While this is how we feel most of the time right after getting out of bed in the morning, unfortunately it isn’t possible.

The world is plotting against introverts and forcing us to actually go outside and face other humans.

Be it at the local coffee shop, your school or workplace, many of us feel awkward and uncomfortable at the thought of having to interact with other people.

For instance, I’ll give you a personal example that happened to me a few days back. So my school reopened and there were a whole lot of new students this year (around twelve). In fact, the ratio of old students (me included) to the new additions was not in our favor. This meant everyone felt a bit awkward.

Now, being a student who had been in the same school for around 10 years, you would think that I was okay with my surroundings. And that would be true to an extent. However, since it was a new year and most of my friends were in different classes…Image result for introverts in classroom

I. Felt. Lost.

Now I know that many of you will relate to this and are probably nodding along to what I’ve said.

I feel like social anxiety is not understood properly by those who don’t have it. Yes, people understand stage fear and the fear of rejection, but not how anxiety can affect you in your daily life.

For example, a teacher calls on you to answer a question in class. You probably know the answer, but the fear of your classmates judging you and staring at you keeps you from giving an answer.

Anxiety can happen at the workplace as well.
During meetings, when you’re asked for your opinion, social anxiety can kick in and sort of make you look like a fool.

Even today, knowing the theory of how to get rid of my social anxiety, panic attacks still happen quite often. I have, however, been able to suppress these more now. So I thought I’d help some of you by telling you how I got over it (kinda):

    A.Go read about it- You get a lot of self-help manuals online that can actually help you. This might sound dumb, but trust me, it works (at least for me, it did.) Here are a couple of books:

       1.The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle– Now, looking at the cover, you’ll think it’s some religious hogwash.  But what the book does is teach you how to focus on the present and not dwell on past events that may not have gone very well. Check out the audio-book here if you wish-  https://www.audiobooks.com/audiobook/power-of-now/14382

       2.Daring Greatly by Brene Brown– This is one of the few books that deals with the root cause of social anxiety- Self shame. It will help you realize how vulnerability can work in your favor. If you wish, watch the author’s TED talk first to help you understand better-  

   


       B. Deep breathing-  Again, this sounds a bit cliched. But when you focus on your breathing, you tend to forget about why you’re panicking. So before you go up onto a stage or attend a meeting, just take some deep breaths. It’ll help.


    C.Think of things that calm you down-  Whatever it is. It could be a cup of hot chocolate. A book or a person. Whatever it is that calms you down or de-stresses you, think about it. Here’s another thing that I do. While in class or wherever, if I’m called on to answer a question, I re-imagine the face of the teacher as that of a person that I am comfortable around (say a friend or my dad). This will help you to just answer the question (It can also be funny if you imagine your teacher in funny clothes. Kind of how Neville changed his boggart to look like Snape wearing his grandma’s clothes in Harry Potter.)

   


   D. Stop avoiding-  When I realized that this was the MAIN reason for my problem, I knew it was going to be hard to overcome it. I still haven’t completely. Avoiding  problems or social contact is something that we introverts do very often. While this is understandable, it plays a major role in building up our anxiety levels. Face the problem. You might fail a few times or mess up a bit, but give it some time and you’ll be able to do it.


What do you do to help face your fears? How do you deal with social anxiety? Leave a comment below!

54 Comments

  1. Interesting article I have to say. I appreciate your personal story and find it very relatable even to most of the audience reading it. I really enjoyed your tips on dealing with anxiety because although I don’t have anxiety I can pretty much see it visually in my mind due to the fact that I have a friend who’s panic attack was horrible, but now Ill be sure to let her know this trick. Thanks

  2. Hi Deepta! I definitely agree with you that social anxiety is often misrepresented when it’s such a big issue. I really enjoyed your content, but I encourage you to pay extra attention to your format when structuring your articles. As a reader, it threw me off to have bullet points, numbered lists, and paragraphs all together and in no clear pattern. Also, I would encourage you to “show, not tell” in your writing. For example, you don’t need to tell your readers “For instance, I’ll give you a personal example that happened to me a few days back. ” You could just say ‘For example,” and begin explaining! Also feel free to cut out any unnecessary words throughout the piece to help it flow.

