasters help to manage social anxiety?
This blog answers: Can Toastmasters help to manage social anxiety? How Toastmasters can help with social anxiety? What is Toastmasters? What is social anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of social anxiety? How to manage social anxiety using self-help techniques? How to manage social anxiety using other methods?
Can Toastmasters help to manage social anxiety?
Many individuals who have been a part of Toastmasters and have battled social anxiety report benefiting from them. Many individuals who want to better their social interaction and communication that is hampered due to social anxiety might consider joining Toastmasters.
Many individuals might join Toastmasters to overcome their fear of talking to other people and social situations such as asking questions, making suggestions, carrying out constructive feedback, and also accepting one.
Individuals experiencing social anxiety might look at the various programs of Toastmasters as torture due to their fears and anxieties about social situations. However gradually these programs might be of help to face various social situations making it the first step to managing one’s social anxiety.
How Toastmasters can help with social anxiety?
Contests in Toastmasters are a big deal every year, thousands of members compete in various speech contests. This speech contest can be a great way of helping individuals gain confidence in their communication skills
A speech contest can also be a great way to:
- Learn how to express oneself with confidence in front of other individuals in a social setting
- Learn how to improve socially acceptable public speaking skills.
- Positively gathering feedback on the way an individual presented their speech and the various areas of improvement.
All these factors can majorly contribute to building an individual’s confidence and also making them comfortable in various social settings over a period of time.
What is Toastmasters?
Toastmasters International is a non-profit institution of higher learning with a global network of clubs that teaches socializing and leadership skills.
The organization, headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, has over 300,000 members in much more than 15,800 clubs in 149 countries.
Toastmasters International has been assisting people from all walks of life to become more self-assured speakers, communicators, and leaders since 1924.
What is social anxiety?
Individuals experiencing social anxiety might feel uncomfortable being in social situations to an extent that it hampers their daily functioning, it’s sometimes referred to as a social phobia.
Individuals consider public spaces as potential spaces of humiliation and embarrassment. Social anxiety affects how a person Interact with the world around them.
Social anxiety can be differentiated from shyness. In that shyness does not affect an individual’s daily life and functioning, moreover shyness is short-lived.
On the other hand, social anxiety is persistent and negatively impacts various aspects of an individual’s life like their ability to work productively or even develop or maintain close bonds with people outside their family.
What are the symptoms of social anxiety?
The symptoms of social anxiety can be both physical and psychological.
The most significant physical symptoms of social anxiety are:
- Excessive sweating
- Shaking or trembling
- Lightheadedness or feeling dizzy
- Increased heart rate
The psychological symptoms that individual experiences during a social anxiety attack are:
- Excessive and intensive worry about the social situation
- Worrying days or even weeks ahead of an important social event
- Trying to camouflage themselves in the background or the need to avoid the social situation on a whole
- The need for intoxication to face a social situation
- The constant worry of being observed by others
In addition to these individuals with social anxiety may avoid social interactions such as asking another person a question when in doubt, potential job interviews, shopping, using public services like transport or washrooms, carrying out activities in public such as speaking or even eating in that matter.
How to manage social anxiety using self-help techniques?
Apart from therapy and medication what works best to manage social anxiety is certain lifestyle changes. These may include:
- Regular exercises
- Having a balanced diet,
- Socializing and talking to people about their anxiety,
- Journal writing to express and understand one’s feelings and
- Avoiding alcohol or drugs.
Take control of your breathing
It is normal for anxiety to bring about changes in your body, for instance, increased breathing. these changes often make an individual feel uncomfortable.
One can take control of this discomfort by carrying out a few simple steps such as holding one’s breath for two seconds and slowly letting it out through their mouth.
Repeating this step several times until one feels relaxed. This is most effective when one sits down in a comfortable position with their back straight.
Carry out progressive muscle relaxation
Research indicates that certain activities such as walking, or jogging can help in killing anxiety. Another effective technique to kill anxiety is progressive muscle relaxation.
Progressive muscle relaxation involves flexing and releasing a group of muscles in one’s body which helps to maintain their attention on the feelings of this contraction and relaxation.
Prepare ahead of situations
It is best advised that people who experience social anxiety must plan ahead of these situations that make them nervous to increase their confidence.
to kill social anxiety people must start small. In that individuals must avoid big social situations and start with the situation that they are compatible with.
For instance, one can start by going for lunch with friends and family members rather than with a set of individuals that they’re not familiar with or confident with.
Push back negative thoughts
One very effective way to kill social anxiety is to focus and work on one’s negative thoughts actively.
Think about the negative thoughts that one has about a particular situation and write them down. Following this, the person is required to write down positive thoughts that challenge the negative ones.
One’s senses can help them calm down while they feel anxious in any situation. For some people trying to look at photographs that give them a sense of happiness or using a particular scent that can help to distract them from the negative thoughts and reconnect with more positive ones can help to kill the anxiety at the moment.
How to manage social anxiety using other methods?
Like other physical conditions, even social anxiety has different approaches for its management and treatment. Some people might only need a single type of treatment while others might require a combination of approaches.
Some of the ways to manage or treat social anxiety disorders are:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular situation that they usually fear in a graded manner.
It usually starts with exposing the individual to a situation that is least triggering when the individual gets comfortable with this situation introduced or exposed to them with each session individuals become comfortable with a real-life situation that is otherwise anxiety-provoking.
As the name suggests group therapy usually involves two or more individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.
It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same condition or fears they might not feel left alone or isolated.
This kind of therapy also helps in developing and maintaining social skills or techniques to interact with people in other social settings.
Social anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health professional. There are different types of anxiety medications each with its benefits and side effects.
Individuals with social anxiety can also seek therapy online. This would involve interacting with the therapist one-on-one over an audio or video call.
Some individuals with social anxiety might be more comfortable seeking help through this mode than others while in a different case some might prefer face-to-face therapy sessions.
Joining Toastmasters can be beneficial for individuals with social anxiety who are ready to take steps to deal with it. However, the initial few days might be torturous for individuals due to the nature of the program designed at toastmaster.
People with social anxiety must also consider other therapy options and self-help strategies to overcome their social anxiety so that they can function optimally.
Frequently asked questions: Can Toastmasters help to manage social anxiety?
Does Toastmaster help with social anxiety?
Many individuals have reported Toastmasters as an initial step to overcoming their social anxiety. This is mainly due to what they accomplish in their time with Toastmaster.
Are toastmasters good for shy people?
Toastmasters are considered to be very helpful for extremely shy individuals. It works even better when there is a senior mentor who guides a shy individual. The atmosphere at toastmaster club is very encouraging and supportive it helps to build the confidence of the shy individuals
Are toastmasters good for introverts?
The answer to this is yes. Toastmasters can be good for introverts and those who do not open up in social gatherings.
Is it worth joining Toastmasters?
Joining Toastmasters can be completely fruitful and beneficial for individuals who are trying to make connections, develop good communication skills, overcome their fear of public speaking, and also express themselves.