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Anxiety: Good Deeds Increase Relaxation In Socially Anxious People

First Posted: Jul 01, 2015 11:30 PM EDT
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Science shows that you get what you give, and that's also true when it comes to doing good deeds and easing social anxiety.

Recent findings published in the journal Motivation and Emotion reveal that staying active, along with little acts of kindness, can help those suffering from social anxiety mingle more easily--displacing some of the insecurities associated with socializing.

Canadian researchers at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia studied 115 undergraduate students who experienced high levels of social anxiety. They were assigned to one of three groups for a four-week intervention period. One group performed acts of kindness, the second group was exposed to social interactions and not engaged in certain deeds and the third group participated in no specific intervention but was asked to simply record their daily happenings.

Findings revealed a greater overall reduction in patients' desire to avoid social situations; this effect was most notable in the initial phase of the intervention.

Furthermore, researchers found that this was particularly helpful in countering feelings of possible rejection and temporary levels of anxiety and distress linked to social anxiety.

"Acts of kindness may help to counter negative social expectations by promoting more positive perceptions and expectations of a person's social environment," said researcher Jennifer Trew of Simon Fraser University, in a news release. "It helps to reduce their levels of social anxiety and, in turn, makes them less likely to want to avoid social situations."

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