Social anxiety can be a vexing issue. Obviously, of course, there is the fear of social interactions. This can put quite a damper on your daily functions. In addition, social anxiety can become an obstacle when pondering ways to deal with it. You may prefer to avoid strangers and be the center of attention. Thus, reaching out for help may feel triggering.
With all this in mind, it can be helpful to explore some effective self-help strategies. Your ability to self-educate and self-soothe can pave the way for outside support. It all begins with a realization that you have more power than you realize.
Social Anxiety Symptoms
You may dread situations like:
- Asking a question in class or a work meeting
- Eating in public
- Using public restrooms
- Talking on the phone
Such interactions can bring on physical symptoms, such as:
- Shaky voice
- Nausea and other digestive issues
- Racing heart
- Blushing and sweating
As a result, psychological symptoms arise, e.g.
- Social withdrawal and self-isolation
- Intense worrying about any upcoming situation that feels scary
- Fearing that others will notice your social anxiety and remark on it
- Self-medication and substance abuse to dull the anxiety
The goal is never to try eliminating anxiety from your life. Anxiety is not only normal, it is essential. It serves to protect and guide you. It sets off responses that empower you to deal with legitimate threats. Problems arise when your mind and body react to dangers that do not exist. You can get stuck in the fight, flight, or freeze response and live in a state of chronic fear. This manifests as social anxiety when the perceived risks involve interactions with other people — especially people you do not know.
Fortunately, self-help strategies can effectively address this situation and thereby make it easier for you to seek out professional guidance.
4 Effective Strategies to Deal with Social Anxiety
1. Identify and Prepare For Your Triggers
A journal will come in handy to monitor and track your social anxiety triggers. Once you’ve compiled a list, you are better positioned to find ways to prepare in a productive way.
2. Learn Some Relaxation Techniques
As you can see from the above lists, social anxiety can cause some strong physical reactions. This can escalate the anxiety from fear of being noticed. To counter these trends, develop some stress management practices, e.g. meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises.
3. Talk Back to Your Inner Voice
Anxiety is a persistent and convincing liar. But you can talk back and fact-check. When anxiety tells you a situation or person is dangerous, ask for proof. Challenge the negative thoughts and work to replace them with reality-based perspectives.
4. Engage in Random Acts of Kindness
Studies show that people with social anxiety can calm their minds by practicing acts of kindness — large or small. You get to practice social interactions in a setting that gives you power. The people you help gain a positive perception of you. And, of course, someone in need gets help!
When You’re Ready to Reach Out
You’ve already shown strength by accepting the situation and your need for help. Once you’ve integrated the above suggestions, you may feel more and more comfortable with the idea of contacting a counselor as the next step. In today’s digital world, this process can even begin with virtual sessions.
An experienced therapist can and will guide you through the process of managing and minimizing your social anxiety. Your anxiety therapy sessions will be your safe space to talk openly and roleplay for future events. We would love to help you along this path toward healing and recovery. Please contact us soon for support.