Social anxiety is sometimes called a social phobia because it will affect you in social situations. Usually, sufferers of social anxiety will find that it starts in their teenage years.
While some people with social anxiety may improve with age, other people will find that it won’t go away without treatment.
Usually, these treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, self-help guides, or medication. In many cases, the different methods of treatment are merged.
Some people don’t want to do CBT or would prefer to have more control over their healing. That’s why they go down the route of self-help guides.
We’ve compiled the best books for social anxiety, which should help you understand how you can recover from your issues (see also ‘How To Bounce Back From Anything‘).
We’ve found five of the most highly regarded books online to help you decide the best book for you. We’ve then summed up the Pros and Cons of each book with a better idea of the treatment included.
Many people mistake social anxiety and shyness. Up to 40% of people consider themselves shy when they most likely have undiagnosed social anxiety.
If you get nervous in social situations, you may have been told to get over it somehow. But in reality, that’s more difficult than you would think.
In this book, Dr. Ellen Hendriksen describes what social anxiety is and how you can rewire the way you think.
It works because Dr. Hendriksen herself has suffered from social anxiety and dedicated her career to helping others overcome it.
With her help, there’s a chance that you can finally move past your own inner critic and become your authentic self in social situations.
- Friendly and Funny Writing Style — Dr. Hendriksen speaks in a conversational style that doesn’t talk down to her audience.
- Utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy — Utilizes techniques from cognitive behavioral therapy but in a way that works for those who don’t have the time for CBT.
- Focuses on Thought Narrative — How To Be Yourself focuses on changing the way you think and silencing the inner critic.
- Long-Length of Book — How To Be Yourself is a longer book, with a length of 320 pages. So you need to dedicate time to it.
- Not an Individualized Approach — There’s a generalized approach to how the treatments work, so the treatments won’t work for everyone.
- Self-Motivation is Needed — If you don’t have self-motivation, the treatment won’t work. This can be difficult for some people, especially if motivation dwindles (see also ‘Your Best Book For Discipline‘).
Essential Strategies For Social Anxiety: Practical Techniques To Face Your Fears, Overcome Self-Doubt, And Thrive
Essential Strategies for Social Anxiety from Alison McKleroy is about experiencing social connections throughout life without anxiety holding you back.
In this book, you’ll find an effective toolbox that will help you face your fears and become more confident in social situations.
Utilizing a variety of exercises, you’ll find a mixture of cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and mindfulness (see also ‘Why Mindfulness Is Like Having A Superpower?‘).
Even if you’re not sure what will work, this book is full of exercises for everyone, regardless of how much social anxiety affects you.
With advice, that’s easy to follow and everyday examples of how these techniques have helped others, you’ll be able to enjoy your social life once more.
- Utilizes ACT, CBT, and Mindfulness — A selection of different therapeutic techniques can help you find the right one for you.
- Individualized Approach — With the workbook, you’ll find you can make an individualized plan that will ensure that the techniques work for you.
- Anecdotal Evidence — Many stories of success and how using these techniques has worked in others’ everyday lives.
- Works Best Alongside Therapy — The techniques included in the book may work better for those who are already seeking therapeutic treatment.
- Exercises Require Process — You might need to process some of the therapies, so you will need to apply the treatment to yourself.
- Workbook Style — This style is effective in helping readers put principles taught into practice in their lives. It may be seen as additional work, but individual effort is required for change to happen.
Recommended by therapists, The Shyness and Social Anxiety Workbook is written by Martin M. Antony and Richard P. Swinson.
Antony and Swinson have worked together to develop a wide-reaching program to help anyone struggling with social anxiety and shyness.
There are new research studies and treatments included, along with mindfulness-based treatments.
You’ll have access to activities in the workbook that will help you evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses as you progress.
You can make your own personalized plan, where you will be able to use the treatments in this book to address your social anxiety and multiple symptoms.
- Expert Authors — Both Swinson and Antony are experienced professionals with access to expert information. They have been deep in the research and recommended treatments for decades.
- In-Depth Research Helps Understand Techniques — There are various techniques in this book, including CBT and mindfulness. The research helps the reader understand how they can best utilize each technique.
- Individualized Program — The program is different for each person and can be personalized as you see fit.
- Time Investment — To get the results that you desire, you need to invest a significant amount of time into the techniques used.
- Exercises Require Process — Many of the treatments require time to process them. It’s all about applying the treatment to yourself instead of generalizing.
- Long-Term Dedication — Many of the exercises are best suited for those who have the dedication to find out more or are also going to therapy as well. These individuals also reap the reward of living a better life with less social anxiety from this long-term dedication.
