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How to Manage Social Anxiety

Everyone experiences social anxiety at times. But going about your daily business can be particularly difficult if you have social anxiety disorder (also known as social phobia). In social situations, you might have a great deal more self-consciousness and fear than other people do, and you might also have low self-esteem.

But resist the urge to let fear prevent you from living fully. The disorder of social anxiety can be treated in a number of ways. In order to feel better and get through the day, try these seven suggestions. Additionally, be aware that some people may require professional assistance to overcome their social anxiety.

1. Maintain Breathing Control

Uncomfortable physical changes might be brought on by anxiety. For instance, you might start breathing quickly and shallowly. You may feel even more worried as a result. You can experience tension, vertigo, or suffocation.

You can control your breathing and other anxiety symptoms by using specific techniques. To start, try these:

  1. Straighten your back and take a comfortable seat.
  2. Let your shoulders drop.
  3. Grasp your chest with one hand and your belly with the other.
  4. For four seconds, inhale slowly through your nose. Your hand on your stomach will rise, whereas the hand on your chest shouldn't move much.
  5. Hold your breath in for 2 seconds and then slowly let it out through your mouth for 6 seconds.
  6. Repeat this a few times to induce relaxation.

2. Try progressive muscle relaxation or exercise.

According to research, engaging in physical activity like running can help you manage your anxiety. Also useful is progressive muscular relaxation. This entails tensing and relaxing specific muscle groups in your body while focusing on the sensation of the release.

You can relax by practicing yoga. Some of them include deep breathing, which can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure. According to studies, practicing yoga for a few months can help reduce general anxiety. In fact, even one lesson can help with anxiety and mood.

3. Prepare

You can feel more secure if you prepare ahead of time for social situations that make you uncomfortable. Some situations could make you feel the want to stay away from them because they give you anxiety. Instead, make an effort to get ready for the future.

If you're going on a first date and worried that you won't have anything in common, for instance, try reading magazines and newspapers to come up with a few conversation starters. Do some breathing or relaxation exercises to help you relax before you leave the house if attending a party or business event brings on symptoms.

4. Start Small

Don’t jump into big social situations. Schedule restaurant meals with friends or family members so you can get used to eating in public. Try going out of your way to make eye contact with people on the street or at the grocery store and say hello. If someone starts a conversation with you, ask them questions about their hobbies or favorite places to travel.

As you become more comfortable, you can progress to increasingly difficult activities.

Don't be too hard on yourself. Fighting social anxiety requires patience and practice. You don't have to immediately confront your greatest phobias. Taking on too much too soon may actually make you feel more anxious.

5. Take Yourself Out of the Picture

Instead of focusing on your thoughts, try to pay more attention to what is going on in the world around you. You can accomplish this by paying attention to what is being said or by telling yourself that others probably can't tell how worried you are just by glancing at them. Concentrate on being present and a good listener since people like it when others act sincere and interested.

6. Respond to unfavorable thoughts

These ideas may even be automatic and may be related to particular persons or circumstances. They are typically in error. However, they could make you misinterpret things like facial emotions. You might come to believe that people are thinking things about you that they aren't because of this.

To accomplish this, you can just use a pen and piece of paper:

  1. Consider all the unfavorable ideas you have about certain circumstances.
  2. Put them on paper.
  3. Confronting negative thoughts with good ones should be written down.

Here’s a broad example:

  • Negative thought: “This situation makes me so anxious, I won’t be able to deal with it.”
  • Challenge: “I’ve felt anxious before but I’ve always gotten through it. I’ll do my best to focus on the positive parts of the experience.”

7. Employ Your Senses

Your senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste—can help you relax when you're feeling worried. Some folks find that viewing a favorite image or inhaling a particular perfume works. Try your favorite song, a tasty piece of gum, or cuddling with a pet the next time you start to feel nervous about a social event.