I'm not sure when social anxiety became the Number one issue for the millennial's that I mentor. I would guess I started seeing it grow a lot between 2005 and 2010.
You might think it was connected to new waves of terrorism and mass killings endlessly portrayed in the media but I believe that place is very minor role in this issue. The real challenge, I believe, is the amazing virtual World these young adults have created for themselves, Usually in their bedrooms.
The amount of"FaceTime" or real-time interactions that these young people have have dwindled two an embarrassing absence in their lives. I don't believe they're even aware of this until they're confronted by the seemingly impossible thought of going"Out there" into the real world.
To become a life coach for young adults with social anxiety we must find ways to help them feel safe taking one step at a time out into the world and then back again.
Let me give you an example of eliminating social anxiety:
Skeeter was someone with very low self-esteem who kept taking dead-end jobs afraid to hope for anything good. It would be a study in itself to explain how would determined he was clinically depressed and needed meds and that he needed to go to some close acquaintances who desperately needed the skills he had to help grow their business. Suffice to say it was done but his absolute fear I'm simply going to get his favorite drug(Columbian coffee) at the local groovy coffee den required some unusual work on our part.
For those who have been doing the training with me, you know that we have a daily routine. On Skeeter's daily routine was going out for 5 minutes down the street and coming back. After about several months where it never happened, I decided we would go on the walk together. Of course I am on Skype with him about 2000 miles away, so our little journey into the streets of Boulder, Colorado would be me on my screen and him having me on his headphones.
It worked! Oddly enough he would be dressed and ready to go out in subsequent sessions for our "walk". Then one time he needed to get his prescription filled and so having me in his ear helped him get past not feeling that everybody was watching/judging him. Another success. (I could never get him to drive to his favorite coffee places on his own).
Fat forward to six months later and we are going out each session to a new coffee boutique. (He is a coffee aficionado). At the last one, I said (into his ear) ask the Barista how the job is going. Is he enjoying it?
This started a whole chat and the barista threw in the espresso shot.
So we are hanging in the coffee shop while Skeeter is drinking his coffee. I am talking and he is texting me so it doesn't look to creepy to outsiders.
Ken: So, you really learned how asking people about themselves pays off and lets you feel less inspected.
Skeeter: You are so lucky that that happened on the first time.
Ken: The free espresso?
Skeeter: Mm-hmm (all being texted by him)
Ken: True but I knew it would happen eventually.
Skeeter is now getting coffee at the shops every day. (I think I created a ultra-caffeinated monster 🙂