How to Start Overcoming Social Anxiety
Coming out of a prolonged time of social distancing, it’s likely that you feel out of practice being social. Hopefully, these feelings resolve with a little practice. If not, you may be suffering from social anxiety.
Social anxiety can be quite the beast to live with. No matter what the activity, no matter how much you want to do it, and no matter how much you want to be around certain people, if you suffer from social anxiety, it can put an instant kibosh on it.
The Importance of Addressing It
Your social anxiety may be lower at the present time. With a little pep talk, you can convince yourself you’re fine and move on. Over time, however, it could cause a significant impact on your life.
Close friendships or family relationships can suffer. You may miss out on career opportunities. Dating life can be affected. All of these, in addition to isolation, can cause a resulting depression.
The source of the social anxiety can come from a number of places, but luckily it is something that is very treatable. Just as the source varies, so does the treatment approach. Here are some ways to start.
If public speaking is a source of your anxiety or just being interactive in larger public settings in general, practice can be a good way to work through it.
Volunteer for activities that will ease your way into a smaller scale public speaking role. Join a group that focuses on practicing speaking roles. If that is still too large scale, find a book club that gives you practice speaking in a protected environment, about a topic you enjoy… a good book!
Slow and Steady Exposure
Find a scenario that you are fearful of and start there. You’ll complete something called situational exposure, where you start with an easier task and work your way up to something more challenging.
While exposing yourself to the stressful situation, you’re going to practice relaxation techniques simultaneously. Keep repeating the current level you’re at until you are comfortable before moving on to the next one.
Lean on Your Support System
You have chosen your people for a reason. In moments of struggle, it is important to use them as a support. Don’t feel afraid to share with them what you are struggling with. Maybe one of them has also had similar feelings and can assist you in working through it.
The key to having help from your support system initially is to have a friendly face to guide you through a tough situation. Eventually, your goal is to be able to handle any of these experiences independently.
Various approaches exist in the therapy world to address mental health issues. Cognitive-behavioral therapy addresses the way in which you think about a situation and assists you in making changes to modify your behavior.
Since social anxiety stems from some underlying pattern in thinking, this particular method can get to the nitty gritty. Through implementing this, your goal will to replace any negative talk with more positive talk.
At the end of the day, it is really important to check in with yourself. It’s way easier to spiral out of control than it is to pause and process through the difficult situation. Anxiety has a way of getting into your head and making you feel alone, isolated, and like you’re the only one going through it.
When you notice it ramping up, take a mental time out. Acknowledge your feelings and emotions, but don’t let them conquer you. Run through a self check right in those moments to ease your anxiety.
If you find your social anxiety is starting to run your life, have hope! Reach out for some additional information and assistance about the benefits of anxiety therapy.