Overcome Social Anxiety And Shyness: A Step-By-Step Help Action Plan To Overcome Social Anxiety, Defeat Shyness And Create Confidence
Overcome Social Anxiety and Shyness is a research-based self-help workbook that provides a step-by-step action plan to help you.
The book is targeted at those who struggle with social anxiety and has been unable to work through it with other books.
Not only is it practical, but it is both effective and also includes evidence.
In this book, you’ll learn how social anxiety develops and build a foundation to change this. You’ll be taught how to manage your anxious thoughts and be confident in social situations.
Along with a workbook, there is also further access to extra resources such as audio and online. Overall, the steps included will help those with social anxiety and other social phobias.
- Utilizes CBT and Mindfulness — Included among the techniques used are cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to change the way you think.
- Anecdotal Evidence — Incorporates findings from research studies so you understand how it helps and why.
- Easy to Read and Understand — Offers practical advice without talking down to his audience, making it accessible to most readers.
- Long-Term Dedication — The treatment in this book won’t work unless you maintain a regular process.
- Exercises Require Process — The exercises need to be processed by those who read the book.
- Generalized Approach — This doesn’t offer an individualized approach, and although there are workbooks, it tends to work for most social phobias.
Most people are affected by social anxiety in their teens, and in some cases, they grow out of it. However, that doesn’t change how difficult it is to handle social anxiety.
In this book, teenagers are given both clinically proven techniques and real-world exercises to help them. After all, adolescence is difficult enough without the pressures of social anxiety.
Using a mixture of brain training, straight talk, and positive thinking, teenagers can develop their own plans they can use at school and home.
All it should take is ten minutes of work a day, and this book will reduce stress in a manner that’s easy for teenagers to understand.
- Utilizes Effective Techniques — Use cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness techniques to help teenagers overcome social anxiety.
- Written For Teenagers — This book is solely targeted toward teenagers, making it easier for students in that age bracket to understand.
- Minimal Time Investment — All teenagers need to do is take ten minutes out of their day to apply what they’ve learned.
- Long-Term Dedication — The treatments given won’t work unless the workbook is maintained on a daily basis. Techniques may be learned and incorporated into their daily routines, but they must be maintained to continue to be effective.
- Targeted At Teenagers — The recommended age group is for those who are between twelve and seventeen. Certainly, others would find useful information and techniques, but much older readers may find other books much more helpful.
- Doesn’t Take Learning Disabilities Into Account — Some teenagers do struggle with writing or maintaining long-term goals. The book doesn’t take into account those who also struggle with learning disabilities that will prevent them from taking everything in. But even with many disabilities, you would still find very useful techniques to guide you to a better place with less social anxiety and increased confidence.
We’ve helped you to decide which book is best for you by establishing this buyer’s guide. Here, we’ve compiled the major factors that have helped us decide on the books in this list.
Social anxiety impacts different ages, from teenagers to adults. While children can also be affected, it can be more closely seen in teenagers and adults.
We’ve helped by including whether a book is specifically targeted at teenagers or adults.
In some cases, the length of the book or even the time to do each exercise can impact your decision to buy the book.
If you need to spend a lot of time reading it or doing workbooks, you may be spending more time than you want to study.
If you’re looking for short-term exercises that can help you in specific situations, you may find it more difficult to commit to them.
Some people may not have chosen therapy due to it being a long-term commitment or because they have other issues.
Does It Consider Additional Needs?
Some people may struggle with committing and maintaining a regular schedule due to learning disabilities.
Even teenagers may not read as well, so relying on workbooks that require specific language and commitment may not work.
Some people may not have chosen therapy due to the amount it costs or because of a waiting list.
So knowing the type of techniques used can help any readers understand what they expect from their work.
Knowing whether cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, and/or mindfulness (see also ‘Mindfulness: A Complete Guide’) can make the process easier.
Generalized Or Individualized Approach?
In some cases, you might prefer to take an individualized approach. However, you’ll also find that some of these books are catered to a more generalized approach to using techniques.
If you would rather be able to make your own approach that would only cater to you, other plans might not work.
Everyone has different ways of processing information. In some cases, it gets more difficult with social anxiety. This journey is a process. Despite any difficulties in processing information or crafting workable techniques to suggestions provided, this journey should put you in a better place with each step that you take. Optimism will be developed with the effort given and the steps taken to continue the process.
If you’re struggling with social anxiety, you may find that some of the exercises require you to process how the issue affects you. You should become more skillful as you begin to examine the subject and see how specific issues impact you. This processing and the related discoveries are often the paths to your healing.
Your treatment will require you to be fully engaged in the process. When you remember that it is a journey, you will achieve more success in your treatment and lessen your social anxiety and the symptoms you suffer. With your success, you should begin to experience more confidence in social settings and begin to feel more at ease in most social encounters.
