5 Simple Steps To Beat Social Anxiety
If you identify with Gayathri, Riya or Rajat, chances are, you, like several other people across the world, suffer from social anxiety.
While the severity may vary for different people, the basic element of social anxiety is a crippling fear of negative judgement. Tasks such as making small talk, eating in public or meeting someone new, which may be insignificant for most people, can cause great unease for someone suffering from social anxiety.
If you’re someone who suffers from social anxiety, you know what a hindrance it can be to your everyday life. The good news is that it is absolutely controllable, and with time you can recover fully and eliminate its effects from your life. Here are some tips to combat social anxiety:
Behavioural therapy is the best way to combat social anxiety. Professional help can help you understand your anxiety and ways to combat it. If therapy is accessible to you, it is the best resource available. Seek help and apply all of the principles and techniques you learn to your daily life for successful recovery.
Make a list of your fears
Some self-reflection can reveal a host of triggers of social anxiety. It is important to recognize them to be able to decide what to do next. Make a list of all the social situations that make you anxious and uncomfortable. It would be going to parties with mostly strangers, answering questions in class or talking to the cashier at the supermarket. Next, rate them in order of difficulty, so that you have a clear picture of what is more difficult for you.
Set small goals
Once you have identified your triggers, make small goals to overcome them. They could be simple things such as raising two questions at your work meetings or making it a point to talk to someone you see every day in the elevator. Start with the easiest situations in your list and work your way up. As you keep doing this, you will see progress and feel reassured when venturing out on the more difficult scenarios.
Always challenge the negative thoughts that pop-up in your brain in social situations. People with social anxiety often understand that their fears are unrealistic but they cannot overcome them. Take a few minutes to debate the outcomes of situations with yourself. For example, ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen if you asked someone to join you for lunch? Why would you assume their reaction would be a negative one? Once you arrange your thoughts, you can identify the root of your fear and dismantle it.
Question unrealistic expectations of yourself
Sometimes, we tend to hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. The fear of failure to meet these standards in social situations can often be the cause of anxiety. Remind yourself that it is okay to not know the answers to everything, it is okay to not be perfect at everything and it is okay to make mistakes. Ask yourself if you would judge someone harshly for a small slip-up, just as you are assuming other people will do to you. You answer to that question will give you tremendous insight.