There are a number of things that you can do to deal with your social anxiety. Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) is one of the most common of all anxiety disorders. In fact, insights from the National Comorbidity Survey show that SAD is the third most common mental health condition after major depression and alcohol dependence.
SAD, which was earlier called Social Phobia, is characterized by the constant fear of one or more social situations where one may get embarrassed. Apart from this, such fear is disproportionate to the risk posed by a given social situation. These social situations typically involve observation, performance, and interaction. For instance, people with SAD have difficulty in meeting strangers, having group conversations, participating in-class activities, talking to authority figures, eating and drinking while being observed, initiating conversations, etc.
Typically, a combination of medications and CBT is used to treat SAD. Further people also have anxiety supplements to deal with anxiety. Although the FDA does not control anxiety supplements, people consume some of the best anxiety supplements to overcome anxiety issues.
This article lists the top things that you can do to deal with social anxiety and feel better.
- Identify Situations That Induce Anxiety
Different people experience social anxiety in different ways. For instance, some people may have anxiety in respect of saying or doing things that may bring them humiliation or embarrassment. This may include blushing, sweating, shaking, looking anxious, seeming boring, stupid, or inept to people.
Still, others may get anxious over people judging them, from expressing their opinions to how they look or behave. In fact, some people with SAD may feel comfortable around others as long as they are not being asked to participate, speak up, or share their views.
Thus, identifying such triggers may help you take initiative to cope with them.
The best way is to jot down things that trigger anxiety, identify anxiety symptoms, and then find solutions to deal with them.
- Confront Your Negative Thoughts
Many times, people with SAD think way too much about the negative outcomes of the events that trigger anxiety. For instance, they may overthink about:
- hurting someone with what they might say
- falling sick in front of others
- laughing too loudly or giggling at an inappropriate time
- saying things at the wrong time, etc
Well, such things can happen at times and may happen with anyone. And they might even scare you when you imagine yourself being in such a situation.
But you need to understand that such small errors may not make other people look at you with a bad eye. In fact, it may so happen that they might remember times when they too faced such a situation and may relate to your situation. When you get taken over by such negative thoughts, try to substitute them with more reasonable thoughts. You can question yourself about the things that are the cause of worry, be truthful to yourself about the given situation, and be realistic about the whole event.
- Try Leaving Your Comfort Zone
Experiencing social anxiety may make you feel that you’re stuck doing the same things which are not getting you anywhere. For instance, you have been avoiding social gatherings and events that call for you to perform or be observed by others.
However, avoiding these events repeatedly has only made your life stagnant and has prevented you from achieving your goals. The best way to deal with this is to go out and be there in social gatherings. This means doing things that are out of your comfort zone so that you get out and get used to such social situations.
- Seek Help
One thing that you should do right now to deal with your social anxiety is to take help. Don’t wait for a single moment or hesitate to visit or call a doctor and share how you feel when in social situations.
Given the stigma attached to mental illness, it is common to feel embarrassed to consult a medical professional. If that is the case, you can always talk to consultants over mental helplines to discuss your issues. But whatever it is, it’s important to take the initiative.
- Start Moving Out With Your Loved Ones
Negative consequences of a given or anticipated social event might trigger anxiety and bother you. However, initiating participation in such social interactions with people whom you trust and are close to can really help.
Be part of these social situations with people you’re comfortable with so that you get confident and habituated to being part of such social situations. For instance, you can hit a restaurant and order food in their presence, or even ask them to enact certain scenarios with you. This will help you get an understanding of and get comfortable with how to tackle awkward situations in public.
For example, giving a wrong answer to your senior manager, explaining in n retail as to what you need when you hit a grocery store, etc and your loved one giving various reactions to help you prepare.
- Do Some Homework Before Attending a Social Event
This is one of the best techniques to handle social anxiety. Before being part of social situations like corporate get-togethers, meetings, presentations, going on a first date, etc.
For instance, when hitting a party or a social gathering, practice some relaxation techniques or breathing exercises that calm you down. Or when going to a corporate client meeting, take the background of the client, his history, current business developments, or knowledge of his areas of interest so that you have a lot of things in common to talk about.
- Appreciate Being All By Yourself
It may be the case that this social anxiety is the result of you being an introvert by nature. Therefore, you get rejuvenated by spending some quality time alone, with yourself in place of being with others.
Accordingly, there is no harm in taking some time off and being with yourself, reflecting on your thoughts, reading a book, or doing something that you love to do.
- Learn To Be Assertive
Are you the one who finds it really hard to say a no to your friends, acquaintances, or loved ones? Do you often do things to please others, even if you don’t like them to do? Do others impose unreasonable demands on you, treat you badly, and you feel helpless to do anything?
If that is the case, this is the time to learn how to take a stand for yourself and learn to be assertive. There is no need for you to agree or say yes to everything that others say or do to you. It is very important to let people know clearly what you think or want. Because not letting them know about your feelings or thought process may keep them speculating and continue to impose their reality on you.
- Avoid Being Perfect
One of the major sources of social anxiety is your attitude of being perfect in whatever you say or do. Perfectionism is an illusion and certainly adds to your social anxiety as no one can be perfect.
This attitude prevents you from experimenting and grabbing opportunities that lay ahead.