Healthy Ways To Cope With Social Anxiety

Techniques to deal with social anxiety.

Katy Morin

7 days ago|9 min read

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Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a type of anxiety characterized by overwhelming feelings of stress and fear in everyday social situations. Many people who suffer from this condition avoid contact with other people and may place extreme importance on making a good impression.

If you suffer from SAD, you may be constantly worried about embarrassing or humiliating yourself in front of others.

You may also believe that other people think negatively about you and are likely to reject you. While the fear of being judged negatively by others is a common fear among those who suffer from SAD, it can lead to extensive isolation and depression over time.

If you think that your social anxiety symptoms may be interfering with your quality of life and ability to enjoy life, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. A trained mental health professional can diagnose you properly and provide a treatment plan that works for you at this stage in your life.

Understanding the nature of your problem is vital to developing a successful treatment plan. People who suffer from social phobia are highly self-conscious about their appearance, behavior, and emotions. They are also sensitive to criticism, embarrassment and rejection that may occur in everyday situations. Social phobics have trouble performing simple tasks such as making small talk or turning their head at the right time in order to greet someone they do not know well. Some people with social anxiety receive minimal comfort when speaking on the telephone or sitting in a public place where they cannot see anyone.

The best way to cope with social anxiety is to understand the disorder and its causes. If you are able to identify one of these issues, you can find a way to minimize your social anxiety.

If you feel extremely uncomfortable in social situations, there are some ways that you can cope before the event takes place:

Anticipate possible responses

Body language is the most important part of social interaction. If you find a way to observe how others will respond to your behavior, you can avoid situations where you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes that observation may be as simple as reading someone's facial expressions or observing body posture. Learning more about body language and recognizing postures that others take may also help alter your emotional responses to social situations.

Breathe

If you have difficulty going into challenging social situations, you can try deep breathing or muscle relaxation. These techniques will help relax your body and distract you from your anxiety.

When you are in a social situation, try to keep your focus on the moment instead of worrying about the past or future. If you take this approach, you can reduce some of the stress and anxiety that comes with social situations.

Use your strengths

Instead of trying to learn from other people, it is a good idea to focus on your strengths. Successful people often do this. They focus on their strengths and they also work to overcome their obstacles. This approach will help you overcome some of your weaknesses and make you feel more confident overall.

Stop avoiding opportunities

If social anxiety issues are affecting your life, you probably have developed a tendency to avoid opportunities that could lead to stress or embarrassment. This is a mistake -- especially if you want to manage your anxiety issues successfully. In most cases, the best way to manage social anxiety is not by avoiding situations that might cause embarrassment but by facing them and working through the discomfort as soon as possible. In some cases, the best approach for coping with social anxiety is to start small by facing simple challenges first. The more time you spend in social situations, the less difficulty you may have with those same situations on future occasions.

Practice self-talk

Self-talking is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps you learn how to use certain types of phrases to positively direct your thoughts and behaviors. This type of treatment is commonly used with children who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but it has also been used with patients who are learning how to cope with social anxiety disorder. When practicing self-talk with social anxiety disorder, it is a good idea to use positive words and phrases that reflect good feelings about yourself.

Take a warm shower

As mentioned earlier, deep breathing can be an effective treatment for patients dealing with social anxiety disorder. Another technique that can be used in conjunction with deep breathing is taking a warm shower. The heat from the shower will relax your muscles and the steam from the water can help you breathe more deeply. A hot shower may also distract you from some of your negative thoughts while you are in the moment. It is important to remember that these techniques are not supposed to offer instant relief but simply help you deal with your social anxiety in manageable portions over time.

Take small steps

If you are currently dealing with social anxiety that is severely affecting your life, it may be a good idea to start small. If you avoid all forms of social situations, you may decide to start with a simple challenge. For example, perhaps you have trouble ordering food at a restaurant or making small talk while shopping. Start by facing these simple challenges and then work your way up to more challenging social interactions. Over time, the more time that you spend in these situations and the better that you handle them, the less difficulty you will have with them in the future.

Allow other people to help you

If your friends and family are willing to help, it may be a good idea for you to ask for that assistance. If your family and friends feel that you have a problem, they may be willing to provide support in various forms. In some cases, this might mean taking specific actions like writing down your thoughts or talking about them with a mental health professional. Other times, it might mean genuinely helping you by looking at social situations from an objective perspective.

Use role models

When you are having trouble coping with social situations, you may find it beneficial to look up to other people who have a lot of experience in those situations. For example, if you have trouble ordering at a restaurant, ask someone who seems comfortable and confident while they are ordering at that restaurant to share some "insider tips." An expert on social anxiety would also be able to help you with a similar challenge. Even though this is not part of a formal treatment program, using role models can provide you with suggestions that will help ease your social anxiety symptoms.