  3. I came here thinking I’d read just a personal opinion or an abstract way of facing fears but was pleasantly surprised to see the advice you gave. I can see myself in every word you say and coping with anxiety is something I’m very bad at. I always need a little push to do something out of my comfort zone and most times I end up just nod doing anything at all so I hope I can use your tips and make it a little better. Also, the links you shared are great, it’s always useful to see an expert’s take on this issue.

  4. I think it is important to understand that in order to get over your fears, you have to get a little uncomfortable. You have to put yourselves in new positions and scenarios in order to grow into a better version of yourself; That’s how life works. For example, something I’ve done to try and conquer this fear of social anxiety would be to introduce myself first. By striking up the conversation, I can feel more comfortable about where I want it to go!

    I really loved the insight this article brought. However, the wonky format threw mw off a little. Perhaps to make this article seem more professional would be to fix the pacing issues and the embedded links?

  5. I appreciate how in your article you use both personal accounts as well as the works and advice of others. I myself have dealt with social anxiety as long as I can remember, and although it’s been incredibly difficult, I agree with your last point completely. I attended four different high schools and even when I would rather stay in the corner and worry only about myself, forcing myself to actually participate in class and at other school events made the changes so much easier and genuinely helped alleviate the severity of my anxiety. I do think you could use some work on making your format more functional, but the article in and of itself was well put together.

  6. I found this article quite relatable. Your personal example is spot on in giving an instance where someone may feel lost and social anxiety ready to kick into high gear. I’m a college student and still feel extreme anxiety and stress when speaking in class, even if I really want to. I feel you could have described some of the instances more, like as a feeling of weight within one’s chest wanting to escape but it just builds up, something more visual and descriptive in terms of the feelings involved, but as your piece stands it’s still good with just the examples. Your tips to help were a nice conclusion, I wasn’t expecting a couple books being recommended but I will certainly check them out! The final two are particularly strong, thinking of what calms you down and just facing the anxiety. Avoiding situations won’t help at all, combating it one step at a time, from what I’ve learned, helps a great deal.

  7. Nice tips! I used to have really bad social anxiety when I was in high school…I had trouble even responding to someone if they asked me a question…But as I grew up I learned that I was focusing too much on what others thought of me and feared that they would think less of me. Once I let that go, I became free and able to talk to anybody I wanted to without fear of judgment or criticism.

  8. I agree with the comment that the bullet point usage is awkward and could be modified or removed. The article might benefit for the usage of headers to divide the content.

    I appreciate the suggestions on facing one’s fears regarding social anxiety. This topic is very close to home. The introduction to social anxiety seems a bit lacking though. Are there any stats about who is affected by social anxiety disorder(SAD)? How extensively can SAD vary from person to person. What are the symptoms that others might have and the effects on quality of life.

    For the suggestions, have you read anything about cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment? The advice about grounding is something I’ll probably use, and it’d be nice to know who came up with the technique and where you got it.

    Thanks for the article!

    1. I will definitely look into this. Its my first big article writing and Im still getting used to it.
      Thanks though. All kinds of criticism is VERY much appreciated. 🙂

  9. I agree with social anxiety is not understood properly. Sometimes my friends dont get why I act weird in certain situations because “I dont have to talk with anyone”. And is not just that. My social anxiety didnt let me search for a job until a few years back and now I think Im too old for not having experience and have fear only reading a job ad.

    I’ll try and apply some of your tips next moth, I have a presentation for one of my classes and I’m already terrified about that. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Super helpful: I definitely agree with reading up on ways to help yourself. I am not a big reader myself, but chances are there’s an author out there somewhere facing similar problems who presents their material and suggestions in a way that is easy for you to digest — speaking of which, I recommend “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero. DeeptaJ, I love the relatable anecdotes you used to explain your points. It may sound silly to be anxious around people in the same age group or social standing (ie: a student) as you, but these scenarios seem to be the greatest sources of social anxiety. I really appreciated all the tips you gave, and I’ll be using the one about calming yourself down. You offered some socially-acceptable ones (haha!) like simply getting a cup of your favorite drink or reading a book, instead of the one my brain always suggests (like running away).

