Social anxiety is more common than most of us realize. Around 80% of us have experienced it at some point in our lives. In this episode, Dr. Ellen Hendriksen shares her insights into social anxiety, including how it is experienced by different sorts of people, and how we can reduce its impact on us. She explains about safety behaviors and how they can work against us in overcoming anxiety, as well as addresses specific anxious behaviors, such as avoiding eye contact. As she explains, a little social anxiety isn’t anything to worry about. It’s when social anxiety causes us to avoid certain situations or interactions that we should be concerned.


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Social Anxiety Show Highlights:

“’Shyness’ is just an everyday colloquial way of saying ‘social anxiety.’” ~ Dr. Ellen Hendriksen

[1:37]   What’s the difference between social anxiety and shyness?

[4:15]   Social anxiety with introverts & extraverts.

[5:58]   The two lies of social anxiety.

[9:49]   How do we lessen the impact of social anxiety?

[15:23] Writing the book on social anxiety.

[21:29] Looking social anxiety in the eye.

[26:32] What are safety behaviors?



About Our Guest

Dr. Ellen Hendriksen is a clinical psychologist on the faculty at the Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders (CARD) at Boston University and the author of How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety.  She self-discloses that she lives with social anxiety.  Her podcast, Savvy Psychologist, averages 20,000 downloads per episode.  Ellen’s scientifically-based, zero-judgment approach is regularly featured in Psychology TodayScientific American, and The Huffington Post. Ellen earned her Ph.D. at UCLA and completed her training at Harvard Medical School. She lives in the Boston area with her family.

Follow Ellen on Facebook and Twitter.


About The Psych Central Show Podcast Hosts

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar and anxiety disorders. In addition to hosting The Psych Central Show, Gabe is an associate editor for He also runs an online Facebook community, The Positive Depression/Bipolar Happy Place, and invites you to join.  To work with Gabe, please visit his website,




Vincent M. Wales is a former suicide prevention counselor who lives with persistent depressive disorder. In addition to co-hosting The Psych Central Show, Vincent is the author of several award-winning novels and the creator of costumed hero Dynamistress. Visit his websites at and