How to overcome social anxiety

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Have you ever been to a social setting where you have felt awkward, nervous and uncomfortable? Chances are that you are not alone. So how to overcome social anxiety? While going to a party can be fun, especially when you are surrounded by people whose company you enjoy, there are social events you will attend where you sometimes find yourself wishing you were somewhere else. Such occasions can sometimes be the cause of much anxiety and self-consciousness.

You may even feel like everyone else is having a good time except for you. Yet the truth is that everyone has felt shy and awkward on occasion. One of the best ways to overcome self-consciousness or get past your feelings of shyness at social gatherings is to focus on the people around you. If you remember that other people might also be feeling awkward or shy, you might find speaking to them less intimidating or overwhelming.

‘If you feel shy or awkward in social situations, know that many others probably feel the same way too’.

The next time there is a social event you feel nervous about attending, how to overcome social anxiety you may want to try this exercise:

‘Spend some time with your eyes closed and breathe deeply. When you feel ready, create your comfort zone by visualising yourself surrounded by a warm white light that is protective yet accepting of others. Imagine people at the event being drawn to you because of the open and warm feelings that you are radiating. When you arrive at the event, take a moment to spread this same light of loving acceptance to everyone around you. Smile and greet people warmly. Try going up to someone who is standing alone and introducing yourself. When you radiate acceptance, openness, and receptivity, people can’t help but respond to you in kind’.

Focusing on how you can make other people at a social gathering feel at ease can help you forget about your insecurities. In the process, you make the very connections you seek. The next time you attend a social gathering, and are worried about how to overcome social anxiety: invite people to join you in the comfort zone you have created so lovingly and intentionally

I’ve had several terrible encounters with friends and co-workers who wanted to be helpful but said the wrong thing. I wasn’t sure how to tell them otherwise at the moment. (how to overcome social anxiety) Without a doubt, social anxiety doesn’t come with a manual!

Some of my favourites were:

“You need to get yourself together,” I said.

When a co-worker discovered me sobbing in the staff restrooms at an event, she said this to me. She believed that I would get my act together by showing me some tough love. But in addition to not helping, it made me feel more vulnerable and uncomfortable. It confirmed my freak status and the need for me to conceal my illness.

It seems that when someone is experiencing anxiety, the natural reaction of witnesses is to urge them to calm down. But, ironically, it only becomes worse as a result. The patient is struggling mightily to settle down but cannot do so.

“Be sensible. Everyone is too preoccupied with their own life to pay attention to you”.

My friend reasoned that by bringing this up, she would make me feel better. Awfully, no. I was concerned that I was being unfairly judged at the time by everyone in the room. Social anxiety disorder is a crippling condition. So even though I knew in my heart that no one was looking at me, the teasing thoughts persisted.

“What makes you anxious?”

One of the most annoying queries we’ve ever heard is this one. But over the years, everyone close to me has questioned it at least once. I’d undoubtedly be able to devise a bloody solution if I knew the reason behind my anxiety: why questions highlight my ignorance. I don’t blame them, however. Humans naturally want to see the issue, so they ask inquiries. We enjoy finding solutions.

Avoid making remarks like these when your friend is experiencing anxiety.

Here are five ways how to overcome social anxiety:

  1. Deal with their feelings: The most important thing to remember is that anxiety is not an illness of reason. Therefore, a sensible answer is unlikely to be helpful, especially during anxiety. Instead, try to work with your emotions. Accepting their anxiety will allow you to be patient and kind instead of blunt. Remind them that the feeling will pass even though they may be upset. Work with unreasonable beliefs while recognising the person’s anxiety. Try something like this as an illustration: “I can see why you feel that way, but I promise you that it’s simply anxiousness. It’s not true.
  1. Concentrate on their emotions: Never inquire about the cause of the person’s anxiety. Ask them how they are feeling instead. Ask them to describe their symptoms. Allow the patient space to feel uninhibited. Let them cry if they need to. The pressure will dissipate more quickly.
  2. Employ strategies for diversion: Suggestions include going for a stroll, reading a book, or playing a game. For example, I Spy, and the Alphabet Game are two-word games that my buddies and I frequently play when experiencing severe anxiety. This will divert the nervous brain, allowing the person to decompress naturally. Additionally, everyone enjoys it.
  3. Have patience: When dealing with anxiety, patience is a virtue. Avoid getting angry or yelling at the person. Instead, before taking action or attempting to assist the person in making sense of what is happening, wait until the worst part of the attack spikes.
  4. Lastly, be hilarious. Laughter flushes off stress the same way water does. When I’m upset, my buddies are excellent at making me laugh. For instance, if I say, “I feel like everyone is watching me,” they will say, “They are. It would be best if you were mistaken for Madonna or something by them. You should perform so that we can make some money! The final word? Although anxiety is a complex condition to manage, there are many methods to do it with love, patience, and compassion.

Here in the article how to overcome social anxiety: you can learn tips and get started in a way that will help. Build your confidence slowly and start to live your life the way you want to. Contact me to chat or learn more about what I can do.

Picture of Andrea A Smith
Andrea A Smith

I help Individuals and Organisations to manage workplace stress, anxiety & overwhelm. By building long-lasting resilience, having a step-by-step guide for forming habits that stick and creating an anti-burnout culture: individuals and teams can improve their performance and productivity. To feel happier, healthier and in control of your emotions and life.