There are countless great reasons to start a DIY crafting project. However, people with social anxiety have unique challenges. Would crafting benefit them in ways that help them with their social anxiety disorder? Yes, it can. Here’s what it’s like to have social anxiety disorder and how a hobby of crafting can boost your mental health and improve your social comfort.
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is a mental disorder that is characterized by fears, nervousness, or avoidance of social situations. If you read about social anxiety, you might notice that this disorder comes with several types of symptoms. You might experience physical symptoms like blushing, sweating, dizziness, and rapid heart rate when you’re trying to interact with others socially. You might also have behavioral symptoms like avoiding social settings or skipping work or school. And, you might have racing thoughts or feel like your mind is blank. Finally, there are the emotional symptoms of feeling nervous, self-conscious, or self-critical.
How Crafting Can Help You Deal with Social Anxiety
If you have severe social anxiety, the best thing you can do is talk to a mental health professional about it. They can help you recognize thoughts that increase your anxiety and teach you to decide if those thoughts are realistic and helpful. If not, they can guide you as you choose new ways to think about social situations. A therapist can also teach you calming techniques to use when you are feeling anxious.
But before, during, and after seeking treatment, you can also use crafting as a way to improve your mental condition. Here are just a few ways DIY crafting can help you.
Provides a Ready Topic of Conversation
Sometimes, people feel socially awkward because they cannot think of anything to say. But if you are involved in making interesting crafts, you have a ready topic of conversation. You can not only talk confidently about what you are working on, but you can also ask others what types of crafts they like. Once the conversation is started, you may find that you have forgotten your fears.
Focus on Actions Rather Than Worries
Doing a craft with others is a good way to spend time together without worrying so much about the social interaction part of the situation. You are using your hands, and your mind is focused on following the instructions. If you create your own DIY project, you are even more centered on the nuts and bolts of how it will come together. Focusing on actions rather than fears may feel like a very natural way to be more at ease if you have social anxiety.
Interact with Others Over a Shared Interest
Being with others is always less stressful if you share an interest in common. So, why not join a crafting group with other like-minded individuals? In the group, you can practice your social skills at the same time as you create something wonderful for yourself or someone you care about.
Every time you accomplish something, you build your self-confidence. When you decide to take on a complex DIY crafting project, you start by setting goals for what you want to accomplish. Then, when you meet those goals, you experience the satisfaction of knowing that you completed it successfully. And, if you are crafting with others, you build confidence as you interact with them during the project.
Creating do-it-yourself crafts alone probably won’t cure your social anxiety disorder. To get the relief you need, therapy is likely the best answer. However, along the way, you can rely on crafting as a way to boost your self-esteem and practice engaging with others in a comfortable way. The most important thing is that you take whatever steps are necessary to feel more at ease and meet your social needs.