Everyone experiences social anxiety at times. But going about your regular activities can be challenging if you have a social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia. Considering how frequently social anxiety disorder is misinterpreted, many people may be suffering in silence. It involves much more than being shy and reluctant to speak up in large gatherings. It might seriously seize control and impede your daily life. In social situations, you might have much more self-consciousness and fear than others and suffer from low self-esteem.
But don't let fear keep you from living life to the fullest. There are several ways to deal with social anxiety disorder. Try these 15 ways below to help you feel better and get through the day. Also, realize that people sometimes need professional help to deal with social anxiety.
15 Helpful Ways in Coping With Social Anxiety
Going to a wedding, a crowded company party or even a large family gathering might be enjoyable for most people but terrifying for someone with social anxiety. It's devastating to have social anxiety. Although it may initially seem counterproductive, engaging in activities that make you socially anxious challenges the disorder and aids in your recovery. Here, we have compiled 15 helpful ways to help you cope with social anxiety.
#1. Challenge your negative and anxious thoughts
There may be instances when you cannot change how you feel or think. However, there are actually a lot of things that can be helpful. Changing your mindset and stifling negative ideas can help lessen social anxiety symptoms. Start by recognizing the fearful thoughts that come to mind when you consider social situations. Examine and challenge these ideas after that. Ask yourself why you think this way, if you genuinely feel this way, or if you are simply making a habit of presuming the worst. Though it takes time and there is no quick remedy, it is possible to alter your way of thinking because the mind is a strong tool.
#2. Give yourself a calming mantra
Saying a mantra might help you feel in control of a tense social circumstance. By focusing on chanting these mantras, you can divert your attention away from unpleasant, worrying thoughts.
Calming mantras don't need to be complicated or lengthy statements that are difficult to recall. Simple words such as “calm” or “you're cool” can significantly influence how positive thoughts and self-talk are encouraged. When a surge of negative thoughts appears, remain calm and consider them carefully. Create the question of whether the assertions you make to yourself are true or false, a relaxing mantra for yourself.
#3. Be mindful
You can be present and aware of your thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental and helpful way by practicing mindful awareness and being attentive. In a study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, researchers discovered that meditation impacted the activity in specific brain regions. Four 20-minute mindfulness meditation sessions were offered to participants with average anxiety levels. After mindfulness training, they discovered that anxiety levels could drop by up to 39%.
#4. Get yourself out there
While avoiding social and performing settings may be tempting, it's crucial to put oneself in risky situations and take risks. Attend those office events you would usually shy away from or muster up the bravery to strike up a discussion with a coworker.
Have a plan in place before you enter a social scenario. While you have no control over the circumstances, you influence how you respond to them. You could, for instance, try to pinpoint the locations and individuals that give you the most comfort. You should seek refuge in these persons or locations if you feel overwhelmed. You'll be more at ease and able to relax quickly in this manner. Alternatively, you might stay still and wait for people to find you so that you won't be overrun by a large crowd. As you gain experience, you can organize smaller groups first before expanding to larger ones.
Here's a list of things you can do to get yourself out there:
- Start a conversation with a coworker
- Ask a stranger for directions
- Accept a party invitation
- Ask a friend out for dinner
- Wear something you'd typically avoid or something that attracts attention
- Say hi to a stranger
- Keep a bank of conversation topics to bring up in a social situation
By journaling, you can improve your mental health and learn to manage your anxious thoughts. Keeping a journal to record these thoughts and experiences might be helpful when your mind is racing. Write down the reasons why you're nervous before attending a social function. Consider the worst-case scenario if you must, but go one step further and list what you could do to prevent it. Consider the truth of what you said or thought and the possibility that the scenario will actually occur as you dig further.
As you prepare for that stressful situation, seeing your thoughts clearly expressed in your notebook will help you cope with them more effectively. You can reflect on the experience and figure out what you could have done better by journaling about it after the event. For instance, you might note exchanges or circumstances that you feel could have been handled more skillfully. Writing down these little anecdotes helps you track your progress since it enables you to recognize when you're reverting to old behaviors and negative thought patterns.
#6. Adopt a healthier lifestyle to reduce anxiety.
Since the mind and body are intertwined, how you treat your body can significantly impact how you feel about yourself and how anxious you are. Making minor lifestyle adjustments can help you feel more confident and be better able to handle the symptoms of anxiety. Avoid or reduce your caffeine intake by delaying the consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Energy drinks have a stimulating effect and might make anxiety symptoms worse. Make it a point to be active throughout the day; even a quick stroll during your lunch break is a fantastic way to fit it in. Make physical activity a priority in your life.
