Anxiety is a disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide, regardless of gender, age, and race. Dealing with the overwhelming feeling of social anxiety can lead to depression, social withdrawal, sadness, feelings of hopelessness and suicidal thoughts. Understanding social anxiety and how to cope with it personally is a way to move forward in your life. Whether you have been socially anxious for years or if it is a recent development in your own life, you can learn how to overcome social anxiety today.
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a form of anxiety that triggers social phobias in individuals. Social anxiety stems from a fear of rejection in addition to a fear of failure, often from surrounding individuals such as friends, family members, and even strangers. Social anxiety can prevent individuals from leading conventional social lives and enjoying themselves in common social settings, gatherings and events.
Key Indicators of Social Anxiety
Some of the key indicators an individual may present when they are struggling with social anxiety themselves include:
- Avoiding social interaction; social withdrawal from family members, friends, and co-workers.
- Nervousness and feeling tense before leaving home for any social event or outing, including running errands or finding yourself in a public location.
- Sweating and the inability to focus when feeling pressured to attend an upcoming event or even when giving a presentation and being in the presence of others around you.
- Avoidance. Avoidance altogether is common among individuals with severe social anxiety. Avoiding phone calls, emails, messages, and letters from others is not uncommon for individuals who have trouble coping with the signs and symptoms that social anxiety cause to manifest.
- Easily irritated when confronted about missing events, gatherings, and celebrations.
- Avoidance when discussing the possibility of anxiety, depression, and other disorders.
How to Overcome Social Anxiety: 6 Basic Tips
Admit You Are Struggling
Admitting you are struggling with social anxiety can be one of the most difficult challenges, until it is done. Once you have overcome any guilt, shame, humiliation, and embarrassment that has been caused by your social anxiety, discussing it with others and opening up is a way to find a great relief. Afterwards, you can begin rebuilding your life and the way you handle your anxiety.
Talking with a close friend or a relative is a way for you to break the ice while admitting you are struggling internally. Once you have admitted you have social anxiety, you are likely to feel a weight lifted off of your shoulders. You are then able to move forward in seeking help and guidance to overcome symptoms altogether.
Build a Trusting Support Group
Building a trusting support group you can rely on is also imperative when you want to have the ability to open up and discuss your feelings regarding social anxiety and how it is affecting you each day. Close family members, best friends, and even your counselor or therapist are great resources to help with building a support group while coping with the symptoms of social anxiety. The more trust you have in the support group you have built, the less likely you are to feel overwhelmed when you are experiencing anxiety or even having a panic attack in a public location or in an environment with a large number of people.
Seeking Help and Counseling
Seeking help and counseling often causes individuals to turn the other cheek and avoid the issue altogether. However, speaking with a counselor or therapist is one of the best methods of recognizing signs of social anxiety. A therapist can also provide methods to cope with any issues or manifestations that may arise in your everyday life. Many local communities around the world provide counseling and therapy for those who are truly in need free of charge. They do not require health insurance to get the help you need to begin recovering.
You can also find help and guidance by joining online communities and social networks to get more comfortable with overcoming your obstacles from home using the internet. Joining online communities is a way for you to ensure you are getting the most assistance possible prior to looking for a local therapist or counselor. This is especially the case when you are feeling nervous about where to find the help you need.
Make Changes in Your Life at an Appropriate Pace
Forcing yourself to learn how to overcome social anxiety too quickly or with too much pressure is the easiest way to stop handling your treatment altogether. When you want to move forward with any social anxiety you have, it is important to do so at a pace you feel comfortable with personally. The more comfortable you are with each new step and challenge you take, the less likely you are to back out or to become overly stressed from the situation and the pressure itself.
Talking directly with a therapist or counselor you feel comfortable with and can trust is another way to move forward when coping with social anxiety at your own pace. The right counselor or therapist is willing to work with you to help build confidence and comfort in any type of social outing, gathering, or event you are not familiar with.
Coping Methods for Social Anxiety
Although counseling is ideal to help those who are suffering with social anxiety on a daily basis, there are also traditional coping methods that are all-natural and free of charge. Implementing a few coping methods for your social anxiety any time you have a presentation, event, or gathering to attend can help you feel prepared and confident, rather than scared or worried.
Deep breathing exercises are highly recommended for any individual suffering from anxiety, including generalized and social anxiety disorders. Taking long, deep breaths and exhaling with a large sigh repeatedly is a way to physiologically change the body’s reaction to nervousness and worry. Many individuals who have anxiety may find themselves often breathing too quickly and rapidly, especially when feeling nervous or upset about an upcoming event.
Meditation is also an ideal tool to help cope with social anxiety, as it is free of charge and requires as little as ten minutes daily to incorporate. Using transcendental meditation is a way to relieve your mind and body from stress, worry, and the fear of failing or being rejected.
Exercising is also necessary whenever you are battling any form of anxiety. Exercising is not only a way for you to keep your mind off of potential worries and the future, but it is also a method of physically releasing endorphins, a chemical hormone that helps to provide happiness and feelings of euphoria.
Simply exercising for 20 to 30 minutes daily is a way for you to seek the relief you need when struggling to overcome any manifestations of social anxiety. Eating right in addition to exercising is a way to keep the body and hormones balanced.
Find Ways Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Finding ways to get outside of your comfort zone is a must. Discovering and exploring new hobbies, interests, sports, and even types of friends is a way to take baby steps into a world without anxiety altogether. When you feel ready and prepared to challenge yourself, doing so is possible by making positive changes that help you to get comfortable with your environment and surroundings over time without feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
Grasping social anxiety and how to overcome social anxiety altogether is a way to rid yourself of the shame and embarrassment when seeking help and looking to make positive changes in your life. The more you understand about social anxiety and how to defeat it each day, the less likely you are to feel depressed and extremely overwhelmed at the next big event or gathering. Get out of your comfort zone. Open up to new possibilities, support, and therapy tools. The whole world is out there, and specialists or friends can help you to obtain th life you have envisioned for yourself without the fear of failure or rejection.