Everyone feels foolish, embarrassed, judged or criticised at times, but this becomes a problem when it undermines their confidence and prevents them from doing what they want to do on a daily basis. Social anxiety and shyness are crippling, but there are methods and treatments that can be priceless, which are laid out wonderfully in this book. Before we get into it, let me tell you a little bit about my illness.
I’ve been experiencing anxiety (and social anxiety) since high school… We won’t go into how many years ago that is now but, let’s say it’s quite a few! I didn’t know back then what it was I was feeling or that there was a name for it. I tried dismissing my anxiety for a long time by hiding it away and not dealing with it for many years until I started to develop panic attacks which forced me to wake up to the needs of my mental health and take action, which I try to practice daily with the help of books just like this one.
Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness is extremely straightforward to read given that it breaks everything down into chapters from explaining social anxiety and where it comes from, to changing thinking patterns and building up confidence. There is also a helpful index at the back of the book for reference. One of the first points Gillian Butler makes is how close and relative social anxiety and shyness are, but also how they’re different in terms of how its viewed both culturally and medically. I found that Gillian Butler covered so many aspects of social anxiety from a base level to how you can act, so that social anxiety does not need to be that monster under your bed you’re too afraid to look at and face.
The most helpful aspect of the book for me was the relaxation and mindfulness chapter. It is packed with essential information on how to learn to relax not only the mind but body too. For anyone with social anxiety relaxation feels as foreign as a fish breathing air but Gillian gives some tips and techniques to help, including muscular exercises to ease the tension we may not even know is happening when we get anxious. I couldn’t find anything I didn’t find helpful within the pages other than, at first, the volume of the book may seem a little daunting until you start to read and then realise you’re halfway through the book already!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone that struggles with social anxiety or shyness as with the sheer amount of helpful topics that are covered, you would be hard-pressed not to find at least one aspect of information useful to you. In my experience, knowledge is key to understanding how we think and then act when dealing with social anxiety and this well-thought-out book will give you the right start in gaining control again so that you can reshape your own reality for the better.
I’m delighted to give this book a mindful 5 out of 5.
Rachael is a video games and mental health journalist. She lives in Northern Ireland with her cat.
This title presents a self-help manual for social anxiety, and explains why it happens and sets out practical methods of resolving it.