5 Ways To Manage Social Anxiety
In a world where social interactions play a massive part in our daily lives, it can be debilitating for those suffering from social anxiety. While impacting our mental health, social anxiety can also manifest itself in physical problems such as upset stomachs, heart palpitations, and, in extreme situations, panic attacks. Suddenly, a get-together with friends can feel like an obstacle to overcome rather than an enjoyable time that most of us look forward to. Here are five ways to help get social anxiety under control.
Understanding Our Triggers of Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be different from one person to the next, but we can sometimes identify what triggers our anxiety. Understanding this can give back control and allow some perspective on what can be done in our lives to minimize or irradicate these feelings. Create a diary that notes emotions, behaviors, and thoughts when anxiety rears its ugly head. Keeping track of this allows triggers that may ordinarily go unnoticed to be uncovered, allowing changes in our lives to eradicate or at least minimize the worry.
Breathing Exercises to Calm the Mind
When faced with a challenging situation, it is effortless to become overwhelmed, and to experience social anxiety is no different. Our minds can go into overdrive and quickly go from rational to irrational thoughts. Doing breathing exercises can give the appearance of calmness while also sending messages to your brain to relax. To begin, find a space you feel comfortable doing them. Whether sitting down or standing up, take a deep breath in through the nose, silently count to five, and then breathe out through the mouth. Repeat this for three to five minutes, and let the calmness wash over.
Be Focused and Engaged
Phones and tablets can be fantastic tools in many areas of our lives, but they can be negative distractions for those who experience social anxiety. It can be much easier to spend time scrolling through our phones or catching up with a work email rather than engage with those around us. It may even be our little safe space when feeling overwhelmed, but this can make matters worse. Focus on what people are saying. Become engaged and drawn into conversations. While initially tricky, being dragged from our comfort zone can prove to be fun!
Breakdown Challenging Situations
Whether it is an upcoming family gathering or an office party, these can be significant hurdles for those who experience social anxiety. It can feel like a massive task ahead which can lead to increased stress and feelings of panic. Break these situations into manageable chunks and focus on the job at hand rather than the whole event. Take it little by little and concentrate on what is in front of you.
Turn feelings of negativity and anxiousness into positivity by doing something nice for someone. It can sound so simple, but kind gestures have positive effects on emotions and moods. Whether it is a bouquet of flowers for a host or passing a compliment to another guest, these positive interactions will boost positivity. They also give us a small buzz of happiness.
While many of us experience social anxiety at some point in our lives, it is essential to recognize when to get help. If it is seriously impacting our health and how we live our day-to-day lives, then it may be time to contact a doctor for a chat.
Social anxiety can be a challenge to keep under control, but these techniques should help combat the feeling of dread that arises when faced with social situations. Whether it is using breathing exercises to calm the mind or pushing ourselves to be focused and engaged, social anxiety is something that we can control. We only need to know-how.