Our anxiety sometimes stops us from being around other people. It can lower our self-esteem and hide the love we have inside for others. Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time. However, for some, this feeling can become constant.
Are there ways to manage this? Yes! Here are 11 simple ways we can manage our anxiety when in public:
1.Understand your triggers
When we are anxious in public, there may be certain situations that trigger our anxiety. For example, some people feel anxious when they have to go shopping and they have to interact with the customer service staff. Others feel anxious when they are out with friends and they have to speak up and talk about their opinions. There are many different situations that cause us to feel anxious in public.
The first step is to become aware of what triggers us to feel anxious when we are in public. For example, if you know that you get anxious when you have to go shopping at a big store, then you could take a friend along with you or ask your partner or family member to go shopping with you so that you don’t have to do it alone.
It is important to know what sets off your anxiety. Once you have identified your triggers, take steps to avoid the same in the future.
2.Focus on the present
When we’re in the midst of anxiety, it can be very difficult to focus on anything else. But when we practice mindfulness – moment-to-moment awareness – we can reconnect with what’s happening around us.
The challenge is that when our minds are racing, we may not be able to calm them down. We have to learn how to work with our mind, rather than try to control it.
To be mindful means paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Paying attention can be easy when we’re feeling good, but much more difficult when we’re distressed. In fact, distress is often accompanied by intense thoughts and feelings that can make us feel out of touch with reality. With practice, however, we can learn to observe all experiences with curiosity so that they don't control us.
Try not to get too caught up in worrying about things that haven't happened yet. Instead, focus on what's happening right now and breathe deeply when you feel stressed out or anxious.
- Take care of yourself
People who struggle with anxiety are often told that the best way to overcome it is to face their fears head on. But for some people, this approach can feel overwhelming, and this is where other methods of managing anxiety come in.
For example, practicing self-care techniques can help us manage our anxiety when we're out in public. For example, having a healthy diet and exercising regularly gives us the energy we need to get through the day. This has been shown to reduce stress and improve sleep, which are important factors in managing our mental health.
Also, self-care helps us to recognize the importance of taking care of ourselves and those around us. When we're feeling anxious or stressed out about a situation, it's easy for us to feel like we need help from someone else. But if we focus on taking care of ourselves first before reaching out for help, then we'll be better equipped with coping skills that will allow us to manage our anxiety when faced with stressful situations again in future.
4.Take deep breaths
Deep breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, is a powerful anxiety-management tool. It helps us to slow down and focus on the present moment by turning our attention away from anxious thoughts and toward something more constructive.
Diaphragmatic breathing works by encouraging us to relax our bodies and pay close attention to what's going on around us in the present moment — an approach that tackles both problems at once.
The important thing is to focus on our breathing and make sure we're inhaling and exhaling very slowly. Once we've done this a few times, we'll start to feel more relaxed and at ease with whatever situation may be causing us anxiety.
5.Remind ourselves that we aren't alone in our thoughts or feelings
When we feel anxious in public, it’s easy to think we’re weird, different or alone. We wonder why we’re so afraid when everyone else seems fine. We freeze up and say nothing while everyone else makes conversation.
Reminding ourselves that we aren’t alone in our thoughts or feelings can help us manage our anxiety in public. We can remind ourselves that many people are also nervous, but they just have learned to cope better with their nervousness than we have.
This is what I call the “other people trick”:
If we see other people talking and laughing together, then chances are they were nervous at first too. They may still be nervous but just don’t show it as much as we do.
If we see other people walking confidently around the place, then chances are that they were scared inside at first too. They may still be scared but just seem more confident than we do.
Knowing that others were nervous at first too can give us confidence and motivation to keep trying to connect with them, even if it feels difficult at first. It can also help us get a better sense of what public places are like so that next time it will be easier for us to join in.
Meditation is the practice of focusing your mind on a single point of reference. A popular form of meditation is mindfulness, which is a way of paying attention to the present moment in a non-judgmental way. Meditation involves calming your thoughts and emotions, embracing silence and being fully aware of yourself and your surroundings. Meditation is not associated with any particular religion or spiritual belief.
Meditation helps us find peace and contentment within ourselves. It gives us the ability to control our thoughts, feelings and emotions instead of them controlling us. This makes us stronger when dealing with anxiety in social situations.
Some studies have shown that meditation may reduce depression, improve memory and concentration, and help people manage chronic pain better than painkillers do. Meditation also helps relieve stress and lower blood pressure.
