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How To Deal With Social Anxiety at Work—Quick and Long-Term Methods

How To Deal With Social Anxiety at Work—Quick and Long-Term Methods

If you feel apprehensive about interacting with colleagues at work, be it during presentations, meetings, or even casual conversations, you’re not alone. Social anxiety affects a significant number of individuals in various professions.

While this type of anxiety can be a hurdle that affects communication, teamwork, and productivity, there are several effective ways to manage it. We’ll explain how to deal with social anxiety at work using different methods to help you move through your workday with confidence and ease.

Recognizing the Causes and Symptoms of Social Anxiety

Recognizing the factors contributing to social anxiety at work is the first step to managing it. It entails understanding two key aspects:

  1. Common triggers of workplace social anxiety
  2. Symptoms of social anxiety

Common Triggers of Workplace Social Anxiety

Workplace social anxiety can be triggered by various situations, each unique to the individual. Some common reasons for feeling anxious at work are:

  • Personality traits—Certain personality traits (like being introverted or highly self-conscious) can make you more susceptible to social anxiety at work since you might find it challenging to engage in group discussions or networking events, which are common in many workplaces
  • Past negative experiences—Negative experiences in the workplace, such as a failed presentation or a difficult conversation with a colleague, can create a fear of repetition, leading to heightened insecurity in similar scenarios
  • Workplace dynamics—Individuals working in a competitive or high-pressure work environment might constantly feel the need to prove themselves, leading to increased stress and anxiety
  • Fear of evaluation—The fear of being negatively evaluated by colleagues or superiors can trigger social anxiety, especially during tests, performance reviews, or team meetings
  • Lack of familiarity—Starting a new job or taking on a new role can lead to feelings of social anxiety due to unfamiliar tasks or environments

Understanding these triggers can help you identify when you might experience unease at work and develop strategies to manage it effectively.

Symptoms of Social Anxiety 

Social anxiety can manifest in different ways at work, but the symptoms are generally physical or psychological. Check out the table below for more details:

Physical Symptoms

Psychological Symptoms

  • Excessive self-consciousness in meetings or presentations

  • Intense worry before social events

  • Fear of being embarrassed or judged by colleagues during meetings or social events

  • Avoidance of social situations

  • Rapid heart rate before or during work-related events

  • Trembling or shaking when addressing colleagues

  • Dry mouth during presentations or speeches

  • Nausea before or during social events

Using Beta-Blockers To Cope With Occasional Anxiety

Source: RDNE Stock project

Beta-blockers are primarily prescribed to individuals with angina, irregular heart rhythm, and high blood pressure, but they can also be effective in alleviating the symptoms of social anxiety. The two well-known beta-blockers are:

  1. Atenolol
  2. Propranolol

Check out the table below for more details about these drugs:




Typically prescribed to patients with

High blood pressure, chest pain, heart attack

Tremors, chest pain, high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorders



  • Tablet

  • Extended-release capsule

Available doses

  1. 25 mg

  2. 50 mg

  3. 100 mg

  1. 10 mg

  2. 20 mg

  3. 40 mg

  4. 60 mg

  5. 80 mg 

  6. 120 mg

  7. 160 mg

Typical dose for anxiety

50 mg, taken two hours before a performance

10–40 mg tablet, taken two hours before the stressful occasion

Suitable for pregnant women



How Beta-Blockers Work

Beta-blockers suppress the action of epinephrine (also called adrenaline), a hormone our bodies produce naturally. Epinephrine acts on adrenergic receptors throughout your body, stimulating a response that prepares your body for a “fight-or-flight” situation.

For instance, when you’re about to give a presentation at work or engage in a challenging conversation with a colleague, your body might release this chemical, leading to symptoms like rapid heart rate or trembling hands.

Beta-blockers counteract this effect by attaching themselves to adrenergic receptors and preventing adrenaline from binding to them. This results in a slower heart rate and lower blood pressure, which can alleviate the physical symptoms of social anxiety. By doing so, beta-blockers can help you feel more calm and focused in these high-stress situations.

When To Use Beta-Blockers for Social Anxiety

Beta-blockers should be taken as needed, typically two hours before stressful events. If you only experience unease on specific occasions, such as during presentations, team meetings, or performance reviews, these drugs can be a viable option. Still, you can only get them with your doctor’s prescription because a medical professional must assess your health status to determine whether these medications are safe and effective for you.

The main challenge is that taking medications for performance anxiety is still stigmatized, so most people find it challenging to open up about their needs, making it difficult to seek help and get the necessary prescription.

With telemedicine clinics, you can consult healthcare providers from the comfort of your home. Kick has been a game-changer in the industry, especially for those grappling with social or performance anxiety.

