Many people are extremely shy, but it can be a real problem when that shyness is actually social anxiety disorder. Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder is a condition that makes everyday interactions with others downright crippling. A person who has the condition experiences extreme anxiety, fear, embarrassment and self-consciousness because they believe they are being judged or scrutinized by other people.
When you suffer from social anxiety disorder, it can disrupt your life. Because your stress levels are so high, it can lead to a pattern of avoidance that can affect your work, school and other normal everyday activities. However, although social phobia is a chronic health condition, you can get better through treatment in the form of therapy and medications. You can also use these five tips that can help you to overcome your social phobia.
Breathe and Try to Relax
When you are overcome with feelings of anxiety, your mind begins to take over your body. One of the best ways to curb your social phobia when the anxiety strikes is to perform breathing exercises. Take a deep, steady breath through your nose and then exhale it slowly through your mouth. It will help to calm you down and slow your heart rate and pulse to normal levels. You can learn about these exercises through anxiety counseling online and even download a breathing app on your smartphone and use it anytime you need to calm down.
Seek Out Social Situations to Face Your Fear
It may sound strange, but you should also seek out social situations. Doing so is essentially tackling your social phobia head-on. In your mind, you believe that social situations are bad or even dangerous, so you avoid them at all costs. However, putting yourself right in the middle of a social situation means that you will begin to gradually realize that these situations are normal. Eventually, you may begin to relax once you realize that. You can also follow the breathe and relax tip while you are at social situations to ease your anxiety.
Remember That Your Thoughts Aren't Necessarily Reality
Social anxiety disorder largely stems from the thoughts taking place in your own head. That means that just because you may think people are judging or scrutinizing you, it doesn’t mean they are or that you are in any danger at social situations. Acknowledging that your thoughts are not reality can ease your social phobia and calm you down in general. When you find yourself experiencing negative thoughts about social situations, tell yourself that those thoughts are exaggerations of reality. You can also criticize those thoughts and make efforts to correct them.
When you are in a social situation, social anxiety has you worrying about what other people are thinking about you. You can fight against that by focusing on other people by asking questions when in social situations. Ask things that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” response and generate interest and curiosity. When you ask questions, it leads to a conversation and shows people that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say and in learning more about them. This also shifts your attention outward instead of inward, which means you won’t be wondering so much what others are thinking of you.
Stop Trying to Be Perfect
It’s important to remember that nothing and no one is perfect. When you acknowledge that, you should stop trying to be perfect and realize that not everyone is going to like you. However, you should think hard about whether you like everyone yourself. Remind yourself that it’s normal and even acceptable to make mistakes because that is what makes you human.
Following these five great tips can help you to overcome your social anxiety. Practice these methods regularly and you will gradually begin to feel more at ease in social situations.
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