Social anxiety can influence your relationships, career, and life in a negative way. You may want to deal with it by avoiding situations that cause the anxiety, but if you want to conquer it, and start to enjoy people and social interactions, then you are going to have to get a little uncomfortable. Pushing out of your comfort zone is the only way to conquer your fears and anxieties. Following are 6 methods on how to deal with social anxiety.
1. Change Your Self-Talk
You can help to minimize your social anxiety by talking to yourself differently. For example, instead of saying "This is going to be bad!" you can tell yourself that you are going to have fun, feel good, and enjoy the experience. Positive self-talk may feel weird or untrue at first, but it will have a positive influence on how you think about situations.
It is likely that your social anxiety starts because of a thought that paints a scary picture. Your thoughts have a huge impact on your emotions and anxieties. Try to keep your thoughts in check (no matter how much your inner-self tries to disagree) by changing the way you talk to yourself.
2. Use Your Imagination
If you don't feel brave enough to jump into a social situation yet, then you may want to pretend that you are in a social situation that scares you. This type of therapy is often called systematic desensitization, and it can help you to deal with your social anxiety by facing your fears in a new light.
When you imagine yourself in the situation, try viewing positive results. Happy faces, positive reactions, and everything going smoothly are all examples of good social interactions that you should be picturing.
3. Exposure To Real Social Situations
Facing your social anxiety head on may be one of the best ways to deal with it. It can help you to become more comfortable in social situations and gain self-confidence that removes your anxiety.
However, you do not want to initially throw yourself into a huge social event, as this can be overwhelming and cause you to hightail it out of the room. Instead, you should gradually expose yourself to social events starting with a few people and working your way up to larger crowds.
You can make eye contact with a stranger, talk to someone who intimidates you, or talk to a stranger while you wait for your coffee. There are many ways you can expose yourself to social situations without going to a big party or event. Every time you force yourself to interact, you will be decreasing your anxiety just a little. Don't stop attempting to face your anxiety. Persistence and consistency is the key to dealing with your social anxiety.
4. Explore Music and Sound Therapy
Music therapy is the controlled use of music to help with many issues, including anxiety. Music can help you calm down when you start to feel anxious. Research suggests that music and sounds can produce endorphins that relax muscles, alleviate stress, and promote a positive mood.
First, you have to find a song, genre, or beat that produces a relaxing feeling in you, and then you will be able to utilize it repeatedly when anxious feelings start to arise.
Sounds can also be used to relax and calm down during anxious times. Birds chirping, water moving, and wind blowing by are all sounds that our minds can easily focus on and use to relax. Even something as loud as a train can have a calming effect on someone who views it as soothing.
5. Join a Support Group
Sharing how you feel with like-minded people can help you discover ways to break out of your social anxiety that you may not have discovered elsewhere. Because the idea of attending a support group may actually bring about social anxiety, you may want to join a support group online where you can ease yourself into asking and answering questions, and participating in discussions.
6. Mindfulness and Living in the Now
A lot of anxiety comes from wondering what people think about you, how they view you, and what is going to happen next. Being mindful and living in the present moment, can help you to stop thinking about what will happen and allow you to focus on the truth of what is happening right now. Living in the now stops the thinking mind and opens up your awareness to the present moment.
For instance, if you are going to give a speech, then you may be wondering what the audience will be thinking, whether you will screw up, and whether you will be able to talk at all. But being mindful will help you realize that none of those things are actually occurring, and allow you to focus on what you are doing in the moment, not what you will be doing.
The above 6 methods of dealing with social anxiety will benefit you in a big way. Use one or all of them to start dealing with your social anxiety, and you will start to move towards an anxiety-free life.
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