Alcohol should only be used in moderation since it may seem to settle your nerves. It might increase your risk of experiencing an anxiety attack. Get enough good sleep, stay hydrated, and drink lots of water. Lack of sleep makes you considerably more prone to anxiety and might harm your mood. According to recent studies, sleep deprivation can really contribute to anxiety disorders.
#7. Act confidently
Adults who have severe shyness and social anxiety are in great numbers. Like you learned to ride a bike, you may learn to be more self-assured. Act with more assurance, and people will respond favorably. You don't have to be the popular kid or the focus of attention as a result. Simply said, you need to be more assertive. Initially, alarming things will start to feel better over time.
#8. Join a support group
You experience a sense of connection and comfort when you're with people who can relate to what you're going through. Ask a friend or relative who attends a support group for referrals, or maybe take a chance and sign up for one yourself. Some members of support groups have occasionally already conquered their social anxiety. They want to help you because they understand how it feels to be overcome by the disorder. You might pick up a few tips if they share their tried-and-true methods for managing anxiety.
Maintaining contact with a support group, whether online or in-person, helps you realize that you're not facing this situation alone. Find methods to help others and, if you can, do the same for those who are hurting. Find ways to support and encourage people who are overcoming social anxiety. This may give you more self-assurance as you approach them initially.
#9. Take a breath
Anxiety might manifest physically as a racing heart, thumping chest, lightheadedness, and tense muscles. You can regain control of your body by learning to take a moment and calm down your breathing. Simply sit down, make yourself comfortable, and take your deepest breath of the day, holding it for four seconds. After that, slowly exhale while exhaling as much air as you can. Once your breath begins to calm down to its regular rate, take another deep inhale, filling your stomach with air.
#10. Be kind to yourself.
Everyone feels embarrassed at some point in their lives since nobody is perfect. The struggle to overcome social anxiety is real. There will be instances when you think negatively and revert to old patterns. It's possible to feel more anxious than usual if you're exhausted or run down, but that doesn't indicate you've failed. Take a moment to breathe and put the strategies you've been working on into practice.
Try to overcome your shyness and social phobia; you should begin to feel more at ease in social situations. Knowing what to say when talking to someone can be really difficult. An awkward pause might occasionally seem to go on forever. You can progressively reduce your anxiety by approaching individuals.
#12. Applaud your efforts
People who have social anxiety often are very harsh on themselves. There may be things you wish you hadn't said or situations you want to go back and alter. Stop attempting to make everything perfect or imagine the ideal social occasion because these things rarely occur. Instead, give yourself room to make mistakes and then grow from them.
Try practicing self-compassion and praising yourself for your accomplishments instead of criticizing yourself. You can be confident that you made the most of your resources in this way. Motivate yourself to think and speak positively! Praise yourself for going to that social gathering or even for striking up a conversation with a complete stranger. Instead of altogether avoiding it, you made a move to calm your worry. That's cause for celebration.
#13. Seek treatment with a doctor
If your social anxiety is improving to the point that it significantly affects your daily activities and routine, or if self-help isn't working, seek professional assistance. Contacting a doctor is nothing to be afraid of. When you start talking about these problems, they might not be as frightening as they first appear. Social anxiety can seem like a very personal battle. The doctors are, after all, there to help you and won't be critical of you.
Doctors can adequately assist you in making the required changes to overcome social anxiety. The severity of your emotional and physical symptoms will determine their diagnosis and course of treatment. How much social anxiety is affecting your daily life is another important element. Rest assured that social anxiety can be managed. Doctors often prescribe a mix of medication and therapy, although in some cases, therapy is sufficient.
#14. Create an exposure hierarchy
Describe and rank your level of anxiety in each social circumstance. For instance, a score of 0 indicates little anxiety, while a score of 10 indicates a severe panic episode.
Make a list and note your feelings for each circumstance, no matter how trivial or significant. Asking a stranger on the subway for the time to enter a room at an event. It's crucial to record your forecasts on paper so that you can recall them when the time comes to really go through them.
#15. Face your fears
Face your worries as the last step. If you don't put yourself in circumstances where you feel uncomfortable, you will never be able to conquer social anxiety. You won't be doing yourself any favors or promoting personal development if you use avoidance as a coping mechanism.
Exposure therapy, or confronting your anxieties, has been proven helpful in treating anxiety disorders in numerous studies. However, research does indicate that exposure should be used sparingly. So start small and work your way up by engaging in social interactions or activities that only slightly make you anxious.
Coping with social anxiety is a long journey, and it takes time for new neural pathways for social interactions to form. Is your daily life consistently impacted by social anxiety? Then don't be afraid to look for expert assistance in whichever way you feel comfortable doing so. These are 15 helpful ways to help cope up with your social anxiety. Although it seems like an impossible obstacle, it's worth overcoming to live your life to the fullest.