For those living with social anxiety, it can make some of the simplest tasks seem impossible. Social anxiety can cause an intense fear of being judged or rejected in social situations. However, social anxiety extends beyond this simple statement and can often act as a double-edged sword. Those who struggle with this condition first feel anxious from fear of judgement of doing or saying something wrong in a social situation, and then the anxiety increases as they fear they are showing outward signs of anxiety, and may be judged for that as well. Social anxiety can produce physical symptoms such as blushing, increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea, excessive sweating, and difficulty breathing and speaking.
Social anxiety often makes the individual suffering feel helpless, but that doesn’t have to be the case. In today’s post from Blair Wellness Group in Beverly Hills, we are going to discuss some tips that may help individuals living with social anxiety. Read on to learn more, and if you’d like to receive professional assistance from a licensed psychologist, schedule a consultation at Blair Wellness Group today.
Identify Which Situations Make You Feel the Most Uncomfortable
When dealing with social anxiety, one of the first things you should do is identify exactly what type of situations make you feel uncomfortable. Social anxiety looks different for everyone. For example, one person may struggle significantly with going out in public to places such as restaurants and grocery stores. However, another person may be fine with those interactions but feel uncomfortable at parties and other places where they are expected to socialize with people they don’t know. Since social anxiety doesn’t surface in the same scenarios for every person, it’s important to know which situations cause you the most anxiety. The more you understand about your social anxiety, the better you will be able to manage it.
Challenge Your Intrusive Thoughts
Social anxiety is based around your thoughts and fears, many of which, when explored, don’t hold nearly as much merit as you give them. Next time you’re in an uncomfortable social situation, take note of your fears. When you get home, write them down, and consider the worst possible outcome of every situation. This can help you put things into perspective. It’s likely that the worst possible outcome only equates to minor discomfort.
Notice Your Symptoms
Social anxiety can surface with a number of physical symptoms, and these can look slightly different for everyone. However, there are a few simple exercises that may help you find relief from the symptoms the next time you begin to experience them. For instance, if you commonly find that you have difficulty breathing or become dizzy or lightheaded during social situations, you may want to practice a technique to slow your breathing. If you experience shaky hands with your social anxiety, you may benefit from practicing grounding techniques designed to help keep you in the present. Once you’ve taken notice of the symptoms that occur with your anxiety, you can find ways to mitigate them.
Start With Small Steps
Social anxiety can feel like it’s taking over your life. However, you can take back your power by starting small. You could try having lunch with a coworker, inviting a friend for a walk, or asking a question either in class or at a work meeting if you’re feeling up to it. You can also start by inviting a friend into your space where you already feel comfortable and then working your way up to meeting them at a restaurant in the future. No matter what you decide, just take it one small step at a time, and remember, it’s okay to speak up and mention that you have social anxiety. You might be surprised to find out that you’re not the only one.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Practicing relaxation techniques at home such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises can help you learn how to calm your anxiety. The more you engage in these activities, the better you’ll become at easing your anxiety. Then when you find yourself in a social situation where you feel uncomfortable, you can rely on these techniques you’ve learned to help relieve some of the physical symptoms.
Adjust Your Diet and Exercise
There are several exercise and diet-related changes that you can make to help ease your social anxiety. You could start by reducing your caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant and raises your heart rate, which can lead to increased feelings of anxiety. Likewise, you can also try minimizing your alcohol intake. While a drink or two may feel like an easy way to relax in social situations, drinking too much alcohol can have the opposite effect.
Eating an overall healthy diet, avoiding foods that contain high amounts of fat, sugar, and salt, may also help you to reduce your social anxiety. Regular exercise has been shown to help as well. Improving your diet and exercise can also make you feel and look better, which could lead to increased confidence, thus reducing your anxiety in social situations.
Shift Your Focus Away From Yourself
Social anxiety begins with our thoughts. One of the most beneficial tips we can give you is to shift your focus away from yourself and your thoughts, and bring yourself back to the present. Focus on the conversation at hand and interact with others around you. When you engage with others, you shift your focus from your thoughts to your actions, thus reducing your anxiety.
Speak to a Licensed Psychologist
Social anxiety can disrupt many aspects of your life, especially when dealing with avoidance. Oftentimes, those with social anxiety find that they avoid spending time with family and friends, forgo promotions at work, and seclude themselves from activities that they enjoy just to prevent a situation where their social anxiety will surface. Dr. Cassidy Blair of Blair Wellness Group in Beverly Hills can help you address your social anxiety. At Blair Wellness Group, we offer a wide selection of therapy, treatment, and counseling services that can help you overcome your social anxiety. Schedule a social anxiety treatment consultation today to learn more.