It’s completely normal to feel more anxious than usual when leaving the house to socialize, just as it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or out of your element in large crowds. However, if these nervous feelings persist and cause you significant distress, you may have a social anxiety disorder.
We’ve all experienced the sense of being anxious or uneasy in a social environment. Perhaps you’ve developed sweaty hands before giving a large presentation or clammed up when meeting someone new. While giving a public speech or walking into a room full of strangers might not be for everyone, most people can get through it.
When you have social anxiety, you feel anxious in particular social circumstances to the point of being overwhelmed. You might be too anxious to talk to strangers, or you might be so afraid of saying anything inappropriate that you avoid social situations completely. Shyness, which is a feeling of discomfort or embarrassment in some social circumstances, is not the same as social anxiety. When you have social anxiety, you feel uneasy on any social occasion, no matter how large the group is. If this describes you, this blog will be extremely beneficial. Here’s how you can overcome your social anxiety.
What does social anxiety look like?
- Having trouble speaking
- Fear of judgment
- An excessive word about appearance
- Fear of humiliation
- Fear of being found boring
- Avoiding social situations
How to cope with social anxiety?
Looking for strategies to feel more at ease in social situations and more easily engage with others? These practices are a good place to start.
1. Find out specific situations that trigger your anxiety
Everyone’s symptoms of social anxiety are different.
You may feel uneasy in any circumstance when you are concerned that people will judge you, such as ordering meals in a restaurant or leaving a class lecture to use the restroom. On the other hand, merely being among others could make you feel OK – as long as they don’t require you to express your opinions or speak out.
Identifying why and when you are most worried will assist you in taking the initial steps toward overcoming those feelings.
2. Visit a therapist
Despite what some may believe, social anxiety is more than just shyness or apprehension around new people. It’s not always possible to work through the symptoms of social anxiety on your own because it’s a mental health problem.
Seeking professional help is always a smart place to start. Gradual exposure therapy, which is one possible treatment for social anxiety, provides a safe environment to practise handling anxiety-provoking situations.
3. Take your focus off yourself and shift it to others around you
Instead of focusing on what’s going on within your head, try focusing on what’s going on around you. This can be accomplished by paying attention to what’s being said or reminding yourself that others can’t tell how worried you are just by looking at you. Focus on being present and become a good listener since people like it when others act sincere and interested.
4. Challenge your thoughts
It may appear like there is little you can do about how you feel or think at times. However, there are a number of things that can improve.
Reducing the symptoms of social anxiety can be as simple as challenging your mentality and negative ideas. Begin by noticing the worried thoughts that arise spontaneously when you consider social situations. After that, analyze and challenge these ideas. Analyze why you think this way and whether your first reaction is truly reflective of how you feel or if you’re simply presuming the worst. Changing your way of thinking is a long process with no quick fixes, but a mind is a strong tool, and it is feasible.
5. Practice talking with your friends or family
All those negative effects you’re concerned about? Practicing how to deal with them in advance will make you feel more prepared to deal with them if they arise during a conversation.
Role-play several daily discussions with a trustworthy friend or family member.
Ask your conversation partner to offer varied positive, negative, or neutral reactions to acquire a better understanding of the best- and worst-case scenarios.
Don’t let social anxiety dull your shine.
Understand that you are not alone if you suffer from social anxiety. It affects a lot of people. Talk to your doctor about treatment options if you experience exceptionally high anxiety and fear of social situations. Social anxiety can lead to depression, drug or alcohol issues, school or work troubles, and a poor quality of life if left untreated. Always remember… Just because you are struggling, doesn’t mean you are failing.