5 Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety
When you have anxiety, interacting with people can be a difficult concept. You could be afraid you won’t know the right thing to say or that people will judge you for what you do say. Social anxiety is debilitating and persistent, causing you to focus on negative outcomes in social settings. It prevents you from envisioning good impressions and valuable conversation input.
As challenging as it may be, it is important to expose yourself to people in order to combat your social anxiety. Putting yourself in isolation will only increase any anxiety and depression you have. Being around people who make you happy will promote positive feelings and give you the confidence you need to put yourself out there more.
Here are five ways to overcome social anxiety.
1. Gradually Be Social
Take baby steps toward social situations. If being in a large group is too terrifying right now, hang out with one friend to begin. Ask to go out for coffee or a walk. If you feel confident with one person, expand that group to two more people, and then continue to let it grow. Keep repeating these types of hangouts until you feel comfortable going to a party with people who make you feel safe. You only need to mingle if you want. Being in a social setting is the first big step.
2. Give Yourself Check-Ins
Once you expose yourself to people, see how you are feeling. It is easy to focus on what you think went wrong. But, only focus on yourself and tell yourself that any negative thoughts you are experiencing is just your anxiety talking.
Check in with yourself using your five senses. See where you are, what you smell, any tastes, what you touch, and what you hear. Your senses ground you and help keep you from getting too caught up in your thoughts.
3. Analyze the Situation
When your social interactions are over, think about the takeaways. Did you get shaky or sweaty? Did you stutter when you talked or feel like running away? See what has worked for you and what has not so you can learn for the following situation.
Think about what has triggered a symptom so you can see what needs to change. Maybe if there are many people at a party, you can find a less crowded spot. If you are at a concert, find a seat in the back.
4. Use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is when you change your thinking patterns to improve your behavior. With social anxiety, you want to spot the patterns that make you want to avoid people or why you get very nervous around them. Think if you are constantly fixated on the worst-case scenario when you try to talk to someone. You could also be afraid of that person seeing you tremble or sweat. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you to challenge those expectations and think positively about the situation. Rather than worrying about what you could do wrong, imagine the possibility of meeting someone new who could be a friend.
5. Find Support
See if there is a family member or a friend who can help you with this. Pick someone you admire who seems confident in social settings. If your loved one invites you to a group hangout, they have the opportunity to invite you into the conversation to make it easier for you. They can also practice social scenarios with you about typical things to say to someone or ice breakers to use.
If you are still struggling with social anxiety, here at JoyFeel Therapy, we are ready to listen and support you. Contact us today!