If you tend to avoid social situations because of the anxiety they cause, you might be able to make yourself feel more comfortable around others by doing nice things for the people around you.
Photo by Lili Vieira de Carvalho.
A recent study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, and led by Dr. Jennifer Trew and Professor Lynn Alden, suggests that performing acts of kindness reduced the participants’ fears of rejection. Reducing that fear made it easier for those participants to put themselves in social situations and interact with others. Trew explains:
Acts of kindness may help to counter negative social expectations by promoting more positive perceptions and expectations of a person’s social environment. It helps to reduce their levels of social anxiety and, in turn, makes them less likely to want to avoid social situations.
Essentially, if you do nice things for the people around you, you worry less about those people creating negative social interactions; which in turn, can make you feel more confident about being around people in general. It never hurts to be nice to others, but it might help with your social anxiety too. You can learn more about the study at the link below.
Kindness reduces avoidance goals in socially anxious individuals [Motivation and Emotion via PsyBlog]