Social anxiety disorder can be debilitating. Everyday nerves can quickly turn into a genuine fear of socialization and natural thoughts about your appearance can spiral into an overwhelming concern about embarrassing yourself.
Unfortunately, global rates of generalized anxiety have skyrocketed in the past few years. A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report found that COVID-19 triggered a 25% increase in anxiety and depression as many struggled with isolation and financial fears.
There’s no “right” way to overcome social anxiety. However, you may find solace in music. Music and music therapy can be a catalyst for self-exploration, collaboration, and improved self-esteem.
Music therapy is a great way to overcome social anxiety. Music therapy is a well-established sub-field of psychological therapy and doesn’t require any previous experience. You don’t have to have extreme social anxiety to benefit from music therapy, either, as trained psychologists will adapt to your skills and interests.
You can benefit from music therapy even if you don’t play an instrument. Some music therapists offer services that revolve around dance or discussions about the music you listen to, while others help you vocalize your thoughts through song.
Music therapy can help you build community, too. Some therapists offer group sessions where you can bond with folks who share a common love for similar bands or genres. Sharing your thoughts in a safe space may even give you the confidence you need to step outside your safe zone and start a band yourself.
Writing for a Band
Playing music in a band can be a deeply rewarding and affirming experience. You’re sharing your inner self with other people and are using the medium of music to form social bonds.
However, before you start riffing with strangers, you should set clear parameters to ensure that everyone’s expectations are aligned. You don’t want to start a casual band only to discover that some members are intent on becoming full-time professional musicians. Make it clear that you’re playing for personal enrichment and encourage members to support each other.
The idea of playing in a band can be anxiety-inducing. However, sharing a hobby with trusted friends can be a great way to overcome social anxiety. You’ll quickly bond over your shared interest in playing music and may find that playing together gives you the strength to engage in other social events.
There’s no need to share your band’s creative endeavors publicly. However, sharing your music may represent an important step forward in overcoming social anxiety.
Sharing Your Creations
You do not have to share your music publicly. However, if you’re a goal-oriented person, then you may find performing rewarding.
Fortunately, you don’t have to sign up for “Battle of the Bands” or open mics in your town to share your music. Nowadays, it’s possible to live stream whenever you want to share your tunes or hear from an engaged audience.
Live streaming is particularly rewarding if you are a beginner. Going live on sites like Twitch is completely free and may even land you some extra income in the form of tips and donations. Just be aware that anyone can comment on your stream, so you’ll need to be resilient enough to handle some negative or unwanted comments.
Resilience and Self-Efficacy
Social anxiety is commonly associated with low self-esteem and poor self-efficacy. Lowered self-esteem can feed your social anxiety and cause a negative feedback loop.
You can use music to break the cycle of poor self-esteem and low self-efficacy. As a budding musician, you’ll gain important skills and see the value in self-development.
If it’s your first time playing music, consider picking up an instrument that is popular but easy to learn. Great instruments for beginners include:
- Tin whistle
- Steel drums
Utilize free tutorials and join supportive communities on sites like Reddit. You’ll find plenty of expert guidance for free online and can slowly develop your skills over time.
Once you find an instrument you enjoy playing, consider joining a musical group in your community. You’ll make quick friends with folks who play in bluegrass groups or informal big bands. Most groups are more than happy to accommodate beginners, too.
Consider recording yourself at least once a month to track your progress. It’s easy to underestimate your improvement when you are suffering from anxiety. Recording yourself will give you a physical record of your progress and can help you build self-belief.
Social anxiety has been on the rise in recent years. A trained music therapist can help you navigate your thoughts and behaviors or encourage you to venture outside of your comfort zone.
Playing music can be a great way to build your confidence and overcome social anxiety, too. Start small with beginner-friendly instruments like tin whistles and ukuleles. When you’re ready, consider sharing your music with others. Either join a band with trusted friends or consider live streaming to a digital audience.Don’t forget to share this post!
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