Can you overcome social anxiety quickly?
Disclaimer: I am not a trained healthcare professional and the advice offered in this post has come about based on my own personal experiences. If you struggle with social anxiety disorder, please seek support from a qualified mental health professional.
When you’re younger, being nervous and shy in a social environment can feel like a very common experience.
Feeling shy, anxious or nervous among people isn’t always a problem. It’s completely normal!
But it becomes a problem when it starts to affect your social behavior, your relationship with others, your action or reaction to things when you are in a public place.
It becomes a problem when it gets in the way of your social interaction with people, and then we can call it the big two, Social Anxiety.
Having social anxiety has been defined in so many ways by experts who have their own theory about it.
So before we can dive in full mode into social anxiety and how to deal with it, we need to understand the basics of social anxiety and what social anxiety really is. And what it isn’t!
Only, then can you start to deal with social anxiety, and work to overcome it. Let’s get started, this is How to Deal with Social Anxiety, including six strategies you can use today.
What is Social Anxiety?
Everyone has their own take on social anxiety, I have my own experience of social anxiety and what triggers it. So if you ask me what social anxiety is, I’d probably just straight out tell you it’s a mental disorder caused by social interaction and the likes.
However, if you’re looking for a more defined meaning, there are many psychologists out there who have written books and articles to help those who suffer from social anxiety.
According to Gillian Butler, in his book Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness, he said:
“social anxiety is a shorthand term that describes fear, nervousness, and apprehension most people at times experience with their relationships with other people.”
So now that we know what social anxiety is all about, how do I know that I have social anxiety? This is a bit tricky. For one, a lot of people mistake shyness for social anxiety or nervousness for social anxiety and this is totally wrong.
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Shyness and Social Anxiety Are Not the Same
Guys, shyness is not social anxiety but it’s a symptom of social anxiety. That’s because someone with social anxiety might have that characteristic trait of being shy but a shy person might not necessarily have social anxiety and that is why you need to be educated in these things first before further actions.
And so, in this post, you might want to know if you have social anxiety, how to deal with social anxiety, how to live with social anxiety or even know the signs of social anxiety. Well, I’ll tell you all of these according to my own understanding and hope it will be of great help.
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How Do I Know I Have Social Anxiety?
Don’t fret too much. As I said earlier, social anxiety is mistaken for many things, especially shyness but that’s not the case. Social anxiety is a mental disorder or a mental Illness and like most mental illnesses, you need to be first diagnosed before you believe you have social anxiety.
Just don’t jump into conclusions, be sure, get tested and properly diagnosed. If prescribed, you can take your medications. From my experience, drugs play a very helpful role in overcoming social anxiety, for one it helps to calm your nerves when you get a trigger.
So how do you know you might have social anxiety, just so you can take immediate action?
Signs You Might Have Social Anxiety
Let’s explore the most common signs of social anxiety disorder.
#1. Excessive Fear:
This is a major symptom of social anxiety and more reason why social anxiety shouldn’t just be likened with shyness alone. This is the excessive fear of being judged or ignored or being seen as something or someone you’d rather not be seen as.
People suffering from social anxiety don’t really talk much in a public gathering or they tend to stay away from people because they have this fear, anxious feeling that they’ll be judged, criticized or humiliated.
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#2. Feeling Of Being Awkward:
Sometimes, you cancel events or you decide to not be somewhere or you decide not to talk or mingle among your peers because you feel you might come out too awkward to them and you might not be liked the way you want to be.
Remember I said being shy doesn’t mean you have social anxiety but shyness does show symptoms of social anxiety. And this feeling of shyness seems more excessive rather than the normal shyness that a large number of people have.
Also, not everyone that has social anxiety is shy just to get that cleared up, but some people do show this sign and that’s because of personality traits and most times, it’s not even regarded as a sign.
#4. Fearing Other’s Judgment:
When you meet someone new or you had a friend over on the Internet and you decide to meet them in person, you tend to just think about the person’s perception or judgment about you and then you get to worry about every single thing you do.
And you tend to have thoughts like,
- “I’m I eating right?”
- “What’s he/she thinking about me.”
- “Oh my God! Why is he/she staring at me?”
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These might seem like simple thoughts and it might be, but when it’s all you think about and you drown everything out, when you start fidgeting and shaking out of nervousness, then something needs to be done.
#5. Avoiding Social Interaction:
Now, being introverted does not mean that a person has social anxiety. Being an introvert does not mean you have a social disorder. But people with social anxiety tend to avoid talking or having any social interaction with people or even being the center of attention because that triggers social anxiety. They avoid social interaction due to their intense fear of interacting with people.
There are many other signs though and you’ll discover them if you have an in-depth study of this mental illness. But now that we know what social anxiety is and we can now recognize the signs, so let’s move to the next phase of our mental health journey, shall we?