Easy To Understand
Nothing is worse than when you have to read through a complicated science workbook. All books presented here are easy to understand and provide skillful explanations from experienced practitioners dealing with these issues.
You may be confident that no matter your range of understanding on these different topics, these books are readily understood. Quality information from highly trained and experienced professionals, including relevant research, helps us understand how to treat our social anxiety.
Evidence-Based Research Studies
Not everyone will believe the evidence will work without any examples or how they can utilize the treatment in real-life scenarios. Research studies help show the hows and whys of specific behaviors and interventions.
If you know how treatment works, you may find that it is easier to use these examples to provide feedback for your own responses.
Does It Include A Workbook?
Depending on how you process information, you may find that the workbooks can show how you progress. Workbooks provide exercises to help apply the information and often provide additional information to help you process and provide a fuller understanding of what you are trying to accomplish.
If you find that organization and written works help you, then a workbook can be a welcome addition to your process.
Works As A Companion To Therapy?
Some people may buy self-help books as a companion alongside their own therapy treatment.
Some of these books are recommended if you want additional support alongside therapy. However, they may not be understood if you haven’t taken part in therapy sessions before.
Along with commitment, motivation will be a significant factor for anyone who wants to read these books. Having the motivation to start and continue helps ensure the treatments help you make the desired changes.
Even as you may struggle with social anxiety in some form, the courage to start and the motivation to continue will help you find better places mentally. Your journey will help you lessen your anxieties and increase your social confidence. Patience is required, but progress should encourage you to continue with determination.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder is a persistent fear of being watched and judged. It can easily affect your school life or even your work life.
You might struggle to build and maintain relationships, but the good news is that it is treatable.
Do I Have Social Anxiety, Or Am I Just Shy?
Many people confuse shyness and social anxiety. If you have social anxiety, you might feel nervous in social settings but could present yourself as confident and extroverted.
However, shyness is more apparent and often appears as a situational emotion.
What Does Social Anxiety Feel Like?
Social anxiety is when you worry about doing anything that you could feel is embarrassing in front of others.
You might find it challenging to do things when others are watching, or you feel you’re being judged all the time.
In most cases, you try to avoid eye contact and have low self-esteem due to a fear of being criticized (see also our article on personal integrity).
Are You Born With Social Anxiety, Or Does It Develop?
Social anxiety typically appears when you’re either a child or in adolescence, but some develop it later in life. A difficult childhood and subsequent adolescence often provide fertile ground for various social anxieties and deep insecurities.
In most cases, it is biopsychosocial, thus being a combination. It’s born from a mixture of biology, psychology, and environment.
What Are Some Causes Of Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety can be caused in myriad ways, and it usually appears when you’re a teenager. You may be more prone to social anxiety if you are bullied, abused, or have a difficult home life.
In some cases, you might develop social anxiety if you endured maternal stress during pregnancy, infancy, or even divorce.
Often, it tends to be caused by circumstances in your environment and biology.
How Can You Fix Social Anxiety?
In some cases, you might be able to alleviate your symptoms by learning stress-reduction skills and leading a healthier lifestyle. You may be able to create your own upward cycle as you alleviate certain symptoms and move to a better place; you generate your own self-confidence to lessen additional symptoms. With the reduction of one or two social anxieties, you may soon feel more normal and more readily move into social settings that you would have avoided only months before.
You can even alleviate them by participating in social situations that you would otherwise avoid. If these don’t work as fully as you desire, you can always get help by talking to a therapist or a doctor for advice. Being fully engaged in your quest to lessen your social anxieties is the best starting place when you engage with your mental health professional.
Your journey would be to lessen as many symptoms and move toward a fuller life. Often times individuals experience incremental progress from even the first few sessions.
If you have one or more social anxieties, it may feel hopeless until you realize the many options. It will be a challenge to recover from it. But with many resources and even more options, help is close by to help you move to a better place.
Getting the correct help to treat your social anxiety helps you leave that place where your social life is painfully awkward. You may be constantly reminded of your inability to be around people or many social settings. If that’s the case, these books can help treat your symptoms.
The good news about social anxiety is that it’s treatable. It’s not something that you have to learn to live with forever.
If books and other resources don’t help you make the progress you need, you might benefit from consulting a therapist, doctor, or both. In many cases, books are the first step to treating social anxiety, and these are the best ones to start with.
The books suggested here help you to begin your journey toward a better place for you. They can help you to lessen your social anxieties and help you realize what options are available for your healing. Move to a better place with a better understanding of the process and your options by choosing one of these books to start your journey.