4 Ways Of Overcoming Social Anxiety

Have you ever felt a paralysing fear when thinking about being a part of a social gathering? If so, then you may have experienced an element of social anxiety. This is slightly different from a generalised anxiety disorder. Generalised anxiety disorder causes feelings of excessive worry over everyday or future events. On the other hand, social anxiety causes excessive worry about social events, regardless of size— especially one-to-one interactions. 

Stats reveal that over 8 million Brits have experienced social anxiety at least once. Research has shown that more women experience social anxiety in the UK than men. Several factors can cause social anxiety, such as emotional and stressful influences such as trauma, grief, pregnancy, and bullying. Genetics, insecurities, and brain structure are also causes of social anxiety. Despite all this, you can overcome your social anxiety by following these four tips.

Identify Your Triggers

There are several situations that may trigger the need to excessively worry about an upcoming social engagement. For instance, you are invited to a formal dinner where you must wear a red dress. If you are insecure about your body in such a dress, you will be anxious about attending the event! Part of overcoming social anxiety is knowing what causes it in the first place. However, you must remember that it is specific to you, as social anxiety triggers would differ from one person to the other. An effective way of determining your triggers is by keeping a journal to track your reactions and feelings towards social gatherings. Once you have identified your triggers, you can form effective solutions to resolving them. For instance, if you are uncomfortable about going to a social event due to the security, you can take on self defence classes to protect yourself should the need arise.

Challenge Your Negative Thoughts

Another effective way to overcome social anxiety is by challenging negative thoughts. Your thoughts towards a social setting greatly impact how you feel about it. Many women experience social anxiety, negative thoughts such as saying the wrong thing, smelling weird, a wardrobe malfunction, getting sick in front of everyone, or even tripping and falling. These negative thoughts only increase the worry and stress you feel. However, to effectively overcome social anxiety, you must challenge these negative thoughts so they do not completely take over you. You can replace such thoughts with positive ones through realistic thinking. Using this approach, you address your negative thoughts head-on by evaluating each thought and addressing why you’d be worried about it. Doing this can help you refocus and keep your mind away from such harmful thoughts.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness, be it through breathing exercises or meditation, can ease your social anxiety. Social anxiety causes worry about what is yet to come. Mindfulness helps you stay in the moment. During a social event where you may be experiencing social anxiety, you may want to take deep breaths to recentre yourself and keep to being in the moment. Doing this simple activity can help you greatly. This is because taking deep breaths has been known to reduce stress as the levels of cortisol hormone reduces. In turn, you feel calmer, ensuring you easily navigate the social event. Additionally, meditation has been known to improve your social anxiety in many ways. For example, mindful meditation can cause an increase in self-esteem as it takes away feelings of anxiety and depression.

Go to Therapy

Therapists are experienced in providing the guidance needed to assist people through their lives. When experiencing social anxiety, you must go to a therapist to assist you with your desire to overcome it. Several treatment options are available to you to select from in overcoming social anxiety. You can consider the Action and Commitment Therapy option, which includes teaching how to use acceptance, mindfulness, and behavioural strategies to deal with negative feelings. Cognitive behavourial therapy (CBT) is the common option that allows you to pick up ways to better handle your anxiety. Group therapy sessions are also great to better exercise, managing your social anxiety, and hearing that of others to know you are not dealing with this mental health disorder alone. The form of therapy you select mostly depends on various aspects, such as the severity of your social anxiety and availability.

Dealing with social anxiety can be difficult, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert. Taking a step to overcome this problem is a step in the right direction. Although it can be quite challenging, these tips should help you. However, explore other ways of overcoming your social anxiety effectively.