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Social Activity Doesn’t Need to Be Painful

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Does your wellness plan for 2010 include a resolution to be more social? Social activity can reduce stress, improve your overall well-being and increase self-confidence.

Do you crave positive human relationships? In our technical age, it is especially difficult for some people to get out of cyberspace and be around real people, especially if you have social anxiety. It can be a real challenge for someone to overcome anxiety-inducing situations. In an article I found on Real Simple magazine’s website, “How To Beat Social Anxiety,” readers share their tips (link at end of article).

When going to a party or event alone, one woman shared that she (a journalist) pretends to be conducting an anthropological experiment. This helps her to think of simple questions to ask party-goers about what they are doing at the party, how they know the host, etc. She finds that often this helps her to change the focus from herself to others and lets her realize that many times others feel just as uncomfortable as she.

Similar to this, I like to think of questions to ask people at a party so I have some things to talk about before I enter the event. I think if I know anyone there and what I can ask them about from their life -- spouse, children, pets, work, school, extended family -- all are good topics to get the conversation going. And if you can’t think of something or if you forget your list of questions, offer a simple compliment, like “I love your blouse, that color looks great on you?”

Another tactic is to get a friend to go with you. Ask someone to sign up for an event or a class with you.

If you want to go out to eat but have no one to go with, don’t let that stop you. You can still go to a favorite restaurant or even a new place you want to try and not feel overly self-conscious. A trick I use and is supported by psychologist and author, Barbara Markway and psychoanalyst and author Florence Falk, is bringing work. As an editor and writer, I sometimes need a change of scenery from my office, so I head out into the world and do my work at a café.

It’s easy for me to lose myself in a room when focusing on the papers in front of me.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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