Tips for Dealing with Social Anxiety
Many people struggle with social anxiety. It can be tough to interact with others, especially those who you rarely talk to or have never talked to. Keeping up conversations while trying to avoid awkward silences and embarrassment can be easier said than done. Despite this, there are ways you can reduce your anxiety and nervousness in social situations.
Developing confidence can help you overcome social anxiety. The best way to develop confidence is to put yourself in situations where you have to engage in social interaction. The more you do so, the more confident you’ll feel from your experiences alone. The repetitive exposure to such situations will help you grow from your mistakes and feel less tentative.
It’s also important to not worry about the fear of messing up or looking bad in front of others. You have to practice mindfulness and eliminate all negative thoughts from your head as best as you can. Understanding your emotions and your thoughts can help you gain better control over those feelings, so that you can shut away the negative ones and maintain a positive outlook.
Overlooking social mistakes and embarrassing moments are important in being able to move forward with oneself. It’s not the end of the world, and you have to realize that those mess-ups will usually be forgotten in the grand scheme of things. What’s most important is to have the courage to approach a social situation and be determined to persevere through any awkward and embarrassing moments you have. Also, if you’re meeting someone for the first time, come prepared with some ideas to talk about to avoid potential awkward moments.
A time where I had to overcome social anxiety was when I had to talk to one of my professors after class hours for help with one of the concepts I was struggling with. Usually, I would resort to researching questions online or through notes, but I was having difficulty understanding the concept and realized I had to go ask him one-on-one if I wanted to do well on the next exam. I decided to prepare beforehand the exact questions I wanted answered, so that I would not forget what I needed to ask in front of him. I was initially nervous when I first began speaking with him, but as the conversation went on, I began to become more focused on the topic rather than my own anxiety. I was able to leave feeling confident that I had not only shown the courage to speak with him, but that I was able to get my questions answered. I believe my preparation and determination to do well on the next exam helped me reduce my nervous tension and prevent social anxiety from getting in my way.
Social anxiety can be a very difficult thing to live with, and can take a long time to overcome, but I believe it can be done. I still struggle with it, but practicing mindfulness and trying to engage more socially has helped me feel better about my social anxiety compared to years past. If you want more tips to handle social anxiety, check out this article: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tips-for-social-anxiety_n_5a832a7be4b0adbaf3d8056c
You can also watch this video about 9 things social anxiety makes us do:
-- BitterSweet Coaching Guest Writer