Social Anxiety: How to Overcome It
How to conquer your social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is relatively widespread, affecting 10% of people over the course of their lifetimes. Life can be uncomfortable for sufferers, who often struggle with ordinary social activities which most people take for granted.
When you have social anxiety, it’s easy to become despondent – it may seem as if you’ll never be able to interact with other people as effortlessly as those around you. But there are several steps you can take to ease your symptoms and prevent your anxiety from holding you back. Here are some examples.
Don’t avoid what you fear
Facing your fears is much easier said than done, but it’s crucial. The more you avoid social situations, the scarier they will become. On the other hand, if you confront your fears then you’ll usually discover that they’re unfounded. It is just a narrative or story you’re making up in your mind.
For example, you may turn down a date with someone you like because you fear you’ll make a fool of yourself. That will increase your conviction that dating is scary. But if you do go out, you’ll probably have a great time. Because of this positive reinforcement, future dates will seem far less intimidating.
Get out of your comfort zone
Learning to deal with discomfort is essential in all areas of your life, not just social situations. If you’d like to do something new, but the more thought of feeling uneasy scares you, that’s a sure sign you should do it anyway! You’ll feel terrific once you’ve done it, and it will give you a much-needed confidence boost. It’s hugely empowering to overcome your fears, and it can make you feel as if you can do anything, which is a sure-fire way to banish anxiety.
If you’re struggling to pluck up the courage to do something different, find out as much as you can beforehand. For example, if you’re nervous about getting the train alone, look up and write down all the details(times, platform numbers and so on). You can even look at a map of the station if you’re nervous about finding your platform. Having all these details on hand may help to calm your nerves, as it limits the unknowns. This method can work in social situations too.
Seek help if needed
You may feel too overwhelmed and disempowered to start working through your anxiety yourself. There is no shame in that; if you need help, then seek it. Reaching out can be especially tricky when you have social anxiety, but the results are worth it. Behavioral therapies may be enough, or you may need medication too. Again, there is nothing shameful about either.
Don’t make anxiety your identity
It’s easy to start having thoughts like “I’m an anxious person” or “I can’t do that because of my social anxiety.” However, these thought patterns are limiting and unhelpful. Try not to identify too strongly with being socially anxious. Instead, see your anxiety as something temporary which you will overcome. Changing your mindset can be powerful.
Keep your goals in mind
Overcoming social anxiety is not easy, so you’ll need strong motivation to make it work. That means knowing why you want to do it; is it so you can go traveling, get a job or make new friends? Whatever it is, keep focusing on your goals, and you’ll find it much easier to get motivated. Good luck!
How to Conquer Your Social Anxiety
At High Expectations Counseling we have trained therapist waiting to help you overcome your social anxiety. Get a hold of it instead of it controlling you. Meet the team and see which therapist is the right fit for you today. Call us at 407-967-1327.