6 Wellness Tips For Living With Social Anxiety
It’s normal to feel nervous during certain social events and situations, especially when it requires you to be in front of people. However, if you have social anxiety, that’s a whole different story. When one has social anxiety, even ‘normal’ social situations can be challenging.
Shopping for groceries, meeting strangers, speaking on the phone, or participating in group conversations can make you feel more self-conscious or even scared. As per a survey conducted for over 6,000 individuals, 36% say they experience social anxiety at some time. With social anxiety, you generally experience this intense fear of being judged or watched by others whenever you do any of the said activities. As a result, you’ll rather isolate yourself, avoid social situations, and resort to negative self-talk.
Unfortunately, when left untreated, social anxiety can cause the school or work problems, potential substance abuse, depression, and ruin the quality of your life. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help overcome social anxiety.
Seek Professional Help
If you suspect that you have social anxiety, it’s best to seek professional help for a proper diagnosis. Without proper treatment, your social anxiety can become chronic and eventually impair your daily life functioning. You can reach out to your healthcare provider, general practitioner, or therapist, and they’ll be able to recommend psychological or medicinal treatment solutions to help you.
For instance, they may schedule a few cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions for you. This therapy may help you recognize your greatest social fears and cultivate your social skills to regain confidence and self-esteem during social situations.
Along with therapy, they may also prescribe you medications to alleviate social anxiety disorders, such as trying Cognizin, anti-anxiety medications, and other antidepressants. Regardless of what treatment solution they prescribe, ensure to stick to it and make the most of your treatment.
Do Relaxation Techniques
Social anxiety can be identified through various physical symptoms such as:
- Heavy sweating
- Fast heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
One way to control and overcome these symptoms is to practice relaxation techniques. Relaxation exercises like deep breathing, aromatherapy, music therapy, or meditation can help ease these physical reactions and make managing your anxiety and fear easier.
For instance, if being in a crowded room makes you feel these symptoms, find a quiet place (e.g., bathroom, bedroom) to perform any relaxation techniques until the symptoms have calmed down.
Start With Small Steps When Putting Yourself Out There
Having social anxiety now doesn’t mean you’ll likely have it forever. You can always practice engaging in public to help you slowly fight off this anxiety and make you more comfortable with social situations.
For instance, you can start by scheduling outdoor meals with your family, friends, or anyone you’re most comfortable with. Having them with you can help ease you into the idea of eating in public. To step it up, try making eye contact with strangers and smiling or saying hello. As you grow more comfortable, you can attend bigger social events such as accepting party invitations.
Be patient with yourself, take it one small step at a time, and don’t expect social anxiety to disappear right away. Trying to jump into big social situations right away won’t help and may only worsen your anxiety.
Do Physical Activities Before A Social Event
When you get anxious or nervous during a social event or activity, your adrenaline is released from your body, causing you to become stressed and tense, eventually worsening your social anxiety. So, before attending any social activity, you can try doing physical activities or exercises first to release as much adrenaline and stress as possible.
You can take a brief walk outdoors, dance in your bedroom, run on a treadmill, or finish some household chores to increase your heart rate and let go of the adrenaline rush. Once you’ve released all the unwanted stress and adrenaline, your nervous system will feel better and much calmer, helping you keep your cool during social events.
Spend More Time With Nature
Besides physical activities, immersing yourself in nature may also boost your mental health and help ease social anxiety symptoms. When you’re outdoors, the beautiful sights or sounds can offer a natural calming effect to your body. So, make it a habit to go somewhere close to nature and stay away from your digital screens for a while. Doing this can help clear your mind and prepare you for the next social event.
You can also make it a habit to walk or drive past the park before heading to school or work to ease your anxiety during regular social situations. The calmness of nature can significantly help in calming your nerves before going to crowded places.
Writing down thoughts and feelings can also be a healthy way to cope with social anxiety. If you’re feeling anxious about going to the mall or eating in public, write down what’s making you anxious or nervous. With your feelings or thoughts written on paper, you can better reflect and prepare yourself to cope with them.
You can also journal your experiences after being in a social situation. Then, reflect on what happened and identify what you can change or do to improve yourself.
There’s no shortcut to coping with social anxiety. But by incorporating these wellness tips into your daily life, you can deal with your social anxiety better and become your better self. Moreover, as a good start, seek help from healthcare professionals, as they’re your best partners on your road to recovery from social anxiety.