How to Overcome Social Anxiety
How do you live with a social anxiety disorder? How do you deal with social anxiety disorder? So I can’t probably tell you the basics of social anxiety without giving out information on how to overcome it.
Anyways, if I was asked how a person can be freed from social anxiety or how it can leave a person, I’ll tell you that social anxiety can’t really go away but you can take control of it and learn how to make it not to bother you anymore.
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Yes, many people will disagree with this. As I said earlier, people have their own take on social anxiety and this is mine. It’s like a storm you see, sometimes you can predict it sometimes you can’t but if you take good measures you can control how this storm makes an impact in your life.
It never really goes away but you have to learn how to deal with it and take total control, of course, it isn’t easy. Jack Johnson who is an expert in this field pointed out in his book, “Anxiety: Overcome Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Shyness, Self Esteem & Insecurities.” That he has suffered from social anxiety for a decade and has been building himself up to overcome it but he still struggles with it sometimes and that’s the thing, it all boils down to you.
#1. Therapy and Treatment:
Honey, don’t let anyone tell you you’re wasting your time with taking drugs to help you or if you’re seeing a therapist. This is one of the most common ways of treating social anxiety. Talking with someone helps, big time!
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Taking your medicines will go a long way in helping your mental lifestyle. Click here to know more about these medicines or medical treatment for mental health. And of course, speak with your doctor or psychologist.
In therapy, you’ll undergo what is called cognitive-behavioral therapy or psychotherapy. They are both talk therapy which focuses on modifying negative thoughts and your reaction to social interaction. It’s also not only used for people with social anxiety but also for those who have other mental illnesses like depression.
#2. Surround Yourself With Positive Energy:
If you sense any negative energy or anything that will act as a trigger, back off boo. You need to overcome it, yes, but baby steps first and if anyone purposely tries to intimidate you, move on cause there will surely be a friend out there meant for you.
Get rid of all that bad energy, no we don’t do that cause now, we’re thinking about our mental health first.
#3. Understand Your Social Anxiety:
Another way guys, is to understand that you have social anxiety and accepting that you have it. Cause really, denial will not get you anywhere.
So instead of denying, why don’t you begin to understand what works for you and what doesn’t work for you, what goes on through your mind when you’re triggered.
This is one of the things I found on a website that focuses on health and they even have a guide that will help you in this aspect and help you achieve your goal successfully. Check it out their Self Help Guides on Social Anxiety here. This alone will you so much information that you didn’t know you needed.
Plus, read my post on the ten things you should know about social anxiety. The more you know about it, the better you’re able to deal with social anxiety.
#4. Don’t Force Yourself:
As I said earlier, baby steps honey. Dealing with social anxiety is a gradual process and it takes time. Don’t push yourself too much, don’t stress yourself out because of someone, you’re just harming your mental health more.
There’s no timeline, there’s no rush either. Do what you can to overcome social anxiety at your own pace.
#5. Set Personal Goals:
Now, this might not work for everyone but I feel it will if you put your mind at it. Set a personal goal, create an objective and make that your main priority. So when things start to go south (which I pray it wouldn’t) you can have something to look at and hold onto.
Setting goals not only gives you something to work towards, but it also gives you something to look forward to. This could be a personal goal for yourself or even about your anxiety. Perhaps you want to be able to socialize at a party, go out in a group, or even put yourself out there on a date.
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#6. Just Love Yourself:
You probably hear this all the time and might be tired of hearing it but it’s true. People that have social anxiety tend to look and pay attention to their flaws more than the amazing being that they are.
But let’s do something, count or mention those things that you like about yourself. It might not be physical, but there is surely something you love about yourself, and when talking to someone and you feel an attack coming, focus on that thing or those things.
It might not work at first but remember baby steps and you’ll surely get there with time.
How to Get Over Social Anxiety
So there you go, just a bit of information about what social anxiety and how you can work towards overcoming it.
Educate yourself, learn what triggers your social anxiety, and get help so you can utilize anxiety tools for adults.
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Let’s recap everything you’re we’ve covered:
- You’ve discovered what social anxiety is and isn’t
- How to know whether you have social anxiety
- The signs and symptoms of someone who has it
- Strategies for overcoming social anxiety in your life
You can live a happy life, and build strong relationships and connections if you take control.
I do hope it comes of great help to you and remember, it’s all you boo!
How do you deal with social anxiety?
More About Guest Contributor
Hey. I’m Sharon, but some people like to call me Chidra or Chidera, depends on what fits your vibe more. I’m a writer, and sometimes, I blog at Geeky Sharon. Concerning my blog, I’m a multitasker. I want to talk about anything and everything, but my niche all lines up to two things, lifestyle and literature. So yes, I love writing stories and poems, I like to jog them up with the normal article writing that I love to do.