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…
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!