Best Books That Will Help You Overcome Social Anxiety
Do social situations make you anxious or give you a panic attack?
Do you care too much about what other people think of you?
Are you afraid that what you say or do will be judged by others?
People with social anxiety can’t help but worry if they say something wrong or have nothing to say when they are with others. And it’s not necessarily something to do with shyness or social awkwardness. They are afraid of being rejected by others.
Instead of withdrawing from social situations, below are books to help you cope and overcome your social anxiety. Choose the one which you resonate with the most.
Bonus: My Book on Loneliness and Isolation
Note: The way I look at my books will never be the same as the way I look at other books, so to be fair I rather keep them off the list.
Reconnect to Love by Yong Kang Chan
Do you often feel lonely and isolated too?
Social anxiety usually goes hand in hand with loneliness. When we have social anxiety, we find socializing difficult and might avoid it. But our lack of interactions with others can prevent us from developing meaningful relationships.
The good thing is you don’t have to resolve your social anxiety first to feel less lonely. The feelings connectedness and oneness with the world and others can be derived from the practice of solitude and spiritual connection.
This book will help you reconnect to the love that is always available to you from within and clear the psychological obstacles that prevent you from feeling connected to others in the first place.
10 Best Social Anxiety Books for Overcoming Shyness and Fear
Disclosure: Please note that the links below are affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase, but it will be at no additional cost to you.
1. Thriving With Social Anxiety by Hattie Cooper
Do you freak out when you have to go to networking or social events? Don’t know what to say when you are there?
The strength of this book lies in that the author lives with and successfully manages social anxiety. Rather than being a collection of technical strategies, reading this book will make you feel as though you are walking the path with a trusted friend who has been there and has knowledge to share.
But don’t let the relaxed approach fool you. The book is full of real life examples, tools and practical strategies for navigating anxiety-provoking social situations.
One unique feature is the inclusion of “celebrity” tips for coping with social anxiety. Great for anyone who is overwhelmed by more matter-of-fact or jargon-heavy books or simply prefers a more relaxed read.
2. The Shyness & Social Anxiety Workbook by Martin Antony and Richard Swinson
If you want to be more comfortable around people, this book is for you.
There’s nothing wrong with being shy. However, if it affects the quality of your life, your work or prevents you from making new friends, then use this book to help you overcome your fear and social anxiety.
As the title suggests, this book is written in a workbook format. So there are many exercises and questions to guide you in the right direction. This book is ideal for self-motivated individuals who likes to be hands-on or you can use it with a professional therapist.
3. The Solution To Social Anxiety by Dr Aziz Gazipura
If social anxiety is making you feel ashamed of yourself or making you think there’s something wrong with you, this is the book for you.
This book examines the core belief behind our social anxiety — “I am not enough”. Many times, the reason why we feel anxious about social situations is because we think we aren’t funny, interesting or clever enough.
In addition to that, we may have a fear of rejection. We are very concerned with what others think of us and our inner critic is always giving us a hard time.
This book helps you overcome these problems and improve your social interactions with others. It is ideal for anyone who wants social freedom and confidence.
4. Dare by Barry McDonagh
“I don’t teach anxiety management. I teach people how to heal their anxiety so they can get back to their living their life again to its fullest.”
This book isn’t about getting rid of your anxiety, it’s about getting rid your fear of anxiety. It approaches anxiety (of all types, including social anxiety) from the perspective of acceptance.
The DARE response is based on the idea that anxiety and panic are neutral responses that can be channeled in positive ways. Fear feeds anxiety and panic. So instead of staying afraid, this book helps you to replace fear with acknowledgement and acceptance. By reducing fear and irrational thinking, you will regain the control you once possessed.
If you are looking for a direct and simple way to deal with anxiety and panic, this is definitely the book for you.
5. Overcoming Social Anxiety by Thomas Richards
This book is a step-by-step therapy book for overcoming social anxiety disorder (SAD). If you are looking for a comprehensive guide, this is the one.
This book teaches you how to calm yourself down during social situation, accept who you are and challenge your negative thoughts. It also offers you techniques such as slow talk to slow down the voice in your head.
Based on the online audio and video program of the same title, this serves an accompanying handouts for the series. So you can use this book with the paid course or read each chapter individually like a blog post.
6. Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong by Kelly Wilson and Troy DuFrene
Unlike most other books, this book doesn’t focus on eliminating anxiety. Instead, it advocates
accepting anxiety and learning to live with it.
Thing doesn’t always goes as planned. Rather than changing your anxiety, why not change the way you view social anxiety?
If you are looking for insights beyond a step-by-step guide, this book will be suitable for you. Even though the book is grounded in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), it’s interactive and conversational. The authors also include simple games to help you understand anxiety better.
7. The 10 Best-Ever Anxiety Management Techniques by Margaret Wehrenberg
This book offers 10 strategies to help you manage your anxious body, thoughts and behavior. It focuses on the three most common anxiety disorder: panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
If you wish to understanding how your brain makes you anxious, you will enjoy the first couple of chapters. But if you don’t like to learn anything technical, you can just skip to the relevant chapters and techniques in the book.
The strategies offered in this book is specific and proven to help patients cope with their anxiety. The book is often recommended by therapists who treat anxiety.
8. When Panic Attacks by David Burns
Not everyone with social anxiety will have panic attacks. But if your social anxiety is so extreme that it causes you panic attacks, read this book.
Based on the principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), the author explains the anxiety and panic cycle as a function of our thoughts, feelings and actions. Anxiety and fear are never based on reality. They are created by distorted thoughts.
This book offers you over 40 proven techniques for dealing with a variety of fears, panic, worries and insecurities. Towards the end of the book, you can select techniques which are best for you.
Written in a warm and sometimes humorous manner, this book is most suitable if you want an effective plan to cope with anxiety and panic that doesn’t include the use of medication.
9. Quiet by Susan Cain
Social situations can be uncomfortable and fear-provoking for introverts when you don’t know what to say or how to interact.
This best-selling book explores several struggles that people with introverted personality face, including social interactions. Understanding the differences between introverts and extroverts can help you bridge the communication gaps and ease your social anxiety.
In addition to explaining the dynamics of being quiet in a noisy world, the author offers strategies and tools for learning how to manage one’s discomfort and engage successfully with others.
This is a great read for introverts or someone who finds it challenging to survive in social settings.
10. How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
Those suffering with social anxiety often lack the confidence to initiate or sustain interactions with others. This lack of confidence can result in the need to isolate socially to avoid those uncomfortable situations and risk of judgment by others.
If you struggle with this aspect of social anxiety, this book can help you overcome the discomfort of engaging others and build confidence in your social skills. It contains 92 tips to get the conversation started no matter the situation.
This book is most suited for you if you need help in social interactions.