Most of us get nervous and self-conscious in social situations. We may be afraid to speak in public, or to enter a party without knowing anyone, but it is for the most part manageable. However, some of us suffer very specific and real physical and emotional reactions to social situations, and that can be quite debilitating and embarrassing. In order to help you to deal with social anxiety, we have listed some tips for you below.
Remain in touch with other people – even though social situations make you anxious, if you fully retreat the situation may get worse. Find activities you like to share with other people such as volunteering, joining a book club or gardening. If you have common interests with others you may find it easier to strike up a conversation and set the foundation for a friendship.
Rehearse what you will say – this may sound a little silly, but playing out in your mind what you may say in social situations can actually reduce your anxiety about it. Having a couple of topics on your mind that you can reach for in case of need is always a good idea. Current events including sports and pop culture can be helpful when you interact with others. If you feel comfortable, you should even try out your conversations with a friend or family member and have them help you anticipate how the interaction could go.
Be your greatest cheerleader – don’t let your social anxiety get the best of you. Remind yourself that you are a wonderful person and that there isn’t a person in the world without weaknesses. Try to keep things in perspective, and don’t let yourself believe that a moment of awkwardness is the end of a relationship or conversation. Try to keep things in perspective and realize that suffering from social anxiety is okay, but you are strong enough to work through it.
If you feel like your social anxiety is well beyond your control, make sure to seek the advice of a professional. There are many highly qualified individuals who can help you work through it and provide you with tips and pointers to alleviate the situation.
By David McDonough