5 Best Books About Social Anxiety Update 05/2022

Books About Social Anxiety

It can be very difficult for people with social anxiety to get along with other people, which is a very important part of most people’s lives. It’s very common for people who are socially anxious to spend a lot of time thinking about what might happen if they say something that’s a little weird. So I would have no idea.

People who are socially anxious can do things like be kind to others, play video games, talk with therapists, and do exposure therapy, which is when people make mistakes in front of people and see how the world and their lives don’t fall apart. Some times, it’s nice to just watch someone else go through what you’re going through, which is where some of these book suggestions come in.

For the homebody who’s sick of feeling guilty: How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, by Ellen Hendriksen

How to Be Yourself Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety, by Ellen Hendriksen

Ellen Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist who specializes in anxiety, and she hosts the podcast Savvy Psychologist. Her book is a mix of science, advice, and stories from real people who have social anxiety, and it’s very interesting. As someone who has social anxiety, Hendriksen’s writing has a layer of empathy because she’s been through the same thing. Despite what she calls the “Inner Critic” telling you, don’t worry about being judged. Be yourself, even if the “Inner Critic” tells you to be better.

Your true self is the person you are when you are with close friends, trusted family, or in a state of pure happiness. Under all that stress, you have everything you need. In this case, there’s nothing you need to fake or make up. You are enough as you are.

For the prolific texter who clams up IRL: Emergency Contact, by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency Contact is a sharp, funny, and adorable young-adult romance, but it’s also a great story about two people who have different levels of anxiety, both social and otherwise, and how they deal with it. The main thing they do is text each other for hours, at length, sometimes even after they’ve met in person. When it’s hard to express yourself in person, young people are used to doing so online or by text. This book is for people who have ever thought it was impossible for them to cross the technology barrier. The characters in this book will make you want to help them get over it, too.

“Penny rolled over on her back and smiled.” She thought about what to write back. The screen under her thumbs looked so shiny. It was so beautiful. This rose gold bracelet was in a black rubber case with the words “Whatever, Whatever, Whatever” on it. It was better than anything else she had ever had. It was a smiley face that Penny sent back.

For the super-shy teenager who needs an ally: Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey is a young-adult book written by the author of the Shopaholic series. It tells the story of a very anxious high school student, Audrey, who has agoraphobia after being bullied (which often coexists with social anxiety). Even though the author is Sophie Kinsella, the book is still very funny because it’s written by her. In the book, Audrey starts to fall in love with a boy named Linus. She has to face her fears and think about the “mean girls” who pushed her to this point, too.

The full diagnosis: “To put you out of your misery, here it is: Social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and episodes of depression. Episodes. Depression is like a TV show with a fun joke at the end every time. Or a TV box set with a lot of cliffhangers. A cliffhanger in my life: “Will I ever get rid of this crap?”

For those looking for social anxiety’s silver lining: Shrinking Violets: The Secret Life of Shyness, by Joe Moran

Shrinking Violets The Secret Life of Shyness, by Joe Moran

It doesn’t matter that this book is all about shyness. People who have social anxiety will still find a lot of things they can relate to here. When you read Moran’s book, you’ll learn about some of the world’s most famous and successful “shrinking violets,” like Charles Darwin, Charles Schulz, and Agatha Christie, as well as other people who were shy. While Moran is honest about the pain that can come with being shy, he also gives his readers hope and a new way of looking at things. Being shy may not always be a burden, but it can also be a gift.

In these lines, “Nature is messier than the human metaphors we use to describe it, and human shyness is even messier still.” Hermit crabs don’t all hide timidly in their shells, and this isn’t the best way to think about being shy. It is true that shyness can make us hide away from people, be tongue-tied, blush, and be subdued. But it can also make us the opposite of these things: awkwardly talkative, aloof, or good at wearing social masks.

For the socially anxious nerd with a lot of downtime (a.k.a. me): Others in Mind: Social Origins of Self-Consciousness, by Philippe Rochat

This is one of the more dense reads on this list, but it’s also one of the most interesting. In it, psychologist Phillipe Rochat places what he says is the source of all self-consciousness (which, in turn, leads to social anxiety) in human infancy. Comforting: If being self-conscious is human, and it starts when we’re very young, then we didn’t have much of a chance to get better at being ourselves. Rochat, like many of the other books on this list, tells us that we all worry about what other people think.

Sample lines: “It is part of the human psyche to think about other people.” In our minds, we have a hard time dealing with the representational ghosts of judging other people. Such ghosts are, by definition, imaginary or imaginary “figments of the imagination.” They aren’t real enemies that one can fight and deal with easily. They are thought-up things that often have to be done. Because this kind of ghost isn’t real.

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