7 Tips To Overcome Social Anxiety
Making friends and enjoying the company of others is an important part of life. It improves your quality of life and can bring happiness. Good social skills can help you land a good job, meet the love of your life and create long-lasting friendships! But, what if you suffer from social anxiety?
Do social events trigger your anxiety? Does meeting new people make you nervous? Does your heart begin to race at the thought of having to stand in front of an audience and speak? Do you get cold chills or avoid eye contact when you meet new people?
These signs are common symptoms of social anxiety. If you are uncomfortable in social situations, you’re not alone.
Concerns about public speaking, visiting new places, or meeting new people are common fears. According to a 2013 study widely reported in the London Times, most of us fear speaking in public more than we do dying or going to the dentist!
Social anxiety is usually trigged by some of the following situations:
- Eating in front of others
- Using public washrooms
- Starting conversations
- Small talk
- Going to work
- Attending parties
- Making eye contact
- Speaking in public
- Talking to strangers
Social anxiety is not being shy. Social anxiety is a paralyzingly fear of social interaction that leads to life-altering avoidance of every day situations. You miss out on life because you are so afraid of judgement, being awkward or being stared at.
Wouldn’t it be nice to carry on a conversation with ease? And meet new people? Or take charge at work?
If you’re experiencing social anxiety for more than six months, it may help to talk to a therapist to work through your fears and work to overcome them!
BetterHelp offers affordable online therapy, so you can speak to someone in the comfort of your own home! And their therapists are trained in the most effective therapy for social phobia- cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
CBT for social anxiety consists of 12-16 weekly sessions in which you are gradually exposed to triggering situations, while learning relaxation techniques and other coping skills.
While BetterHelp is not free, it’s a fraction of the cost of in-person therapy sessions. They are fully licensed and trained professionals in the mental health field so you know you’re getting the very best help.
BetterHelp therapists have helped many people overcome their social phobias so they were able to enjoy social interactions again! It really can change your life!
How To Overcome Social Anxiety
There are plenty of positive ways to cope with the anxiety you feel in social situations.
Try these steps to build your courage and overcome your social fears:
Practice positive visualization. It really starts with your mindset, which is something you have the power to change. Many of the fears that we face in social situations involve imagining the worst thing that might happen. Practice imaging the best thing that could happen the next time you feel nervous in a social situation.
- When you replace a fear with a positive vision, you put the power of your subconscious mind to work for you rather than against you.
Avoid stimulants. Caffeine, sugar, and alcohol can all increase the amount of anxiety you can feel during a social situation. Limiting their intake and following a healthy diet will increase your sense of wellbeing.
- Try to get a good night’s sleep the evening before an upcoming social event. You’ll be well rested and less prone to anxiety the next day.
- Avoid the temptation to drink alcohol excessively at social events as it can contribute to feelings of anxiety and stress.
Learn to relax. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s not impossible and it really works once you give it a try. Discover how to focus on your breathing. Take slow, deep breaths and consciously relax your muscles.
- Yoga, Tai-Chi, and meditation are all excellent disciplines that can help teach you how to relax and naturally lower your anxiety levels. Try to meditate before social events to relax and calm your mind! Or repeat some mantras on your way to a gathering.
Practice interacting with others. You can feel more confident by practicing what to say and do in various social situations. You may have to force yourself to get out there, but practice makes everything easier and more comfortable!
- Focusing on others in social situations will also help reduce your stress. This takes the focus off of you, along with some of the pressure!
Repeat positive affirmations. Rather than focusing on the things that you feel are flawed about yourself, focus on your positive qualities and traits.
- There is incredible power in the spoken word! Create your own affirmations by making lists of your positive traits and repeating them out loud to yourself each day.
- Examples of affirmations to decrease your anxiety are statements such as: “I can handle any social situation because I am brave,” or, “I enjoy meeting new people and interacting socially with others.”
Make sure you’re comfortable. Wear comfortable clothing that you feel good in. Take care of yourself and your appearance so you feel confident and not more embarrassed. Remember to SMILE. A smile instantly makes you look and feel more relaxed and happy. Remind yourself that we are all human, and all the same.
If you go in to a social event happy and positive, you’ll likely attract positive experiences and maybe even end up making some great connections!
It can be difficult to cope with social anxiety, but it is not impossible. The more you practice these methods, the easier it will be to overcome your anxiety so you can enjoy people and make connections!