Social Anxiety is a type of anxiety disorder that causes intense fears and anxious thoughts around social situations. Those living with social anxiety feel as though they are constantly being judged by others. They also have a strong fear of rejection. These fears may revolve around a particular social situation or they may affect many. These social fears can negatively impact an individual’s life, interfering with day-to-day life, school, work, and other situations. Anxiety is one of the most common mental health conditions with social anxiety affecting 15 million Americans. However, it is highly treatable. With the right support and coping strategies, you can gain confidence and relieve your symptoms of social anxiety. It’s vital to prioritize your mental health so you can thrive. Here are some ways to help you manage your anxiety around social situations.
Avoid negative coping strategies
A very common social lubricant is alcohol. If you’re dealing with anxiety around a social situation, it may seem easy to reach for alcohol to give you that liquid courage. The problem with this is, we often end up drinking too much which results in more anxiety. If you drink too much, the next day you may have a lot of anxiety over what you said or what you did while you were under the influence. It’s important to remember though, people are rarely thinking about you. They are always more concerned with what they said or did. Avoiding social situations all together is another negative coping strategy. This will cause you to miss out on a lot of things in life and you’ll end up isolating yourself which can end up leading to depression.
Get out there
It may be hard at first, but put yourself out there. The best way to overcome social anxiety is to face your fears. Try to be more social. Say yes more. If you continue to avoid social situations that make you feel anxious, you’ll only end up feeling more anxious about it. Avoiding situations will also make you miss out on many opportunities. Take small steps in the beginning to build your confidence. Be patient with yourself.
Challenge your thoughts
When you have a negative thought related to a social situation, be aware of it, analyze it, and then challenge that thought. Counterbalance the negative self-talk with something positive. Consistently challenging these negative thoughts and self-talk will help to change your thought patterns into more positive ones overtime.
If you’re feeling anxious about a particular social situation, do your research. Maybe it’s the type of place you’re going so you know what to wear. Possibly you can learn a bit about the people who will be there so you can think of topics to talk about. Preparing for a social situation can help you feel more confident. It will also give you some control over the situation helping to relieve anxious feelings. You will have an idea of what to expect which ultimately will ease anxious thoughts and feelings. It helps to identify with familiar places and faces in social settings. This will help you feel more comfortable.
If you’re living with social anxiety and it is affecting aspects of your life and keeping your from reaching your full potential, it may be beneficial to get support from a professional. MyTherapist is an online counseling service that can match you with a trained therapist that best fits your needs. Online counseling is great for those experiencing social anxiety because you can receive treatment in the comfort of your own home whenever you need it. There are many therapies and treatments available to help you overcome your social anxiety. Reach out for support.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with MyTherapist.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.