How many times have you waited outside a room, taking deep breaths and preparing yourself mentally before entering it? I know I have, a lot of times! Social anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders and different people experience it in different ways. Sometimes people sweat profusely, something they stutter, or some even get clammed up! Walking into a room full of people or giving a public speech isn’t a cakewalk for some, but many get through it well.
For me, personally, it gets really bad. To the point where I say no to every social event and avoid meeting new people unless I absolutely cannot skip it. And this has affected other aspects of my life as well, be it my job or my personal relationships too. If you feel the same way too, then we’ve got some tips on how you can deal with your social anxiety. Psychologist Anagha Bhave talked about 13 ways one can deal with social anxiety and honestly, it’s so helpful! Scroll down to read all about it.
Anxiety is actually driven by focusing on what you are lacking or may lack socially. Remind yourself that there is no such thing as a socially perfect person.
A lot of times, people with social anxiety tend to think that the focus is on them all the time. But that’s not the reality, it is just in their head. And so, it is important to remind yourself that you are not the focus of attention for others all the time.
People who have social anxiety may cancel social events because they’re worried people might not like them. And you know what? It really is perfectly okay to not be liked by everyone. You cannot please everyone and that’s just what the reality of the world is. If a person likes you or not does not change anything about you.
If you cope with social anxiety by avoiding social events or interactions, you may be solving your problem only in the short run. Start exposing yourself to more and more events to reduce it. You really can start feeling more comfortable once you start exposing yourself to such situations. In other words, stop saying no to invitations.
Social anxiety may cause you to misperceive and magnify others’ reactions to you, so you’ve got to be mindful of that. You may also misperceive yourself to be the only one who is self-conscious, under-confident, and others as confident and at ease. But that’s not the case. Everyone is battling their own struggle.
Practice self-compassion as going out is hard for you. Don’t judge or criticise yourself for having social anxiety—that won’t help in dealing with the distress. Instead, accept it and work on it with a positive mindset.
Say positive self-affirmations like, “People are interested in hearing what I have to say”, “I’m comfortable in meeting new people”. Self-affirmations can really make a difference if practiced regularly.
All said, if you feel your social anxiety is too much to handle for you, you should seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with asking for professional help, it could help you understand your anxiety better.
Be your greatest cheerleader! Appreciate and reward yourself, even if its a small success. Even if you meet someone new, go to a social event, give a presentation or just anything that you felt was difficult to achieve. You should always celebrate your small successes.
Another misperception can be that the world is a hostile place that’s just waiting for you to screw up. When in reality, people might be kind when you make mistakes. So, just take chances and don’t worry about the rest.
Remember, having heightened awareness of what you’re doing actually increases social anxiety. So, the next time you go out, try to pay very close attention to others. Their clothes, what they’re saying, their mannerisms, and minutely observe this. This practice will shift your attention from yourself to others.
Practice getting comfortable with small talks by saying certain phrases again and again till you feel at ease with them. You can do this by talking to yourself in the mirror or start by practicing in small gatherings of close friends or family. This way, you won’t be so anxious when you have to do a small talk the next time.
Imagine everything like how you would want it to workout ideally. You need to practice creative visualisation where you can imagine smoothly sailing through social situations. This will help you feel much more confident about being in a social situation and know that you can get through it.
Working on your social anxiety can get tough and challenging, its easier said than done. But nonetheless, these practices can actually help you deal with social anxiety in a better, stronger way. If you have any other tips or ways that you feel work well too, then do let us know about them in the comments below.