Social Anxiety is defined as an extreme state of emotional discomfort or fear when encountering large crowds of people in a social setting. For those who suffer from social anxiety, it can be a very crippling and debilitating problem faced almost every day. Imagine that you are suffering from social anxiety, feeling very shy and scared to visit restaurants or superstores; you fear crowds and groups of people so much that you eventually stop going out to movies or parties altogether.
You are even afraid or feel very anxious when it comes to attending lectures at school. Getting involved in any activity which requires you to get up on stage or do a presentation in front of a crowd of people might just be too difficult to handle. It is safe to assume that as people who experience social anxiety grow older, they become progressively more isolated. They may have trouble making friendships, or even worse, be looked upon as social outcasts or loners due to their extreme social shyness. Social anxiety disorder can be debilitating. The following tips will help you to overcome social anxiety should you find yourself in this situation.
1. Go with Trustworthy People
Bring along a trusted friend, colleague or family member with you when you are going out on a social call, be it to a conference gathering, a seminar or even just a small party, where you know that the chances of feeling very uncomfortable are high. Having someone whom you can trust and who you feel comfortable with will help alleviate your social anxiety.
2. Take Deep Breaths in Open Space
Take small steps when immersing yourself in a social crowd. You could perhaps start by introducing yourself to one or two people and just stay back and observe the surroundings for five minutes. If you should start to feel too anxious, excuse yourself politely and move to a more open space. Breathe deeply and calm yourself down before you go back in. This should help reduce your anxiety.
3. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Are you aware that caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks will amplify your anxiety symptoms? Yes, they do! This is because caffeine drinks acts as stimulants. Therefore, try to reduce your daily intake of caffeine as much as possible.
4. Monitor Your Own Thoughts
Another technique you could adopt is to monitor your own thoughts and feelings when you start to feel anxious. Be aware of negative thoughts such as ‘I’m going to embarrass myself again’ or ‘I’m bound to say something stupid and make a fool of myself.’ Stop these negative thoughts once you are aware of them and replace them with positive thoughts like ‘Everything is great and I’m going to be OK.’ Take deep, slow regular breaths while you run these positive thoughts over in your head and visualize it happening at the same time.
5. Monitor Your Reactions in Social Gatherings
When you find yourself in a social situation, you will do well by observing the situation thoroughly just to check out that there aren’t any palpable threats anywhere near you, that could make you anxious. You should also take into consideration your body reactions such as trembling, sweaty palms, racing pulse or heavy breathing. When we can accept the fact that we are feeling uncomfortable in a social situation instead of trying to resist it the experience begins to have less and less of an effect on us.
6. Keep Motivating Yourself
Continuously tell yourself that whatever might happen, you will continue to live on, that your life will go on and you won’t die even if you feel dead scared or embarrassed. You have to act resilient and tell yourself you are supremely capable of dealing with the experience. The people surrounding you aren’t gorgons or monsters or komodo dragons who will eat you up! They are just normal people like you, and quite a few of them share your same anxiety and are as scared of crowds and social situations as you are.
Social anxiety can be a crippling and debilitating condition for those who suffer from it. People who live with this disorder should exercise self-care and continually make the effort to confront their anxiety so it doesn’t get the better of them.
Author Bio: Dyna holds a degree in health and fitness, has worked as a health instructor for over a decade at some very prominent health related organizations, and is basically a writer by heart. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, startups and the web in general. She has worked in several web agencies and health related organizations, including careactive.com, and is now an independent web marketing consultant and blog writer.
Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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