- Prepare what we want to say ahead of time
With enough practice, we can become more comfortable in social situations, even if they cause us some anxiety. If we can prepare what we want to say ahead of time, that can help us to manage our anxiety when in public. It might be helpful to write down a few key points or bullet points on a notecard so we can refer to it and make sure that we are hitting all the important information. We might also jot down some questions to ask the other person so it gives us something specific to work towards rather than having to think about what we need to say off the cuff. Since a lot of people find it much easier to talk about themselves than others, questions like “what do you like about your job?” or “What did you enjoy doing when you were little?” are good ways to steer the conversation toward the other person.
- Write down your thoughts
The thought of speaking in public is enough to give many people nightmares. Just hearing the word “public” can make some people feel anxious and nervous. But, there are ways to manage those feelings before they get out of hand.
One way to do this is by writing down your thoughts and feelings. Writing down your thoughts can help you gain control over them, as well as lead you to discover root causes of your anxiety.
Research has shown that writing about your thoughts and feelings allows you to organize them better and gives you more emotional distance from them. This helps you gain control and reduces the anxiety that comes with it.
There’s more good news! Researchers have found that the benefits are even greater for people who are prone to anxiety in public situations such as public speaking or performing on stage. These individuals usually experience excessive worry, heightened arousal (anxiety), self-consciousness, and negative thinking when placed in stressful situations, such as public speaking.
But researchers were able to show that those who wrote about their feelings before engaging in a speech had lower heart rates while giving their speech compared to those who did not write before the speech. This means that writing helped calm their worries and ease their anxiety.
Outlining your speech is especially essential if you perform in front of a big audience, during a company presentation, or a Ted talk performance. Practice the speech before the performance by reading it out loud over and over again. You can participate in training programs and workshops to master your skills for more serious preparation. TEDx speaker coaches with appropriate experience will teach you the best ways to structure your talk and the audience attention capturing techniques.
- Call a friend
Research shows that simply calling a friend can help us to manage our anxiety when we are in public. This is because when we connect with the people who matter most to us, our body’s stress response, which causes us to feel anxious, is dampened.
In a study by the University of Chicago, researchers found that when participants were asked to make a speech in front of an audience and then call either their best friend or a stranger afterwards, calling their best friend had a more profound effect on decreasing anxiety than calling a stranger. Additionally, those who were told to call their best friend felt less anxious just anticipating their conversation before their speech was even made.
Why is this the case? The researchers believe that the simple act of connecting with someone who is important to us can help us feel more secure and safe in any situation. When we are anxious, we are perceiving danger, possibly through threat of embarrassment during public speaking or fear of vulnerability in relationships.
- Listen to music
Many of us are anxious people, and that can make it hard to get things done in public—especially if you have a big project on the horizon. But taking action is the best way to combat anxiety, and there's a super easy way to get up the nerve to take care of business: listening to music. It's not just your imagination that music makes you feel more at ease, either: there's actually science behind it. From altering our brain chemistry to helping us perform even under pressure, listening to music may be just what we need to face those anxieties and go out into the world.
As anyone who's experienced medical treatment can tell you, a little bit of music can go a long way toward brightening an otherwise dull or uncomfortable experience. This is because certain kinds of music can release dopamine in the brain, which reduces pain and helps us relax—and sometimes even increase productivity! According to researchers at McGill University, this occurs because dopamine promotes “positive reinforcement,” which means that when we listen to a song that increases its release, we are motivated by this reward to listen again.
- Play a game with yourself
We can all relate to the experience of anxiety in public places. Whether it's a business meeting, an interview, or a first date, being put on the spot in front of a group of people can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming. One way to cope with this is through using games. Games are great tools for managing anxiety because they help us to relax and focus our attention on something other than the stressor we are facing. We've all used our fingers to count down till we take off on a plane or played “eenie meenie” between two outfits before going out—these are both ways of helping us get through the anxiety by distracting ourselves from it.
Playing a game can help us focus on what's truly important in any given situation. For example, if you're at a business meeting and you're feeling anxious about presenting your idea, playing a game like “staring contest” with yourself (where you try to see who can be still for the longest) might help you to focus on the goal of getting your idea across clearly, rather than stressing about how everyone else will perceive you.
The key is to remember that anxiety is part of our emotional and mental landscape, and there will always be other people we encounter who may pose these challenges to us. By taking a certain amount of control over our thoughts and reactions, even in a small way, we can lessen the impact of our anxiety on us.
For more helpful and informative insights, visit here.