February 10th, 2022
Social anxiety, also known as social phobia, is a disorder in which someone feels more scared and self-conscious than is normal during common social interactions that come quite easily to other people. This means: even the most light-hearted conversation can leave someone with social anxiety scared, dizzy, and disoriented.
Social anxiety makes social interaction difficult. It can also affect daily and casual activities like eating in public, going on dates, attending classes in school, talking to colleagues, et cetera.
You might think an obvious solution is to avoid people altogether, but it doesn’t work that way. However introverted, private or quiet you might be, it’s impossible to not interact with other people.
How about constantly throwing yourself into social activities to try to overcome your social anxiety? It’s definitely not as easy as that.
In this article, we will highlight 6 effective ways to manage social phobia:
1. See a therapist
Social anxiety is not to be mistaken for merely being shy or hesitant about meeting new people; it’s a mental condition. You can’t work through it yourself. You need the help of a therapist.
A therapist would help you identify specific actions that trigger your anxiety, shed light on the difference between timidity and social anxiety, and teach you helpful strategies to manage nervousness when you’re in social settings.
So, search for “mental wellness center near me” on Google, and find a therapist in your neighborhood. If you’re not satisfied with the results, be more specific. For example, “mental health center New York,” or “mental health center charlotte.”
2. Be prepared
Even in general life situations, one has to plan ahead of time. If you’re dealing with social anxiety, it’s important to prepare your mind before any social activity. This would help you relax and boost your self-confidence ahead of time.
Rather than avoid social interaction altogether, try some relaxation and breathing exercises to help you stay calm and collected.
3. No pressure, start small
While trying to overcome social phobia, many people make the mistake of plunging directly into large gatherings and social settings. In such situations, chances are you’d just become more nervous and discouraged from trying again.
Don’t put pressure on yourself; start small. You can start by going on a date with a friend. Also, try to maintain eye contact with a stranger for a few seconds, or say hi to someone randomly even if you don’t end up talking to them.
Bit by bit, you’d gain the confidence to initiate conversations with people publicly and curb your anxiety in social settings.
4. Role-play with people you’re comfortable with
Pick friends or family members you’re comfortable with and role-play everyday interactions or social settings with them. For instance, simulate a situation where you have to tell the clerk what medication you’re looking for, or a classroom where you have to answer questions.
To make this more effective, ask your role-playing partners to give positive, negative, or neutral reactions to get used to the various ways people may react in such situations.
5. Relaxation techniques
Whenever you find your anxiety creeping in again, rather than panic and get even more anxious, try practicing some relaxation techniques.
For example, practice the 4-7-8 breathing technique: Inhale slowly through your nose for about 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, then exhale slowly for about 8 seconds.
Another helpful relaxation exercise is progressive muscle relaxation.
6. Shift the focus off yourself
When you’re in a social setting, forget about yourself for a moment. Focus on what’s going on around you and pay attention to the conversations other people are having. If you’re also talking to someone, rather than trouble yourself with how to respond, focus instead on being a good listener.
Dealing with social phobia isn’t easy, but persistent practice will make it easier to overcome. We’re just a click away if you need help getting started with your management process.