    1. running away does seem like the answer to everything, doesnt it? 😉 but im glad you were able to benefit from my tips and i really appreciate comments like these.
      Ill be sure to check ut the book 🙂
      THANKS and Bye!

  11. I really enjoyed how this article talked the feelings a person undergoes when dealing with fears of social situations or how it is a struggle to be able to go outside and function in a fast pace society. That when you fall behind it’s hard to catch back up to and the initial anxieties that come with the fear of failing. I felt this way for a majority of my life and still feel it today with putting myself out in the world with working. The uncomfortable feelings it goes to trying to initiate a simple conversation with a room full of people when it feels more comfortable to be alone and able to work on what you should without that worry that your being judge or that you may fall in what you are supposed to excel in. I know for me when I am alone even going to get coffee or the store. Something that initially has that awkward feeling of being by yourself and avoiding eye contact with others due to that awkwardness that makes it uncomfortable and usually I resort to looking at my phone to not seem odd or out of place. It’s more comfortable to blend in and become wallpaper and not a central focus of many viewers. This article was an awesome read to see that there are many others that feel this way and how there was information to a resource for information that can help manage facing fear. I will definitely be checking this out in my spare time to see what I can do to improve on my own personal social anxiety and fear.

  12. This had been an interesting read. The tips are great to follow and live by. Anxiety has been a part of my life since my first year of college, which gradually increased over the years. After having anxiety attacks back to back, I have to do something to calm it down. Mainly, I used meditation and EFT tapping and it was beneficial. The main fear that I had was public speaking and presentations. After having to do a presentation every semester, the fear disappeared. I think the constant thinking on the reactions that people played in the mind tends to generate the fear that was created by that individual. Use fear and anxiety to your advantage.

  13. I was able to relate on some of the situations the author had mentioned at the start of the article. At first, I thought it was just going to be one of those kinds where the author talks about how he/she faced his/her fears and the experiences which he/she might have gone through, but as I read along, I found it really informational seeing as how the author had suggested ways on how to possibly alleviate one’s anxiety when in social situations. Although I felt as if the term “introvert’ here in this article was taken off as a stereotyped term for “people who have high anxiety issues”, and we can’t really say that it works like that because as an introvert myself, and knowing some other introverts, some of us could really do well in social situations in that some of us may be good at adapting and hiding their introversion when need be. Overall, I think this was a very helpful read for people who suffer a certain degree of anxiety when it comes to having social interactions.

  14. This was a really well put together article! I enjoy the authors writing style and approach. Very conversational, a technique I employ as well. Feels natural, and that is only bolstered by the sense that they have dealt with a certain level of Social Anxiety themselves…so the advice is sound, and comes from the heart. Formatting was fine.

    ‘The world is plotting against introverts and forcing us to actually go outside and face other humans.

    Be it at the local coffee shop, your school or workplace, many of us feel awkward and uncomfortable at the thought of having to interact with other people.’

    Some great lines here!! So true. :0)

    Overall, very nice job! I will be reading more of this Author’s articles!

    -Josh

  15. I liked that this article was short, compact and offered “the best of” advice when it comes to anxiety. I feel like this (or a shortened version) is something every even remotely anxious person should have on hand. First step towards recovery is admitting to yourself that you have a problem so when you do, you face a “and now what?” problem. This article is a very nice guide.

    I face social anxiety on daily basis and I actually do all of the suggested things. I would like to add that talking to a friend that has a similar issue often helps because it insures us that we are not alone and that there’s nothing majorly wrong with us (at least not more than with our peers).
    Another thing that helps me is meeting new people with people that I already know or meeting in a place that is already familiar. If I’m going to a new place, I make sure to google the pictures and maybe find experiences (if it’s that sort of situation) and have a friend online that I can text if I get uncomfortable.
    Great article!

