Over anxiety when talking to people? You’re not alone. Most people experience social anxiety, and it can be a huge barrier to enjoying social interaction. Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health disorder in the US, affecting more than 40 million Americans annually.
However, social anxiety disorder has unique symptoms that can make people shy away from social situations or cause distress. Fortunately, there are many ways to support yourself through social anxiety and help yourself overcome it. Read this guide on how to overcome social anxiety to discover 5 tips and tricks you can use to overcome your anxiety disorder and be more comfortable in social settings.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to overcoming social anxiety, as it depends on the individual and situation. However, some tips that may help you treat anxiety without medication.
- Understanding what triggers your social anxiety and confronting your fears. This can involve tracking down your triggers and addressing them head-on.
- Remembering what’s important in life and focusing on building meaningful relationships. Identify social activities that make you feel good and bring you joy. Then, plan to participate in these activities even when feeling anxious.
- Utilise visualisation exercises and journaling to gain perspective. Write down everything going through your head during social anxiety-related situations, then later read through the thoughts and reframe them into something more positive. For example, if you typically worry about speaking in public or making small talk, write down everything you want to say or do during your encounter.
- Practise mindfulness and create a plan for successful social interactions. When confronted with social anxiety-inducing situations, take a few deep breaths.
First, identify social anxiety triggers, such as attending parties, being the centre of attention, or making small talk. These situations can cause anxiety for people with social anxiety disorder, so it’s important to know why these situations make you nervous and how to handle them.
Practise public speaking
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by anxiety and self-consciousness in social situations that cannot be easily adapted. For people with social anxiety disorder, talking in public or performing in front of an audience can feel overwhelming, causing them to avoid social situations. However, social anxiety can be overcome with the help of therapy, psychotherapeutic techniques, and support groups.
Joining support groups like Toastmasters can help those with social anxiety disorder learn social skills and practice public speaking in a safe and supportive environment. Joining support groups like Toastmasters can also help people with social anxiety recover from their anxiety and build self-confidence. By practising public speaking in a group setting, people with social anxiety disorder can learn to face their fears and improve their social skills.
Challenge negative thoughts
Social anxiety can be difficult to overcome, but by following these tips, you can start overcoming social anxiety symptoms.
Identify and challenge the negative thoughts that arise in social situations. By being aware of the thoughts that lead to social anxiety symptoms, you can reduce the impact of anxiety.
Mindful meditation can help you to gain insight into your thoughts and emotions, which can help you to dispel negative thoughts and feelings.
Start by acknowledging the anxious thoughts and then question why you think like this and if it is how you feel. By challenging negative thoughts, you can help reduce anxiety-prone thoughts’ power.
Focus on all aspects of the situation instead of those that could lead to negative outcomes. When faced with social situations, try not to think about what could go wrong or how embarrassed or embarrassed you will feel. Instead, focus on what you are doing and enjoy the experience.
Replace the negative thought with a more balanced one to help keep anxiety in check. When anxious thoughts arise, try replacing them with more positive ones that reflect your true feelings. This will help to keep anxiety in check while socialising.
Try relaxation techniques
Reducing social anxiety can be challenging, but various techniques can help. Relaxation exercises can help relieve physical symptoms of social anxiety, such as rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, and an upset stomach. Additionally, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that has been proven to be effective in treating social anxiety. When experiencing social anxiety, it’s important to practice self-help skills such as mindfulness and meditation to manage symptoms. These techniques help calm physical symptoms of social anxiety while helping patients learn how to control their anxiety and mental health symptoms over time.
Practise acts of kindness
Performing small acts of kindness can help reduce the desire to avoid social situations. Kindness and social anxiety have a link, as they can help earn positive approvals and reduce fears around social situations. Reacting with self-kindness and self-compassion can have an anxiety-buffering effect.
Mindful self-compassion focuses on understanding our suffering and reacting with compassion and kindness when we must endure difficult moments. Doing acts of kindness can result in gratitude or other positive reactions, which can help reduce the fear of rejection in social settings. By practising acts of kindness, we can foster a sense of compassion for ourselves and build skills that will help us cope with social anxiety in the future.
Reducing your alcohol intake is an important step in managing social anxiety. Mindful drinking, which involves cultivating awareness of when, how much, and how it affects you, can help reduce the effects of social anxiety.
Regular exercise and progressive muscle relaxation can also help you regain control of your body and mind. Instead of drinking to self-medicate social anxiety, focus on practising skills that help you feel comfortable in social situations, such as eye contact, smiling, and talking slower and more clearly. By limiting your alcohol intake while engaging in stress-reducing activities and therapy, you can begin to overcome social anxiety symptoms and live a more fulfilling life.
Talk with a therapist
Talking with a therapist can be an effective way to manage social anxiety disorder. A good therapist will help you identify and overcome the root causes of your anxiety, including thoughts, feelings, and behaviours that trigger or maintain it.
In therapy, you can learn new strategies for coping with social situations and build skills for facing challenges in your daily life. You can also learn how to support yourself while overcoming social anxiety disorder.
Different types of psychotherapy are available, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and mindfulness-based group programmes (MBG).
Mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed social workers, and psychiatric nurses, are equipped to provide psychotherapy. Finding the right mental health professional experienced in treating social anxiety can help you overcome your anxiety and lead a happier life.
Frequently asked questions
A social anxiety disorder can be cured with the right help and assistance. However, 80% of those who suffer from social anxiety disorder never receive professional help.
Treatment for social anxiety disorder typically involves psychotherapy, medication, or both. Psychotherapy is often used to help people understand and deal with the thoughts and feelings that lead to social anxiety disorder. Medications can help people with social anxiety disorder manage their symptoms more effectively.
Yes, social anxiety can be cured naturally. The key is finding the right treatment that fits your needs and symptoms. Treatment options include mindfulness, visualisation, and exposure therapy. Mindfulness is a practice where you focus on breathing and deep thoughts to reduce anxiety and stress levels.
Once you’ve accepted that social anxiety is a disorder, you can begin to practice social skills. Speaking in front of others, practising public speaking, and practising self-confidence can help ease social anxiety symptoms and make social situations less anxiety-provoking. By practising these skills, you’re helping your brain get used to performing well in social situations and reducing your anxiety when socialising. And therapy can help too! Talking with a professional about your situation can help you better understand your disorder and find ways to cope. Remember, just like any other disorder, social anxiety disorder is treatable.
Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
The articles we publish on Psychreg are here to educate and inform. They’re not meant to take the place of expert advice. So if you’re looking for professional help, don’t delay or ignore it because of what you’ve read here. Check our full disclaimer.