Top Tips For Managing And Overcoming Social Anxiety

Top Tips For Managing And Overcoming Social Anxiety

From Imran Ali

Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes people to be fearful of social situations as they feel that they’ll be judged by other people and viewed in a negative light.

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Presented by BetterHelp.

Everyone gets nervous in social scenarios from time to time. Maybe you have a big presentation at work or you’re going on a first date. It’s natural to feel jitters or butterflies in situations that are new or unexpected, especially when you’re going to be around unfamiliar or large groups of people.

For some individuals, however, almost every social situation feels like a battle within themselves, as they experience intense anxiety whenever they’re around other people. This is known as social anxiety, and it can make life very difficult for those living with it. Here, we’ll discuss what it means to have social anxiety disorder and offer several tips and tricks that can be helpful in managing and eventually overcoming it.

What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that causes people to be fearful of social situations as they feel that they’ll be judged by other people and viewed in a negative light. This deep-rooted self-consciousness can cause them to limit their interactions with others or avoid socializing with other people altogether, impacting their quality of life.

Individuals living with social anxiety may find that it impacts every aspect of their lives, including work, school, relationships, and their overall satisfaction with themselves and their daily lives. Common consequences can include depression, loneliness and isolation, low self-esteem, and poor performance at work and school.

Social anxiety disorder is a chronic condition, meaning that it doesn’t just go away on its own over time. It can be crucial for people with social anxiety to seek treatment, as symptoms can worsen when left unaddressed.

Top Tips For Handling Social Anxiety

Social anxiety disorder can deeply affect the lives of those living with it. The following are some tips for managing and overcoming it:

       Get a pet: People with social anxiety can greatly benefit by having a pet in their lives, whether it’s a dog, horse, rabbit, or something else. Pets can provide a sense of companionship as they show unconditional love and acceptance. This can help stave off feelings of loneliness and isolation that are common among people with social anxiety. Having a pet can also help someone learn how to care for another living being and anticipate their needs. This can translate from animals to humans, improving the individual’s social skills.

       Be kind to everyone: Practicing kindness with everyone can significantly impact how people with social anxiety perceive themselves and others. Those who are treated kindly are typically more likely to return the gesture, which can create more positive interactions. This can help lower the individual’s fear of judgment and rejection, allowing them to maintain a more optimistic mindset about social situations and thereby encouraging them to keep engaging with other people.

       Set goals: Setting small, achievable goals can be useful when trying to manage social anxiety. It’s important not to set goals for oneself that are too challenging or overwhelming, as it can be discouraging not to reach them. Someone with social anxiety might commit to saying hi to one new person every day at school or hanging out with a friend once per week. As they achieve these goals, they can set higher benchmarks for themselves until they get to a place where they feel relatively comfortable around other people.

       Put yourself out there: Facing one’s fears can be one of the most effective ways to overcome social anxiety, highlighting the importance of engaging in social situations even when it’s intimidating. Avoidance can make a person’s anxieties and fears even stronger while facing situations head-on can reduce these symptoms over time. Note that it’s crucial to have coping mechanisms in place when putting oneself out there, as becoming too overwhelmed can lead to panic attacks and other negative outcomes. Thus, taking a balanced approach and starting small can be both healthy and beneficial for overcoming social anxiety.

       Practice self-care: Self-care is essential for anyone but can be even more critical for those living with social anxiety. Practicing self-care looks different for everyone but can include activities like meditation and yoga or hobbies like sports and crafting. Taking care of oneself also involves getting enough sleep at night, eating nutritiously, and exercising regularly. All of this can help nurture the individual’s mental health, alleviate symptoms of anxiety or depression, and help them cope with stress during social situations.

       Challenge and reframe your thoughts: People with social anxiety usually have a stream of unproductive thoughts that make social scenarios even more difficult. They may constantly put themselves down or experience ruminating thoughts that tell them they won’t be accepted. Being able to identify, challenge, and reframe these negative thought patterns can be crucial to reducing symptoms of anxiety and developing greater levels of self-assurance and confidence.

       Shift your focus: People with social anxiety are often overly concerned with how they’ll be perceived by others. Instead of keeping the focus on themselves and what other people might think of them, it can be helpful for them to concentrate on putting their attention on others. Doing so can reduce the self-consciousness they feel about being judged or rejected and allow them to stay more present in the moment and engaged in conversations.

       Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a technique that involves staying present in the moment and observing one’s thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment or interpretation. Regularly practicing mindfulness can help people with social anxiety remain calm, relaxed, and composed, thereby helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and worry. This can be useful whether the individual is stuck ruminating on something they said or did in the past or doubting their ability to show up to an event in the future. By incorporating mindfulness into daily life, individuals with social anxiety can stay more grounded and engaged while interacting with others.

       Speak with a therapist: Therapy can be a powerful tool in addressing the hardships and symptoms associated with social anxiety disorder, as it gives people a safe and welcoming environment in which to discuss their worries, fears, and feelings. Therapists can work with clients to help them identify any potential causes of their distress and equip them with coping strategies to aid them in overcoming their anxiety. Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy can help people challenge their negative thought patterns and slowly confront different social situations without becoming overwhelmed. The therapist can provide feedback and encouragement, helping the individual experience personal growth while remaining comfortable and supported.

Living with social anxiety can take a toll on an individual’s mental health and overall quality of life, affecting how they see themselves and engage with the world. However, there are plenty of options for support and treatment. While self-help methods might be enough to overcome the symptoms associated with social anxiety, most people find that working with a professional, such as a therapist, is what allows them to experience the most healing.

Moving forward from social anxiety often takes patience, determination, and a willingness to try new things. By working up the courage to face one’s fears and committing to a lifetime of practice, those with social anxiety can learn how to look forward to interacting with other people instead of living in fear of it. 

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