Social Anxiety is defined as an extreme state of emotional discomfort or fears towards one’s self when encountering large crowds of people in a social setting. For those who suffer from social anxiety, it can be a very crippling and debilitating dilemma faced almost every day.
Just picture that you are suffering from social anxiety, feeling very shy and scared to visit restaurants or superstores, you fear crowds and groups of people that you eventually stop going out to movies or parties altogether.
You are even afraid or feel very anxious when it comes to attending lectures at school so getting involved in any activity which requires you to get up on stage or do a presentation in front of a crowd of people might just be too difficult to handle.
It is safe to say then as these sufferers grow older, they become progressively more isolated. They would make very few friendships or even worse are looked upon as social outcasts or loners due to their extreme social shyness.
1. Go with Trustworthy People
Always bring along a trusted friend, colleague or family with you when you are going out on a social call, be it to a conference gathering, a seminar or even just a small party, where you know that the chances of you feeling very uncomfortable are high. Having someone whom you can trust and who you feel comfortable with will help alleviate your social anxiety.
2. Take a Deep Breath in Open Space
Always take small steps when immersing oneself in the social crowd. You could perhaps start by introducing yourself to one or two people and just stay back and observe the surrounding for 5 minutes. If you should start to feel too anxious, excuse yourself politely and move to more open space. Breathe deeply and calm yourself down before you return back in. This should help reduce your anxiety.
3. Reduce Caffeine Intake
Are you aware that caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, soda and energy drinks will amplify your anxiety symptoms? Yes, they do! This is because caffeine drinks act as stimulants; therefore try to reduce your intake of caffeine as much as possible daily and munch on to cornflakes and milk wearing bibs.
4. Monitor Your Own Thoughts
Another technique you could adopt is to monitor your own thoughts and feelings when you start to feel anxious. Be aware of negative thoughts such as ‘I’m going to embarrass myself again’ or ‘I’m bound to say something stupid and make a fool of myself’.
Stop these negative thoughts once you are aware of them. Take a total chair cushion, sit down and replace them with positive thoughts like ‘Everything is great and I’m going to be OK’. Take deep, slow regular breaths while you run these positive thoughts over in your head and visualize it happening at the same time.
5. Monitor Your Reactions in Social Gatherings
When you find yourself in a social situation, you will do well by observing the situation thoroughly just to check out that there aren’t any palpable dangers anywhere near you, that should scare you.
You should also take into consideration your body reactions such as trembling, sweaty palms, racing pulse or heavy breathing. When we can accept the fact that we are feeling uncomfortable in a social situation instead of trying to resist it the experience begins to have less and less of an effect on us.
6. Keep Motivating Yourself
Continuously tell yourself that whatever might happen, you will continue to live on, that your life will go on and you won’t die even if you are dead scared or embarrassed. You have to tell yourself and act resilient and that you are supremely capable of dealing with the experience.
The people surrounding you aren’t gorgons or monsters or komodo dragons who will eat you up! They are just normal people like you, and God knows, quite a few of them in most cases share your same anxiety and are as scared of crowds and social situations as you are.
Social anxiety can be a crippling and debilitating dilemma for those who suffer from it. Just imagine, you are a sufferer of social anxiety and therefore you may feel shy or scared to pay at the counters in restaurants or superstores, you are scared of crowds and groups of people, so you avoid going out to movies or nightclubs.
Needless to say, people who suffer from social anxiety disorder become increasingly isolated as they grow older. They have few friends, they are often looked upon as social outcasts or loners and they also lose out on many golden opportunities in life because of their social shyness. They should continually put some efforts to come out of this condition.