Quick Tips to Make People More Aware of Social Anxiety
Are you looking for easy ways to increase social anxiety awareness? Below I’ve listed 20 easy ways I thought of to help get the word out.
1. Get a tattoo
Consider a semi-colon tattoo or other mental health-related tattoo, or choose something meaningful in terms of social anxiety, such as a reminder to “breathe” or stay grounded in the moment. If a permanent tattoo is not your thing, consider a temporary mental health awareness tattoo.
2. Display a bumper sticker
Choose a bumper sticker to support social anxiety awareness. Again, you could go with something general related to mental health, or choose something specific. If you can’t find anything, you can even create one yourself on sites such as Zazzle or Cafepress!
3. Wear a t-shirt
The best social anxiety awareness campaign ever was when social anxiety advocate Marla Genova wore a t-shirt to Disney World that said, “Ask me about my social anxiety.” While you might not be feeling that brave, there are tons of other t-shirt ideas that you could wear.
One word of caution: I’m not a fan of t-shirts that make fun of social anxiety or downplay how serious mental health conditions can be. Only wear a funny shirt like this if you are prepared to also have serious conversations and acknowledge that mental health is no laughing matter for many people.
I also don’t think it’s helpful to wear shirts that encourage poor coping strategies, or socially anxious behavior. While there is an “introvert revolution” going on (and that’s fine—I support that!) this isn’t about a social anxiety revolution. A t-shirt that says “I hate people” isn’t doing much to help anyone. A more subtle option like this one might be better.
4. Use a mug
Use a mug that promotes mental health awareness. A simple one that says “Hold on, let me overthink this” gets the message across and opens you up for conversation.
5. Wear a bracelet
Wear a bracelet that helps to raise awareness of social anxiety. This could be a simple silicone bracelet like you see for many charity campaigns or it could be a fancier bracelet. Even just wearing an aromatherapy bracelet can be a conversation starter to help you talk about social anxiety. Not all awareness campaigns have to be blatant and obvious. Your goal is always to make people curious and want to learn more.
6. Share awareness campaigns on social media
There are many awareness campaigns about mental health. If you see one being promoted on your social media, instead of ignoring it, like, share, comment, etc. You might be surprised who among your friends list likes your post…. and that means you may have just helped someone fee less alone.
7. Start a blog
This might go in the “bit more work” column, but it’s entirely possible for you to start a mental health blog if you live with social anxiety, and in fact, I encourage you to do so!
I see altogether too many people lamenting on social media about how their social anxiety prevents them from working. Starting an online business not only will help to spread awareness, but you can also earn a full-time income (and more) if you stick with it and put in the work long-term.
8. Share a book
I’m biased here, but I’d love it if you share my free social anxiety workbook with anyone who might be struggling. This workbook is based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and gives an overview of how to use them in your life to manage social anxiety. It’s a small way that you can spread awareness and again, possibly help someone.
I don’t volunteer often, but when I do, it’s usually to act as a chaperone on field trips for my children’s school. Why do I choose the field trips? I think they are fun. I go back to my childhood and pretend I’m on an adventure. (I try to monitor the kids too, don’t get me wrong). On field trips I’ve gotten to learn how they make maple syrup, attend a play, visit a nursing home, go to a waterpark… and the list goes on.
How can volunteering raise awareness about social anxiety? If you volunteer for a charity that helps people with social anxiety you will be making a difference. One example of this is the Andrew Kukes Foundation website.
10. Run a 5 k
I’ve run several 5k’s in my life that were geared towards raising awareness for one cause or another. While there aren’t likely any 5k’s specifically for social anxiety, I’d bet you can find one for mental health. For example, I know that the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a regular walk to raise awareness.
11. Write a guest post
If you do become a mental health blogger, and even if you do not, consider writing a guest post for a larger organization. An example of this is the guest post that I wrote for the Mighty about why I think teenagers should not be required to do class presentations. (Side note: I was playing Devil’s Advocate in that article: I’m not totally against presentations given the right supports).
12. Observe awareness dates
As I mentioned that are many mental health awareness dates throughout the year. Write these down in your planner or calender, and when the dates roll around, share a relevant article on your news feed.
13. Use awareness ribbons
A very simple way to raise awareness is to pin a mental health awareness ribbon on your jack, backpack or other item. If someone asks what it represents, have a response prepared that explains a bit about social anxiety.
14. Ask people how they are doing
The very simple act of asking people how they are doing if they seem to be withdrawing from people can be profound. Not everyone will open up, but you will have at least expressed your concern and given that person the chance. You never know what people are going through in their personal lives, and you might be the only person who cares enough to ask.
15. Share your own story
If you’ve lived with social anxiety yourself, consider sharing your story when it’s relevant. This is particularly effective if you’ve managed to overcome your anxiety and have strategies to share with other people.
16. Join Facebook groups
I belong to a couple of Social anxiety support groups on Facebook and I’m constantly amazed at some of the things that people are not aware of. For example, one mother came into a group and described how her son was able to speak at home but could not talk at school.
Members of the group immediately told her about selective mutism, and she was so glad to have found a name for what her child was experiencing. If you have knowledge about social anxiety, you probably have wisdom that you can share with other people online.
17. Read about it
Read books, articles, and other media about social anxiety to keep up to date on available resources, treatments, etc. This not only prepares you to talk with others and raise awareness, but it will also probably help you overcome your own social anxiety.
18. Watch out for bullying
If you are a parent, know a child, or just hang out where bullying might take place, keep an eye out for it (this could be in person or online). Recognize the signs of bullying and take action. Educate others on what bullying is and what to do if they become a victim. Bullying is known to make social anxiety worse, so it’s important to raise awareness of this problem.
19. Follow celebrities
There are certain celebrities who have talked publicly about living with social anxiety. Be sure to follow them online to help them in their own awareness campaigns.
20. Share this website
Finally, I’d like to humbly ask that you share this website with the people you know. One easy way to do this is to follow my Facebook page where I post articles daily. If an article resonates with you, consider sharing it yourself. The more people that this site reaches, the easier it will become for everyone to talk about social anxiety.
What about you? Feel free to share in the comments ways that you’ve increased social anxiety awareness with your family, friends, or community.