Not many people talk about social anxiety, and in fact, some do not even consider it as a social problem. But truth be told, social anxiety can actually be a significant factor behind stress and depression. It can be severe to such an extent to even cause feelings of low self-esteem and sudden panic attacks. Surprisingly, people suffering from this nerve wracking fear of social situations do not talk about their illness and continue living with it. However, there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and if you too have social anxiety, then it is okay and normal as this is a common phenomenon in most people and can be cured.
For those who seek help and wish to overcome this disorder, here are some tips to help you fight back social anxiety.
- And breathe.
Do you often start contemplating thoughts about a future event or situation way before its right in front of you? If yes, then all you need to do is ‘calm down’. The reason why you often feel anxious at social gatherings and around people is because you’ve already formed a negative image of that situation in your head. So whenever such a thought strikes your mind even slightly, start to breathe. Breathing steadily impacts your heart rate and thoughts directly. Also, exercise regularly, as it makes your mind and body feel better and keeps you healthy too.
- Talk and share.
When you hide your feelings from people, you become more anxious. It is therefore advised to be vocal about your feelings and share them with your friends and family. Tell them what you think about certain things, your likes, dislikes and interests. That is how you first open up in front of people close to you, and then in front of other people at a party of a social function. Even better, when you start to feel shy or anxious, just say it to people and let them know. This way it becomes a little easy for you to get the fear out of your head.
- Confront your fear.
If you’ve been avoiding social situations till now, we recommend you stop doing so right away. When you run away from your fear, it grows stronger and runs towards you. Getting away from problems can work for a short period of time, but won’t help you out of this social anxiety disorder. So face your fears. Start by going to small gettogethers with friends and family, and meet new people. That way, you would always have someone by your side and this exercise wouldn’t seem much of a burden.
- Embrace imperfection.
Always remember! We live in a world where ‘nobody is perfect’. So stop picturing yourself inside your head as an ‘ideal human being to be’. Because you cannot be one. No matter how hard you try, not everybody is going to like you all the time. Even you do not like everybody, right? So why expect? Just be who you are and accept your imperfections.
- Distract yourself.
People suffering with social anxiety often keep thinking about what the other person would think about them. And that’s when a sudden fear grips you. You get red in the face and your hands start sweating. To avoid all of this, distract yourself by looking around. You may notice the wall colors, the people around, what they’re wearing, how they are talking, and the like. Even better, order some food if you’re at a restaurant and indulge into eating. This way, you won’t be worrying about what the person sitting opposite to you might be thinking about.
- Initiate a conversation.
This might seem like a big challenge. But trust us, it’s not. All you need to do is keep confidence in yourself and find topics to talk about. Develop curiosity in yourself and ask questions to the other person – may be about their personal life, work, hobbies, etc. You can even talk about general topics like politics, animals, weather, cities and cultures – topics, which even the other person would be interested to talk about. When you successfully do this, you’re almost close to overcoming your anxiety issue.
- Stay positive.
Keep calm and remind yourself that you’re doing this for your betterment. Stay positive and think about all the good things in your life. Every time you successfully face your anxiety, reward yourself with something special.
So practice these tips regularly, and you’ll get rid of your anxiety disorder in no time.