Beat Social Anxiety and Start Having Fun!
If you suffer with social anxiety you probably find it hard to be yourself and enjoy the company of people in social settings. You may wonder how others appear so relaxed and make socialising look easy. Particular events such as parties, meetings or an evening in the bar can trigger horrible symptoms of nervousness or fear.
Many people share these unpleasant experiences of social anxiety. You are not alone. However there is something you can do about it. There is a simple program you can follow to increase your feelings of confidence in those difficult social situations.
Gain control of your body's responses by learning to relax
The first thing to do outside of the social setting is to learn to relax. I don't mean flopping in a comfy chair and watching TV. With anxiety, your body tends to produce symptoms such as sweating, dry mouth, blushing and palpitations. It seems as if your body is out of control, which adds to the tension.
When you learn to systematically relax your body you begin to regain control over it and the sensations it produces. Imagine how much more confident you will feel when you are able to respond to being in uncomfortable situations by relaxing your body at will. For help in learning the technique of relaxation,
Re-train your mind to think in positive and helpful ways
Start taking notice of the thoughts that go through your mind about an upcoming situation you are nervous about. I bet they will be focussed on how bad you will feel or how things might go wrong - in other words they are probably negative. Negative thoughts are the seeds of social anxiety.
In order for things to begin to take a different, more positive turn for you, you will need to create positive and encouraging thoughts to support you. For example, if one of your habitual anxiety-producing thoughts is 'everyone is looking at me', each time you repeat the thought you will feel worse. You can break this pattern by constructing a counter-thought along the lines of 'everyone is too busy with their own concerns to take much notice of me'. Positive helpful thoughts actually change how you feel.
Beat social anxiety by training yourself to use positive self-talk. In this way you can improve your outlook and expectations, and help create a different, more positive outcome. Find out more on how to build your confidence through positive self-talk by
Do you feel awkward in company, that people are looking at you?
There are times when you will be the centre of attention. If you go to the doctor it is his job to look at you and listen to you. If you have to speak at a meeting you may well have to stand up and be the focus. However if you fear people are looking at you when you are in a room full of strangers - unless you are drop-dead gorgeous, or wearing an outrageous hat - they won't be!
Social anxiety is usually based on false information. You might think others are looking at you, but the fact is that most people are too absorbed in themselves, their own lives, their own circle to look around them. Apart from seeing if others are looking at you, do YOU go round scrutinising every person and making judgements about them? If you don't, why should they?
Feeling comfortable in company is very much about self confidence. If you feel comfortable with yourself you will feel ok when others are around you. So make use of the rest of this site to build your confidence, and your ease in social settings will grow.
Do you find it difficult to start or maintain a conversation?
Speaking with confidence in social settings is a skill which can be learned. Whether you find difficulty conversing with strangers or you dry up when you are with friends, you could benefit from honing up your conversational skills. When you feel capable of making easy conversation your social anxiety will subside.
Click on this link for helpful hints on
speaking with confidence
on social occasions.
What if you are phobic?
If you suffer severe social anxiety or phobia the help you need may be beyond the scope of the self help on these pages. Listed below are some resources you may wish to explore and follow up. Should you do so you can still use the self help tips and techniques on this site in conjunction with outside help.
- Assertiveness training, often available through adult learning courses
- Systematic desensitization, a type of behavioural therapy
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- Self help groups
- Phobic societies
***Sometimes anxiety is combined with depression which should be diagnosed and treated by your doctor.
Don't let social anxiety ruin your life. Do something about it now!
Speaking with Confidence in Social Settings
Overcoming Shyness is Not as Hard as you Think
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