When we think about social anxiety, we often assume that it only means a person gets occasional nerves or is just shy, which isn’t true. Individuals suffering from social phobia or social anxiety disorder experience intense fear when being in unfamiliar situations in which they feel evaluated or judged by other people.
If you are currently diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder, know that you’re not alone in this challenge. In fact, this problem is pretty common. There are a lot of people who are also struggling with those fears, from making small talks, meeting new people, going on a date, and speaking in front of others. To help you ease down those fears and healthily managed your social anxiety, we have a few simple tips right here that you can follow.
Engage in breathing exercises
Not many people know, but anxiety can result in different body changes, causing a person to feel suffocated, dizzy, or tense. At the same time, when a person feels stress, they tend to take shallow and rapid breaths that can contribute to panic attacks and anxiety. If you experience shallow and fast breathing, perform some simple breathing exercises to control it.
One type of deep breathing exercise is belly breathing which popular for relieving stress and anxiety. You’ll need a comfy chair to sit down cross-legged while placing one hand on your upper chest and allow your belly to relax as you breathe slowly. It’s recommended to do this at least three times a day, for starters. Other exercises you can try include alternate-nostril breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, box breathing, mindful breathing, lion’s breath, and pursed-lip breathing.
Start with small social steps
True, social anxiety means social situations can stress you out. You stand in the corner, pull up your phone, and pretend you’re talking to someone else or doing something. Aside from smartphones that can lead to addiction that contributes to low self-esteem and isolation, you’re obviously not addressing your problem.
If you can’t afford therapy or uncomfortable doing so, take small steps to overcome social awkwardness and failure. For one, if you’re having a hard time finding a special someone because of your social anxiety, why not avail of reputable services to find a date. Most providers of dating services are experts in making their clients comfortable throughout the process, so no worries.
Plus, you don’t literally have to throw yourself in a bar or party to meet someone. If such an act still makes you feel nervous and anxious, do it and go with a close friend. Think you need to start with smaller acts? Host a small gathering for loved ones, practice talking to servers or waitresses, or compliment an officemate’s outfit.
Focus on doing kind deeds
Sometimes, the best way to ignore or fight off negative things is to do good things. Doing something good for other people can distract you from all the bad thoughts and emotions you’re feeling. According to studies, good deeds can boost the mood of a person as it tends to activate an area in our brain that is associated with the reward cycle.
Also, individuals with social anxiety who actively carry out generous acts tend to feel less avoidant social situations. Overall, acts of kindness can help combat negative experiences and replace them with positive interactions and perceptions. Experts said that you can slowly kill off negative self-talk if you fill up your mind and body with positive references.
Start an anti-anxiety lifestyle
What better and affordable way to ease social anxiety than to start living a lifestyle that counters it. Lifestyle changes may not eliminate your social phobia, but they can do wonders for the progress of your treatment. Experts reveal that anxiety symptoms can be well managed if a person takes good care of their body and mind.
Some simple lifestyle changes you can take on include staying physically active, limiting caffeine, drinking alcohol in moderation, getting enough sleep, and eating more food rich in omega-3 fats. For a more mindful change, it best to focus on cultivating calm through less-structured activities and regaining balance through taking a break and reflecting.
Suffering from a social anxiety disorder surely is tough, but it doesn’t have to always be that hard and nerve-wracking. Always remember that there are many ways for you to take full control or even completely overcome it. Be aware of the triggers, as well as the emotional, behavioral, and physical symptoms, and when it gets unmanageable for you, do not hesitate to ask for help.