If you suffer from social anxiety, you will fear certain situations. This can vary from person to person. Some will fear speaking in front of groups of people. Others will fear meeting new people, while others may fear going to parties or other types of social events.
In whichever situation your fear arises, you may experience sweating, blushing, feeling your heart racing, or some other symptoms of anxiety. One of the primary symptoms you’ll feel regardless of the situation is thinking others will judge you or find you lacking in some way.
No matter what your symptoms are or where they hit you, there are things you can do on your own to deal with your social anxiety.
Dealing With Social Anxiety
1. Deep Muscle Relaxation
Learning to physically relax is one of the best ways to combat anxiety. You can’t be both relaxed and anxious. In deep muscle relaxation, you will tense and relax the major muscle groups of your body, beginning with your feet and working your way to your head and face.
2. Slow Breathing
Controlling your breathing when you’re anxious is another good way to deal with the emotion. Much of the time when you’re anxious, your breathing becomes more shallow and faster. As a result, this can make you feel lightheaded and dizzy, bringing on more anxiety. Learning to breathe slower and more regularly through your nose will help calm you overall. This technique won’t get rid of your anxiety, but it will help you handle the anxiety better while you’re going through it.
The key to visualization is to remember a place where you felt safe and comfortable. Once you remember this place, it’s important to get a picture of it in your mind so firmly that you can feel, see, smell, and even taste that place. This takes practice and patience.
4. Control Your Thoughts
Faulty thinking is a hallmark of social anxiety. Believing that others are judging you and finding you falling short in some way is the major inaccurate thinking that goes on. It’s important to evaluate whether these thoughts are true. Ask yourself for proof that they are. People with social anxiety tend to over-estimate how badly others will think of them. Keep in mind your thoughts are only guesses about what others will think or what you will do. How you think is a habit, and habits can be changed.
5. Face Your Anxiety
Most people with social anxiety want to hide, avoid, or run away from whatever makes them anxious. By facing your anxiety instead, you find out that it is usually something you can tolerate after a few exposures. However, you may want to try this on a situation that brings a relatively low level of anxiety first. When you try this, focus on what’s going on around you instead of what’s going through your mind. That should help you distract yourself from those anxious thoughts.
Have you found any of the described methods helpful? Do you use other strategies to cope with your social anxiety? Leave a comment below!
Edited by Viveca Shearin