Living with a social anxiety disorder or social phobia can be very tough, as it affects most aspects of your life. Regular activities like going to school or work, shopping, eating at restaurants, going to parties, dating, and so on can feel overwhelming and nearly impossible.
If you or someone you know has a social anxiety disorder, here we share six simple yet powerful tips on how to overcome social anxiety.
Let’s dive in.
1. Speak to a Therapist
Social anxiety is a mental disorder and can be tough to deal with on your own. Seeking professional support will take you much farther in your journey to overcoming it.
A trained therapist can help you learn how to deal with social anxiety and recognize your triggers. They will teach effective coping strategies, relaxation techniques, and social skills. They can also guide you in replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
You can access a safe and comfortable environment where you can role-play social situations that trigger your anxiety. This kind of exposure therapy is a popular form of treatment.
Moreover, your therapist may suggest group therapy sessions for further exposure or refer you to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication for your condition.
2. List Your Triggers
Social anxiety manifests in many ways. Some may feel anxious about situations where they will feel watched or judged, like eating at a restaurant, answering a question in the classroom, or going for a job interview.
Others may have less severe symptoms and feel comfortable in the company of other people as long as they don’t have to speak up.
Exploring situations that trigger your social anxiety is vital to understanding your boundaries. This will help you find the right solutions to manage your symptoms and mitigate your condition.
3. Reframe Negative Thoughts
Socially anxious people spend a lot of time thinking about the blunders they might make in social interactions.
Some of their worries include:
- Calling a person by the wrong name
- Unintentionally saying something offensive or rude
- Laughing, coughing, or sneezing at the wrong moment
- Spilling something
You must understand that small social blunders are not the end of the world and will not cause others to look down on you. They may instead offer compassion and empathy. You can even make a new friend by talking about your past awkward experiences.
When anxious thoughts take over your mind, challenge and replace them with positive and helpful ones. You can use the realistic thinking technique and ask yourself a few simple questions about the situation you’re worrying about. Come up with honest, balanced answers to reframe your thoughts.
4. Start Small
To effectively manage social anxiety, you don’t have to aim for something big immediately, like public speaking.
Start with small steps:
- Compliment a classmate or colleague on their outfit.
- Make small talk with a cashier instead of using the self-checkout service.
- Spend time with your loved ones at home.
5. Practice Social Interactions With People You Trust
Constantly worrying about negative outcomes in social situations can cause an endless cycle of anxiety. Instead, roleplay certain situations with a trusted family member or friend. This will help you feel ready to face them head-on and get loving support to face your fears.
6. Maintain Good Health
Improve your health, so it does not contribute to your anxiety. Exercise regularly, get proper sleep, and eat a nutrient-dense diet. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants.
Thinking about treating anxiety naturally with home remedies? Drink chamomile tea and practice relaxation or grounding techniques to calm your nerves.
Social anxiety can be a debilitating condition. But we hope these social anxiety overcome tips help you find some respite from your symptoms and live a happier, freer life.