Cope with rejection

It is important to remember how you feel when someone else rejects you, so you can be more empathetic when other people react in the same way. If you feel upset after being rejected, try to focus on the fact that other people are likely feeling the same way. Remembering these social interactions will help you cope and forget about them sooner. There are many ways of coping with rejection but it is important to remember that acceptance from others is not necessary for your self-esteem. It is up to each individual person to define their own self-worth based on positive accomplishments and behaviors.

Set goals

If you have a mental health issue like social anxiety disorder, it is important to set manageable goals. Instead of having unrealistic expectations about your progress, you should set realistic goals. This can help you to avoid disappointment and develop more confidence over time.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or the future. Some people may find that mindfulness meditation helps with overcoming social anxiety issues because it forces patients to focus on the present moment in which they are sitting alone or in a group while they meditate. It can be difficult to focus on a single task for more than a few minutes, but with practice, it is possible to overcome your social anxiety by simply focusing on one thing at a time.

Set obstacles for yourself

When you know that you need to face a certain type of social interaction, try setting obstacles for yourself. For example, if you are going to see a movie with friends, set an obstacle like buying the tickets early or arriving before everyone else. Doing this will force you to face small challenges before they occur and the more that you work through these smaller challenges successfully, the easier it will be to handle larger ones later. This is why setting obstacles is a good way to face your social anxiety disorder.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Using drugs and alcohol can make you feel better in the moment but it can worsen your social anxiety issues in the long run. Whenever you use these substances, you are dealing with a chemical imbalance that makes you feel better for a short period of time. Just like when you take painkillers for an injury, only taking drugs and alcohol will not allow your body to heal properly. You may also find that these substances interfere with your ability to cope with social anxiety over time because they make you feel inebriated before you face these challenges.

Avoid self-blame

It is easy to blame yourself when you have social anxiety because you think that something is wrong with you. It can be very hard to accept yourself and the way that you feel. However, it is important to realize that this tendency to want to blame oneself can make it even more difficult for you to cope with your symptoms. When you try blaming yourself, it can make your symptoms worse because that is what will happen if you keep on believing in your negative thoughts. Instead of blaming yourself, it is a good idea to keep a journal and write down your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This way, you can track your progress and see why certain thoughts have made you feel worse before.

Avoid negative people

Try to avoid anyone that is making you feel anxious or uncomfortable. This includes close friends, family members, co-workers and even people that are professionals. Instead, try to interact with positive and caring people who understand your social anxiety issues so that they can offer you guidance through social interactions. When you go out with a friend, try to stimulate as many senses as possible so that the other person will be able to distract themselves from their own feelings of anxiety and nervousness.

Accept the way you feel and try to change it

In order to cope with social anxiety disorder, it is important to accept that you have these symptoms and that they are affecting your life in a negative way. Once you accept this, you will be able to recognize which situations make you feel anxious or uncomfortable. In addition, you may be able to pinpoint what causes your social anxiety so that it may be easier for you to avoid certain triggers in the future. Before the disorder gets out of control, learn what makes it worse so that you can avoid these triggers in the future. By accepting the way you feel, you will be able to recognize the problems that are causing these negative feelings so that you can do something about them.

Realize that there is no right or wrong way to behave

Have you ever felt like there was a certain way for everyone else to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable? For example, if someone is watching TV and kicking their legs back and forth, it can make you uncomfortable because even though this doesn't bother them, it bothers you. In addition, if other people act in a way that involves crying or screaming, it can make you feel uneasy because this is not the stereotypical behavior in public. However, nothing can be done about their behavior and you should not feel bad about yourself. Instead, realize that everyone is different and that there is no right or wrong way to behave. When you feel this way, it will be easier for you to cope with your social anxiety in the future.

Get enough sleep and avoid over-stimulation

It is important to get enough sleep so that you can cope with your symptoms. You may be tired because of your social anxiety issues, or you could be tired because of other problems like lack of sleep. If you have these symptoms, it will help to get enough sleep so that you feel more alert and less tired. In addition, constantly over-stimulating yourself can also contribute to this problem. Therefore, try getting enough sleep at night and avoiding over-stimulation during the day so that you have time for relaxation and anxiety reduction techniques.

Make quality contact with other people

When you are feeling anxious and don't feel like talking with other people, try to make quality time, rather than quantity of time, in the social environment. Quality time is contact with other people without putting pressure on them to talk. In addition, when you make quality time with someone else it may also help to make you feel more comfortable around them because they will help distract you from your own feelings of anxiety. Try making enough quality time with the other person so that it becomes easier for you to cope with your symptoms in the future.

Social anxiety disorder can be extremely debilitating. If left untreated, it can lead to depression and other mental health problems. However, through the tips and strategies, social anxiety can be managed and even cured. It may take some time, but it is important to realize that with the right treatment plan, you will be able to control and even eliminate your social anxiety.

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Katy Morin

Hi, I'm Katy Morin. I'm a social anxiety coach and hypnotherapist. I provide the antidote to social anxiety suffers by empowering them to safely use their social skills in social situations.

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