Think about the last time you walked into a social setting where you did not know anyone very well. You probably felt a bit nervous and on edge. This is an example of what people with social anxiety feel in almost every social setting.

You may think that social anxiety is simply feeling nervous when speaking to new people, but it goes so much deeper than that. I am happy to help educate you on the matter and offer some helpful hints on how you can learn to cope in a healthy manner. Keep reading to learn more.

Let’s define social anxiety

Although you have likely heard the term “social anxiety” tossed around before, you may not really understand the extent of living with this condition. Social anxiety does not discriminate against who it affects. Anyone from an adult to a child to somewhere in between can be living with social anxiety.

Living with social anxiety does not just mean that you are afraid of going to parties. Many people experience social anxiety when doing public speaking or addressing a crowd. It goes far beyond simple nerves, these situations stir up genuine feelings of discomfort and even fear.

What does social anxiety have to do with fear?

Although there can be unique factors that contribute to living with social anxiety, generally, the root cause is based in fear. You may fear judgment from your peers, fear embarrassment from looking uneducated or doing something wrong, fear rejection, or a combination of any of these points. The important thing to recognize is that social anxiety often stems from some type of fear.

While this may seem even scarier, the good news about fear is that it is something that can be overcome. For many, exposure helps. If you expose yourself to something long enough or gradually over time, you eventually will become desensitized to what used to make you so fearful. Take it one step at a time.

Ways to overcome social anxiety

When it comes to beating your social anxiety, the only way out is through. Although it may be a challenge, I promise that with the right techniques, you can put your social anxiety in the rearview mirror.

  • Work on your self-talk: Whether you realize it or not, you may be talking or thinking negatively about yourself. When you put yourself down, it would be easy to think why other people would as well. Start paying attention to how you view yourself, and once you begin to pick up on these negative patterns, you can start to change it.
  • Practice mindfulness: There is almost no better solution to curbing anxiety than practicing your mindfulness techniques. Daily meditation or breath work is a great way to reduce your anxiety levels. Be sure to focus on your meditation mantra or breath in order to stay focused on the present moment.
  • Lean on your support system: When living with social anxiety, every cell in your body is likely screaming at you to not reach out to others. Isolation, however, is not helpful in overcoming your anxieties. Be sure to reach out to friends and family members for encouragement and guidance.

When it comes to any form of mental health condition that is impacting your quality of life, receiving help from a trained mental health professional should be one of the first steps you take. Although you may be intimidated by the idea of being vulnerable with someone new, I assure you, we are all here to help. Reach out today to schedule an appointment to get started overcoming your struggles with social anxiety.