Social anxiety leaves you feeling afraid of being judged or embarrassed, usually to the point that you avoid any social situation that makes you feel nervous, whether at work, around your family and friends, and other social events. The good news is that there are plenty of simple ways to cope with social anxiety:
Learn All You Can About Social Anxiety, Whether Online Or Through A Book
This might seem a little obvious, but this is something that really helped me. Once you’ve done some research on social anxiety, you’ll be reassured that you aren’t crazy or weird but that you are actually experiencing something that is a real condition. Not only that, there are numerous ways to treat this condition. The more you learn about social anxiety, the more you’ll realize that you don’t have to continue living this way.
Join A Support Group, Forum Or Simply Read Some Discussion Boards
Knowing that there are others feeling the way that you do is an incredible comfort when you feel alone in your social anxiety. Even if you aren’t ready to join a group or forum where you have to participate, read some discussion boards and look at all of the people who deal with the same feelings you do or react to social situations the same way you do. Find out what other people like you do to overcome their social anxiety, and you might be better prepared to cope with your own fears, as well.
Prove To Yourself That You Really Aren’t The Center Of Attention
I have to always convince myself that people are not watching and judging my every move. But still, I sometimes feel like I’m on a stage, even in my backyard. One way to cope with this is to look around to see how many people are actually looking at you, and you’ll see it’s probably not that many. You will find that most people are surprisingly focused on their own immediate surroundings, and not watching you.
Practice Making Eye Contact And Returning Greetings
If you’re passing someone and they say hello, don’t be afraid to make eye contact and return the greeting. Smiling is one of the easiest things to do when passing someone. You don’t even need to look directly in their eyes for them to smile back a lot of times, and that is a very simple, yet rewarding, social experience.
Participate In Hobbies Or Other Activities That Interest You, Such As A Crafting Class
I like this idea because it gets you out in a safe environment with other people. In most classes, the instructor will be the center of attention, and conversation will usually revolve around what you are learning or doing. This is a great way to meet people with similar interests and possibly create some friendships.
Take Care Of Yourself
The better you feel about yourself, the easier it is to deal with social anxiety. Try to exercise and eat healthy, or whatever makes you feel good about yourself. Sometimes, it’s as simple as putting on makeup and doing your hair. Positive affirmations are also a really good tool to help reinforce that you’re ok and you’ll be ok.
Try To Get Enough Sleep
Did you ever notice how much harder it is to be around people when you are sleepy? You are more irritable when you are tired, and your mind doesn’t work so fast! Stay well rested, and you’ll feel more sociable and have a clearer mind to think when conversing.
Stop For A Moment And Just Breathe
When you get anxious about a social event, your heart starts to pound in your chest, you breathe faster, and your mind races to keep up. Force yourself to stop for a moment and breathe deeply. Allow your body to take a break from the stress.
Use Positive Self-Talk When You Get Anxious
Reassure yourself that the unpleasantness you are feeling will be over soon; tomorrow, this will be just a memory. Tell yourself you can do it. Remind yourself that you always exaggerate the worst in social situations and always seem to survive these situations. Also, remember that other people may be slightly anxious, too. In other words, you’re not alone and will be ok.
Use Positive Imagery When You Get Anxious
This is probably different for everyone, but I think of it as picturing the social situation turning out well. Picture yourself happy and sociable and being able to set aside your social anxiety and inhibitions. After you’ve talked yourself up, put on your confident face and walk confidently.
Keep Up On Current Events
Discussing the weather is a bit cliché, but it is an icebreaker that will get your conversation going. Knowing what’s going on in the world gives you a variety of topics to discuss with the person you don’t know very well. Everybody seems to have an opinion on everything, so give them a chance to share it and discuss it.
Learn To Give And Take Compliments
If you have something nice to say to somebody, let him or her know. You’ll make their day and feel good about yourself, too. If somebody compliments you, don’t make them regret it by putting yourself down. Practice accepting compliments and letting the person know you appreciate it.
Demonstrate Your Interest In The Other Person During Conversation
Instead of putting all the attention on yourself during the conversation, ask the other person about their family, hobbies, job, etc. This takes a lot of pressure off of you, while showing the other person that you care about what they have to say at the same time.
Make A Joke When Things Get Ugly
Laughter does wonders in easing tensions between you and the people around you. If you catch yourself saying something that you wish you hadn’t, laugh about it. Find a funny way to verbalize your feelings. “I can’t believe I just said that.” This is a great way to make light of a situation that could have ended up bad or super embarrassing.
Get Professional Help
Social anxiety is a real problem that can only get worse if you avoid it. A professional can prescribe you medications to help for the short term, and therapy for the long term. Perhaps if you are able to discover once and for all what causes your anxiety, you can confront those feelings and eliminate social anxiety forever!
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