    1. these tips are great as well!
      Why dont you write an article of your own? You can never get TOO much advice in my opinion… At least for things like this. GO AHEAD!! 🙂

  16. It is really great to see short and on point articles on this subject, written by someone who actually understands what social anxiety can do to someone. I have been dealing with social anxiety for as long as I remember and even now, although I made progress, I still avoid large crowded places and events where I don’t know anybody or just to few people. What worked for me best, was to have someone to “hold my hand” in the beginning (it is really great when you have someone like that) or if I had to do something on my own I would always ask myself “If I let my fear and don’t do this will I regret it tomorrow?” This is how I deal with this stuff.

    Even so, I will definitely try the advices written here to finally conquer the anxiety!

  17. Great article, Deepta! Waiting for the next one! 🙂

    It does take a lot of effort, and also courage, to write and publish your observations. But it’s totally worth it, right? 😉

    Great start, Deepta! Keep writing!

  18. Great article. Really enjoyed reading it and learned some new tips. I liked how the writer linked sites and videos to watch. This article is overall very knowledgeable and interesting.

  19. This article was so helpful! It even gave links so I could find out more! I have so many of fears so it really helped me understand what I can do it slowly get over it!

  20. Most people don’t realise that social anxiety is very common and thus we don’t have a lot of articles like this! I loved it, and your writing style is personal so I didn’t feel like I was reading a self help book. I used to get uber anxious in restaurants, and eating around friends and I found that talking to my friends about this issue helped. They took it upon themselves to start slow, so we would go to coffee shops first. But using techniques that you’ve mentioned above were very helpful too! Thank you for this!

  21. This is an incredibly well written article and it’s completely true!
    Especially in your last comment about avoiding things will make it worse, to expand this is apart of operant conditioning known as negative reinforcement- this is when something undesired is taken away in repsonse to a behaviour you exhibit. For example if you’re afraid of speaking in front of a crowd when you let someone else do it for you, you are overcome with a sense of relief- a positive feeling, and you learn to associate that good feeling with avoiding speaking in front of people. Therefore this increases the fear because when you finally have to go through it, it means you don’t get that good feeling and all is left is dread.

    1. I love your connection to conditioning because this is so accurate and important for others to understand. As well as people in your life, being there to support socially anxious friends is great, but reinforcing their anxiety isn’t helpful. This is enabling behavior and can make anxiety worse.
      Best thing, just like overcoming most fears, is to go at it slowly and gradually, doing more each time, and having the support of someone to reassure you when that panicky feeling kicks in!
      What helps me is rehearsal, however this can also be problematic if it becomes obsessive.
      Another thing that helps me is to observe my friends who aren’t socially anxious and try and pick up on their mannerisms and way of talking.

      1. Thank you for the advise I’ll try copying my friends mannerisms!
        But I was explaining why in particular avoiding situations makes anxiety worse I didn’t mean to come across as I was suggesting to go through with it- (sorry!) I’ll make it more clear next time! But thank you for pointing it out and you’re absolutely right, you shouldn’t avoid it as it will make it worse!

        1. You explained this just fine. I was just providing a different perspective. Great comment.
          I worry that there is a trend online in social media that wants to coddle mental illness especially anxiety. I really believe there should be a balance between helping and coddling, but I wonder if peer groups get this confused when helping their anxious loved one? That might be an interesting article to create to provide as a resource for allies.

  22. Great start Deepta, keep writing more. I found your article authentic and free flowing, so no need to change to any particular format or structure. Follow your heart and be unique 👍

  23. Very well written article, Deepta. Social anxiety and panic attacks are more prevalent than accepted. The problem is so real and the facts in your article will definitely help many. Well done. Keep writing.

  24. Very well written, Deeptha. A very common problem faced by many adolescents (adults too!!). Your writing is simple and many of your experiences are easy to relate with. Well done. Keep writing…

  25. Most of the people can relate to your views. Most of the tips are very apt. Very well written. Best wishes for a future in writing! Warm Regards,
    M M Vinodan

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