3 Ways to Deal With Social Anxiety
Social anxiety affects millions of people around the world. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop for those who struggle with social interactions. That heaviness that comes with this fear can be very impactful to day-to-day functioning.
No matter what the cause of your social anxiety is or how severe your symptoms are at the current moment, you must address it. Over time it can build and have negative and lasting effects on your family, friends, relationships, and career.
Thankfully, this anxiety is something that can be treated. Here are a few ways to start.
Practice Situational Exposure
Take a moment with your anxiety and figure out what type of situations or scenarios cause your anxiety to flare up. What are you afraid of? Mentally make a note of these things, or write them down to have an active, physical progress log.
Put yourself into a situation that triggers you and slowly work your way into a comfort zone. This can seem overwhelming if you don’t ease in. Start with an easier scenario and work your way to more difficult ones.
Keep repeating the process until you master each little hurdle. Eventually, this exposure can minimize the anxiety you feel.
If you fear being in large groups of people, start with one person. Go out with one friend or family member. When that feels comfortable, go out with a smaller group of your friends. Keep adding more people to the mix as you become comfortable.
If public speaking is your fear, find opportunities to practice your skills. Start with one person. Going to a group where dialogue is possible. Work your way up to team meetings and larger audience events.
Lean On Your Support System
Expressing your social anxiety can be difficult, especially admitting it to the most important people in your life. Just remember, they are the most important to you for a reason. Letting them know you need help can provide you with just the support you need.
Whatever is triggering your social anxiety, facing it with your support system can make it significantly more comfortable. Exposing yourself to these situations with your friends, family, etc. can be the best place to start.
By telling them about your difficulties, you can also take steps to become more independent in your situations. Oftentimes with social anxiety, it’s normal to avoid the scary scenarios. You may have found yourself asking others to take care of matters for you so you don’t have to face fearful situations. Once they have an understanding, they can support you in facing your fears and taking steps to overcome the anxiety rather than running from it.
Check-in With Yourself
Facing your fears can be a difficult process. It is scary and requires time to work through. It also is easy to feel overwhelmed, become defeated, or want to give up. Check-in with yourself before you spiral.
Give yourself some grace here. Your anxiety is probably making it seem worse than it is. It will also try to manipulate your thoughts about how other people perceive you. Generally, it isn’t as bad as your brain is leading you to believe.
Practice different relaxation techniques to calm your mind when you start to feel more anxious. Breathing exercises are a great place to start. Grounding exercises, like the five senses technique, can also help bring you back down when you’re feeling overstimulated.
Any or all of these things can be addressed with the help of a therapist. If you’re uncomfortable with or are unsure about how to navigate forward, professional guidance can be extremely helpful in making the pieces fit together. Use our contact information to schedule a consultation and see how we can help!