Overcoming Social Anxiety
Feeling nervous around other people from time to time or in certain settings is common. However, being anxious in all or most social situations could mean that you have social anxiety. This condition makes it difficult to interact with others, which can affect many areas of your life. The good news is that there are several ways to overcome social anxiety. Learning more about this condition can help you understand it better.
What Is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is your brain’s biological response to certain threatening situations, such as being at a party or giving a speech at an event. Keep in mind that your brain perceives these situations as threats, even if you’re not actually in any physical danger at the time. When you’re in a social situation that your brain considers a threat, a part of your brain called the amygdala is hijacked. Your body’s natural defenses then kick in, which can cause you to feel shaky, become nauseous or experience other signs of social anxiety. In general, your body reacts as if you were being chased by a lion when you’re in social situations.
Overcoming Social Anxiety
Social anxiety doesn’t have to prevent you from interacting with others or cause you to avoid social situations. You can take steps to handle this type of anxiety, so you can feel at ease when you’re around other people. The following tips are some ways to work on overcoming social anxiety.
Understand Your Triggers
One of the first steps toward getting a handle on social anxiety is figuring out what triggers you. For example, your anxiety might flare up in public speaking situations or when you’re in a crowded space. Unwanted attention from others can also be a social anxiety trigger. When you know your triggers, find ways to practice being in these situations so that you become used to them and numb to the anxiety they cause. Therapy can help you develop coping skills to handle triggers more effectively.
Face Your Fear
Avoiding situations that scare you or trigger anxiety perpetuates your fear instead of easing it. You have to be willing to face your fear in order to overcome it. Think about the last time you had to do something really difficult, including how you did it and what helped you.
Remember What’s Important
Social anxiety involves worrying about how others view you or what they think of you. Work on shifting your thinking so that you’re focusing on what is important to you, such as whether or not you’re feeling happy or fulfilled in your life.
Visualization involves picturing yourself in social situations. Imagine yourself handling these situations with confidence while feeling at ease. This can be a powerful way to overcome social anxiety.
Journal Your Thoughts
Putting your thoughts in a journal helps get them out of your head so that you can gain some perspective. Practice writing your thoughts about social anxiety down regularly.
Prepare for Victories
Create small steps toward overcoming social anxiety, then prepare for victories when you accomplish these goals. For example, your steps might be making eye contact, waving, and saying hi when you’re around other people.
Mindfulness can provide a highly effective way to ease social anxiety. Practice being in the present moment without worrying about the past or future. Being mindful regularly can help you feel calmer in social situations.
Therapy can offer another powerful way to handle social anxiety. Exposure therapy, for example, gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to feared situations gradually. Exposing yourself to these situations slowly can help you react to them in a positive or neutral way rather than a fearful way.
If you struggle with social anxiety, please contact Jonas Hill today. We can assist you with getting professional help, such as therapy, so that you can overcome social anxiety.
Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact us today for more information. A safe space to heal.