Without any doubt, social anxiety is affecting more and more people nowadays and preventing them from fully enjoying life and all its opportunities. First things first, we must clearly state that contrary to popular belief, there is a lot more to social anxiety that just shyness – it involves panic, a pounding heart, rapid breathing, shaking and a lot of other symptoms. It mustn’t be treated lightly.
The good news is that this condition can be treated. It’s more severe conditions might require medication, but for the normal levels of social anxiety, practicing the next 5 steps will lead to better social interactions:
1. Practice active relaxation
Try to think about the next large social interaction in advance, but do this while being in a friendly, familiar and relaxing zone. This will help you mind get into a positive and relaxed stance regarding the event, leading you to feel more relaxed during the actual interactions.
2. Face your fear as much as possible
While this might sound counter-intuitive, try to put yourself in as many social interactions as possible. Joining small clubs and groups and staying busy all the time are great ways to achieve constant progress, and before you know it, your anxiety will be gone.
3. Focus outward during social interactions
Try to focus on exterior details – furniture, wallpapers, what other people are wearing – in order to drift your attention from your interior struggles. Paying less and less attention to yourself in these situations will greatly aid with your anxiety, until you’ve completely forgot you had an issue in the first place.
4. Think positive about the events
If you keep telling yourself things like “This will surely end bad” or “I hope I don’t feel as terrified”, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Try to challenge your mind by asking questions in your head, questions like “How can I make my next interaction better?”
5. Practice being yourself
A lot of cases of social anxiety are built around people fearing to present a less-than-ideal version of themselves. If you understand the fact that all people have flaws and make mistakes, you will quickly be able to express yourself more freely in social instances.
In other words, social anxiety should by no means ruin your interactions for the rest of your life. If you treat it actively by pursuing the steps above, you should feel better in no time and have bigger, better and more frequent great outings.