What if, every day you are talking with people who either have some form of social anxiety or have been through it but they are too scared to talk about it. And since no one talks about it, you don’t talk about it and so the cycle continues. But what if you were the one who broke that cycle?
I hope that by the time you finish this article you will either be more educated (therefore more able to help others) or feel more comfortable with the idea of struggling with social anxiety and begin taking the steps to alleviate it. But first, let’s define social anxiety so you can understand where it fits in your life.
Social anxiety can be defined as consistent and persistent nervousness in social situations and interactions. If you feel consistently and intensely emotionally uncomfortable in a variety of social situations then it may be something worth investigating. These situations may include; Meeting new people, talking with friends or being in a group setting.
The trouble with social anxiety is that left untreated or unnoticed it can get worse and negatively affect your relationships, work and/or study, family life and your overall well-being.
Now that you understand a little more about what social anxiety is, let’s talk about ways you can help alleviate it.
Here are 8 ways you can help calm your social anxiety:
- Seek help from a psychologist/counsellor (it may be advisable to see a doctor who will refer you to these professionals).
- Tell someone about what you are going through. You may find that if you are more open about your social anxiety, it will help you start to accept it.
- Exercise consistently. Regular exercise has been proven to improve and regulate mood and it will help you gain confidence in social situations.
- Try meditation. There are some great apps that make meditation simple and easy. It is not all hippie-dippie. Meditation has been proven scientifically, to have a substantial positive effect on your ability to stay calm and emotionally stable.
- Listen to others. By focusing on listening to others you will be able to stay out of your head and less concerned with your own insecurities during the situation (coupled with mindfulness learnt from meditating, this can be a powerful technique).
- Continue developing and participating in your current relationships. This will ensure that your social anxiety does not get worse. This step will require courage and persistence but it is probably the most important step because otherwise, things may get worse.
- Learn a new skill. Take a dance class, learn martial arts, go to painting or language classes. Learning new skills expands your comfort zone, confidence and exposes you to new social environments without putting pressure on the need to socialize. This allows you to socialize with others at your own pace.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. Maybe when you are in social situations and you start to feel anxious you think that no one ever feels like this and that you’re a weirdo and everyone will judge you. But generally, people will either be understanding of your feelings or they will forget all about it in 10 minutes. It’s not as serious or catastrophic as you think to be a little awkward or timid.
With a combination of understanding what social anxiety is and putting the strategies, techniques and ideas from this article into practice, you can start to calm your social anxiety and help others to do the same.