If you have any type of social anxiety, you can work toward helping yourself deal with it alone. But, remember, if it gets worse, you really should get some help professionally. It really is okay to ask for help. In the meantime, these social anxiety tips can help you ease into social situations.
This is part three of a four-part series on social anxiety. I will put links here to the other parts as the posts are released.
Practice Relaxing Before Events
If your normal course of action is to freak out before any event, change clothes a hundred times, and work yourself up into a lather, try doing the opposite. Create a ritual around relaxing before any social event. Try taking a hot bath, meditating, or getting a massage prior to events that normally make you anxious.
Practice Being in More Social Situations
When you experience anxiety from doing something, the best way to conquer it is to do it. Therefore, if you’re scared of going to a book club, a group dating event, or something else, instead of avoiding it do more of it. Seek out social situations so that you can practice being social.
Practice Being Mindful of Your Surroundings
Most people with social anxiety focus on their feelings of discomfort. Instead, start focusing on your surroundings and other people. Think about the décor of the place, what other people are wearing, and focus on what other people are talking about rather than what you’re going to say.
Instead of trying to appear smart, which can cause anxiety, focus on what people are saying and ask questions. Ask open-ended questions so that people must answer in a longer sentence. Focus on remembering what they tell you by repeating back to them what they said. That way you never have to come up with anything new, which can add to your social anxiety.
Don’t Make Up Things
Often people with social anxiety tend to use their imaginations too much to the point it starts to scare them. They are so busy thinking about what others are thinking about them that they make up things that aren’t helpful. Don’t be creative and don’t add anything to other people’s ideas about you. Only listen to things people say to you directly, not your imagination about what they might think. You’re not a mind reader.
Decide in Advance You’ll Experience Positive Feelings
When you are going to be around people, don’t tell yourself that you’ll feel bad, scared, judged, nervous, or anything negative. Instead, make a goal about how you want to feel about an experience that is positive. If you imagine and rehearse positivity, it’s going to be a lot easier to experience it.
It may sound trite, but learning how to be just who you are, imperfections and all, is the best way to overcome some of your social anxiety. You may always feel awkward but it’s okay to be awkward. It’s okay to be goofy. Next time you’re in a social situation with a group, observe the people who are most confident. They’re not perfect. They are often silly. Be who you are, nervous, silly, and all.
Easing into social situations takes time. As you get practice being who you are and go to more social events, take the time to give yourself a break too. You don’t have to be social all the time. You can determine to be social a few times a week and then be an introvert to recharge the rest of the week.
Social Anxiety Resources
Here are a few books that may be beneficial:
The Anxiety and Worry Workbook by David A. Clark and Aaron T. Beck
Thriving With Social Anxiety by Hattie C. Cooper
The Solution to Social Anxiety by Aziz Gazipura
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties concerning the accuracy, applicability of its contents or any omissions.