The simple act of walking through a shopping centre can be a pleasure for some (what luck – a sale!) and a source of anxiety for others. Especially if you feel as though you are the centre of others attention, being evaluated (negatively) by others.
This is known as a self-referencing error – believing that you are in the spotlight, the object of everyone’s attention, especially your faults! It is very common in social anxiety. Most people will experience it at some time – try sitting in a crowded restaurant at a table for one! For some, it can become debilitating.
Strategies to avoid the ‘spotlight’ e.g., wearing certain clothes, avoiding eye contact (looking at your phone!), zipping in and out of the shops at rapid pace to avoid scrutiny – tend to increase the spotlight effect and with it, the level of anxiety for your next visit.
Treatment for social anxiety includes reducing ‘safety behaviours’ used in social settings, shifting attention from the self as a social object, and challenging problematic assumptions concerning interactions with others. At Walters Green Clinical Psychology Practice, we offer cognitive and behaviour therapy to address social anxiety. Call us on 38708191 to book an appointment