Reviewed by Melinda (Santa) Gladden, LCSW
Are you starting to feel like social anxiety is taking over your life? Many people who suffer from social anxiety issues have a hard time getting through life normally. When you feel so anxious out in public, it is going to make it tough for you to do many things. Some people even have social anxiety that is so severe that it makes it tough for them to be able to work normally. What can people do when social anxiety affects their lives to such a high degree?
Read on to get several tips that will help you learn to overcome social anxiety. All of these tips are designed to be very practical for people who are going through social anxiety issues. They should help people who are suffering from mild social anxiety as well as those with problems that are more serious. You can take control of your life again if you are able to utilize these tips properly. Just learn about the things that you can do so that social anxiety does not have to be such a factor in your life moving forward.
Discover Your Social Anxiety Triggers
Learning what triggers social anxiety is going to make it a lot easier for you to deal with it. When you are not caught off-guard by social anxiety, it is going to be simpler for you to cope with what is happening. Most people are going to have specific situations that will cause them to feel more anxious than usual. Some might wind up getting very nervous when they are in large crowds, but others might be more anxious when they are placed in intimate situations.
When you know the types of things that cause you to feel social anxiety, it will be easier to avoid situations like that. You will not have to put yourself in situations where you will feel particularly vulnerable moving forward. Not everyone has a good handle on what their social anxiety triggers are, though. This is why it can be so beneficial to sit down and think about this issue. If you look back at the times that you have experienced social anxiety issues, then you should be able to determine what caused you to feel that way.
Once you have made notes on the types of things that cause you to feel socially anxious, it will be possible to make changes to your routine. You might want to start avoiding going out into big crowds if you know that crowds make you feel terrible. It will become easier to at least limit the number of situations that will set off your social anxiety. Dealing with social anxiety will be easier when you know what to expect.
Get Your Friends to Help
Your friends might actually be able to help you out when it comes to dealing with social anxiety. Many people who suffer from social anxiety feel less comfortable when they are not around people that they know and trust. If you are able to spend more time around your friends and family, then that might be good for you. They can act as your support system so that you can feel better about things. You will even be able to open up to them about what you are going through.
It is also a good idea to consider having your friends and family members accompany you to places that make you feel nervous. When you have social anxiety, some situations will feel tough to deal with on your own. Something as simple as going to see your doctor might make you feel very anxious. However, it might be a lot more manageable if you decide to take a friend or family member along with you. The people that you are comfortable with can help to stave off those anxious feelings so that you can do what you need to do.
For people who are just learning how to deal with social anxiety, this is going to be a good idea. You can get through some social situations that feel awkward by being able to feel more comfortable with your friends around. Eventually, you might be able to overcome social anxiety so that these situations can be navigated alone. It just might take you time to get there.
Visit a Doctor
Visiting a doctor is going to be one of the best things that you can do to help yourself when you have social anxiety. You need to know that you are actually suffering from anxiety before going any further. It might be helpful to take this anxiety test to get a better idea of whether you have an anxiety issue. You can then talk to your doctor about what you have been experiencing so that you can get help. Many people suffer from anxiety, and many people with anxiety specifically deal with social issues.
Doctors can help you to overcome social anxiety by treating you in a few ways. Most often, you will find that doctors will prescribe patients anti-anxiety medications. These medications can help you to feel less anxious overall, and it might make it easier for you to navigate certain social situations. You might also find that your doctor will recommend that you seek therapy. The worse your social anxiety issues are, the more likely it will be that therapy will make a huge difference.
Therapy for Social Anxiety
Therapy for social anxiety has been proven to make a big difference in people’s lives. A therapist can teach you how to get over social anxiety by helping you to develop coping mechanisms. Coping mechanisms are ways that you can help to calm yourself down when you are feeling anxious. You can learn how to regain your composure so that you can get through various situations. Your therapist will work with you to develop coping mechanisms that make sense for you based on the type of anxiety that you are suffering from.
You will likely wind up utilizing breathing techniques and various grounding techniques to try to calm yourself. Therapists are great at helping people to develop these coping mechanisms, but they do a lot more than just that. A therapist can also work with you to help you determine what is causing your social anxiety. You know what situations cause you to feel anxious, but you might not have dealt with the real reasons why you developed social anxiety.
Many people develop social anxiety issues because of things that happened to them in the past. This could involve bullying, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, abandonment, traumatic experiences, and so much more. Working through the issues in your past could help you to overcome social anxiety in time. You can start to feel better about yourself when you confront the issues that have been nagging at you for so long. Admittedly, it is not always easy to deal with this, but you will be able to do so comfortably with a caring professional by your side.
Try to Boost Your Confidence Levels
Some people who suffer from social anxiety issues lack confidence. If you do not feel very confident in yourself, then it is going to be tough to get through certain social situations. There are ways that you can try to boost your confidence so that you will have an easier time. For example, many people start to feel more confident when they start working out.
Starting a new exercise routine could help you to feel more confident than ever. Over time, you will be able to get in better shape if you stick with your exercise plan. Knowing that you are working toward your fitness goals will fill you with a sense of satisfaction, and you will love seeing the results of your hard work in the mirror. Lifestyle changes like this can contribute to helping you overcome social anxiety.
There are other things that you can do to try to feel more confident, too. You could further your education so that you will feel more confident in your abilities at work. It might even make you feel more confident if you start dressing differently. The intention is to do something positive for yourself that will have a significant psychological benefit. This might not cure your social anxiety, but it can be helpful in getting you to feel less anxious in social situations. When combined with methods such as therapy, it can be very effective.
Put Yourself Out There
It might feel like a bad idea at first, but part of overcoming social anxiety is going to involve putting yourself in social situations. If you want to get better at navigating social situations, then you are going to need practice. After you have reached a certain point in the treatment process, it will be a good idea to push some of your social boundaries. This could mean going to a party with a trusted friend or it could be something as simple as going to see a movie at a theater. Try to get yourself comfortable with new social situations so that you can feel more confident.
You will not suddenly be able to do everything without having any social anxiety whatsoever. It is just going to be good to slowly get more used to being in social situations. You do not have to try to do things that make you feel very uncomfortable. Eventually, you might feel brave enough to do things that you never thought you would want to do. Everyone gets through social anxiety problems at his or her own pace.
NOTES: No changes needed.
- Does not go against what is clinically accepted.
- Does not encourage mindsets or practices that may be harmful to the reader.
- Is factual and up-to-date.