Useful Tips for Coping With Social Anxiety

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It’s normal to feel anxious in social situations, be it speaking before a crowd, or trying something new. However, if the thought of attending family gatherings, office BBQs, other social engagements leaves you feeling apprehensive, you could be battling a social anxiety disorder. Fortunately, you can easily manage this mental health disorder and live a fulfilling life. That said, here are some tried-and-tested strategies for coping with social anxiety: 

Prepare Before Going to a Social Situation

Some preparation can go a long way in easing your anxiety in social places. An easy way to prepare for social situations is identifying people and things that will make you feel at ease. If it’s an office party, for instance, you can ask a colleague whom you are close with, to accompany you. To avoid awkward conversation that may stir your anxiety, you can formulate a pop culture trivia in your head. 

Arriving at a social event with pre-planned ice breakers and stories makes it easier to face strangers without feeling anxious. Questions such as “what was the last movie you watched?” will get the ball rolling as far as having great conversations is concerned. You’ll be surprised by how much people love talking about movies, music, and the like, and this is a great way for you to suppress anxiety in social settings. 

Don’t Avoid Things

Avoiding social situations that leave you anxious may work momentarily, but it’s detrimental in the long run. Thus, facing those anxiety-inducing situations helps you learn how to cope with them. With time, you won’t feel anxious when faced with similar situations. Conversely, avoiding anxiety-inducing situations is akin to procastination since you’ll still face them later on. Worse still, you won’t be prepared for the encounters. 

Often, social anxiety goes away when you start doing the things that were making you anxious in the first place. Indeed, stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, but it gradually programs your mind and body to face apprehensive situations. Hence, when a social situation that typically leaves you anxious comes up, try facing it alone and see what happens. You probably won’t experience the dreadful outcomes you envisioned. 

Practice a Calming Mantra

There’s no better way to manage anxiety than doing something that restores a sense of calm. For instance, repeating a calming phrase or word serves as a reminder that your anxiety only exists in the mind. Positive self-talk and simple affirmations can go a long way in refocusing your attention from anxious thoughts. So, next time you find yourself feeling anxious in a social setting, utter a simple phrase such as “easy, easy, easy.” 

Have an Escape Plan

This may sound dramatic, but knowing that you can walk away from an unsettling social situation gives you a sense of calm. Having an escape plan will make it easier for you to leave without offending anyone. For instance, driving yourself to a party instead of carpooling makes it easier to get away when your anxiety heightens. Sticking around because you’re obliged to will male you feel trapped, thus worsening your anxiety. 

Minimize Adrenaline Beforehand

It’s easier to stay calm om social settings if you burn off excess adrenaline beforehand. Releasing stress from your body before a social event helps to regulate your nervous system, thus leaving you feeling calmer. Some helpful pre-event destressing strategies include marathon house cleaning sessions and intense workouts. Such exercise give you a sense of calm, which comes in handy when faced with anxious situations. 

Key Takeaways

Social anxiety disorder shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying your life to the fullest. Knowing how to tackle your anxiety makes it easier and less overwhelming to face everyday situations.

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