Feeling anxious before a speech or performing in front of a crowd is common for everyone. Social anxiety comes in when you feel anxious most of the time in social situations. You may have feelings of inferiority, self consciousness, and even depression. People who have this condition usually fear being judged, humiliated, and embarrassed by other people. This disorder creates a void in your life. You miss out on opportunities at home, at work, and social settings. It's important that you overcome this condition for a better quality of life. Here are some steps to help you get started in overcoming social anxiety.
Recognize and acknowledge the signs and symptoms of social anxiety.
Do you feel emotional distress when you're teased, criticized, or being introduced to other people? Do you feel nervous, have sweaty palms, and accelerated pulse rate when you're about to speak in public, meet important people, or asked to lead a project? Do you turn red and have difficulty swallowing when a person tries to get to know you better? All these physical manifestations all point at social anxiety. When you recognize what situations specifically stress you out, you'll have a better insight to what your needs are in dealing with your condition.
Resolve to make a commitment with yourself to address your problem.
There are highly successful treatments available for people who want to make their lives better and anxiety free. After recognizing and accepting your condition, your best chance to turn things around is to commit to a treatment. Carrying through a treatment no matter how difficult it is or how repetitive it gets is not easy but is something only you can and must, do.
Help yourself and allow other people to help you.
Find ways to help yourself outside your treatment. Read up on your condition, put tips and techniques to action. Practice what you've learned with the help of family and friends. It might be counter intuitive for someone who has social anxiety to do this but believe that your family and friends are more than willing to help out. They also know you firsthand and what you're going through so you don't have to fear rejection and being judged.
Allow yourself to fail.
Most of what drives people to feel anxious is the fear of failure. Society and media has led us to believe that everything must be perfect, that you should always give an outstanding presentation; if you speak publicly it has to be wonderful and pithy. Well, the truth is a large percentage of the population fail all the time. No one is perfect and what you perceive as perfection happens with hard work and practice. Accept that project your boss asked you to put together; don't pass up on that opportunity and other opportunities that come your way. Do your best and if you fail, don't beat up yourself over it because it's normal and it's healthy. Failure allows you to assess your strengths and weakness and helps you become better.
Reach out to people.
One of the best ways to work on your social anxiety is to join a supportive group who understands your condition and help you towards taking steps to conquer your fears. You can also explore your interests and join groups that allow you to share your creativity. If you love books, join a book readers club. If you love crafting, look for groups or community networks that you can tap. Volunteer your time and expertise in the community; it's a great way of connecting with people in a relaxed environment.
Break down anxiety triggers and deal with them in bite sized pieces.
When you're anxious in a social situation, everything becomes overwhelming. Breaking down your stress triggers make them manageable and keeps you in control of yourself. For instance, a big party crowd is a sure-fire way to stress you out. Why not start meeting people through friends first and gradually meet more people.
Learn how to control physical symptoms of anxiety.
Anxiety has a nasty way of showing itself. You get nervous, you blush, and you can barely breathe! Not knowing how to diffuse these physical symptoms can lead to a downward spiral. Breathing and relaxation techniques help you calm down. Also try yoga, meditation, and muscle relaxation, they all help you control the physical symptoms of social anxiety
Live a healthy lifestyle.
Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants helps control social anxiety. When your body is in top physical shape, you have an easier time dealing with your condition. Getting plenty of rest and proper sleep, as well as moderate physical activity all help you deal better in social situations.
Overcoming social anxiety is no walk in the park. Expect setbacks but know that these are normal. The road towards having control over your condition might be difficult but with the right guidance and mindset, you can achieve it.
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