Kick—Your Ally in Dealing With Social Anxiety at Work


Kick provides a private, safe, and convenient platform to discuss your concerns and get the help you need. Here’s how Kick’s performance anxiety program can help you regain control in stressful work situations:

  • Access to safe and effective medications—Kick provides access to propranolol and atenolol, which can help reduce the symptoms of social anxiety and allow you to feel more calm and focused on your work
  • Convenient, discreet packaging—Kick respects your privacy when dealing with health issues, so your medication is delivered in packaging that doesn’t reveal what’s inside
  • Ongoing supportKick’s doctor schedules regular check-ins to monitor your progress, adjust your treatment plan as needed, and answer any questions you have concerning the program

Getting Started With Kick

Kick’s performance anxiety program has a bounty of positive reviews on Trustpilot from individuals who have benefited from it, demonstrating the program’s effectiveness in helping people cope with situational nerves:

My wife introduced me to Kick knowing I was heading to a company training event where I knew I would have to get up and speak in front of a class of 30 to 40 people, which I am not comfortable doing. When that time came, I was more comfortable and handled the situation with a bit more ease. I would definitely recommend Kick to anyone encountering these same type of situations.”

Frank Coletta, U.S.

To benefit from Kick’s program, follow these three steps:

  1. Visit the signup page to start your 10-minute consultation
  2. Complete the questionnaire to fill us in on your health status and specific anxiety issues
  3. Add your payment and delivery details

Kick’s team will assess your situation and get back to you in a day. If Kick’s doctor decides you’re not the best candidate program, you won’t pay for the initial consultation, according to our Doctor Guarantee.

Source: Fox

Common Side Effects of Beta-Blockers

Beta-blockers carry the risk of side effects, but patients who stick to their doctor’s instructions rarely experience them. Common side effects of beta-blockers include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Cold hands or feet
  • Dry mouth, skin, or eyes
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Dizziness or light-headedness

Rare side effects of beta-blockers that some patients might experience are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble breathing
  • High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • Swelling of the hands, ankles, or legs
  • Vivid dreams 
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heartbeat

If you experience unwanted reactions while on beta-blockers, inform your doctor immediately.

Using Long-Term Methods for Coping With Social Anxiety at Work

If you experience chronic social or generalized anxiety disorder, you may need more extensive treatment. Four long-term methods for managing this condition are:

  1. Behavioural experiments
  2. Mindfulness techniques
  3. Cognitive restructuring
  4. Acceptance and commitment therapy

Behavioral Experiments

Behavioral experiments involve a process of gradual exposure to anxiety-inducing situations at work, coupled with observation of your reactions. The aim is to desensitize yourself to these situations over time and build confidence in your ability to handle them. If speaking up in meetings triggers panic, you could start by asking a question or commenting in a small team meeting. Once you’re comfortable with that, you could try sharing an idea in a larger meeting. The gradual exposure and observation process helps decrease your anxiety over time.

Mindfulness Techniques

Practicing mindfulness can be particularly helpful during high-stress work situations. Here’s how to do it if you’re feeling anxious about a presentation:

  1. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths
  2. Focus on the sensation of inhaling and exhaling
  3. If your mind starts to wander to your fears about the presentation, gently refocus on your breath

This method can calm your mind and body, reduce anxiety, and help you stay focused during the presentation.

Cognitive Restructuring

Cognitive restructuring involves identifying and challenging negative thought patterns that contribute to social anxiety. If you often think, “I’m going to mess up this presentation” before a big meeting, you could challenge this thought by listing all the times you’ve successfully given presentations at work. This process helps you develop a more positive and realistic view of your abilities, which can reduce anxiety and improve performance at work.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a therapeutic approach that encourages individuals to accept feelings of unease as natural responses to certain situations rather than viewing them as problematic. If you feel anxious about leading a meeting at work, instead of trying to suppress or ignore these feelings, you acknowledge them and allow them to exist without judgment.

ACT can also involve identifying your core values at work, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Teamwork

You then commit to actions that align with these values, regardless of the anxiety they may provoke. If creativity is a core value for you, you might commit to sharing your innovative ideas in meetings, even if this triggers your social anxiety. Over time, this can help reduce the power of social anxiety over your actions, allowing you to perform effectively in your role.

Source: fauxels

Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Beyond the mentioned strategies, maintaining a healthy work-life balance can also help you cope with social anxiety at work. Some helpful tips include:

  • Prioritize self-care—Engaging in relaxing activities, such as reading a book, practicing yoga, meditating, or taking a walk in nature, can help reduce overall stress levels, making you more resilient to social anxiety triggers at work
  • Prioritize activities—Effective organization and prioritization of tasks can reduce feelings of being overwhelmed, a common trigger for social anxiety
  • Take breaks—Regular breaks can prevent burnout, keeping stress and anxiety levels in check

If social anxiety at work persists or if it spreads to other areas of your life despite employing these strategies, seek help from a mental health professional.

Featured image source: Henri Mathieu-Saint-Laurent