Social anxiety can cause us excessive stress in our everyday life and make it more difficult than it already is. However there are many things we can do to diminish it and over time even get rid of it using our power to correct negative patterns of thinking and also our power to naturally relax. Here are a few tips that may help you:
1. Don’t Spend Time with Toxic People
If you have people in your life that always put you down and make you feel bad about yourself and you still spend time with them because you want to be friends with them, you are only harming yourself. You don’t really need friends like that. The reality is there are probably many other people with better personalities that you can surround yourself with, and you are wasting your time with the ones that make your life worse. If you notice someone is negative towards you more often than not, distance yourself from that person.
2. If the Social Situation Gets Awkward, Don’t Be Quick to Blame Yourself
If you have social anxiety, you probably want your social interactions to be perfect, and you feel like you cannot tolerate if things get uncomfortable and a little more serious or awkward. If you often feel like that, you need to work on changing your mindset and false ideas about social interactions in general. You need to realize that social situations are often uncomfortable and conflict-inducing by nature and that you will often encounter situations where someone will react negatively and get uncomfortable, mean, angry, offended etc. If you feel like you have excessive fear of conflict, learn some assertiveness skills, so you will feel more equipped to deal with social conflict.
3. Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself to Be Social
People with social anxiety judge themselves constantly on their behavior when they are socially interacting with someone, and sometimes think that being quiet is inappropriate so they try to force a conversation no matter how pointless it seems. It’s ok to be quiet if there is nothing to talk about, let the conversation or the social interaction develop naturally without pressure.
4. You Don’t Need to Be Liked by Everyone
The more people you meet and connect with the more likely you are to find ones that don’t like you and sometimes even express it in implicit or explicit ways. If that gets to your self-confidence, remind yourself that everyone who knows a substantial amount of people is probably disliked by some of them. It’s totally normal, people will find different reasons to dislike you. They may feel irrationally offended by you for some reason, or they may be jealous of you. Maybe they disagree with you views. Whatever it may be if you don’t purposely hurt them and give them a good reason to dislike you, don’t worry about it and don’t let it affect your self-confidence.
5. Practice Mindfulness and Implement Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness helps us become aware of our negative self talk and thoughts and not identify with them. Practice mindfulness daily if you can, and especially before an event that triggers your social anxiety. That will lower your physical anxiety and help you gain awareness of your negative thought patterns. Practice progressive relaxation too. Progressive relaxation works by tensing a specific group of muscles and then releasing the tension voluntarily. That helps you lower your muscle tension and diminish the physical symptoms of anxiety.
6. Don’t Self-Medicate with Alcohol
You may feel tempted to drink if you have social anxiety as alcohol has an ability to relax you and lower you inhibitions. But drinking for the sole purpose of diminishing anxiety can be very harmful and can increase your chances of being dependent on alcohol. Also, when you drink you get a false sense of self confidence, and you don’t give yourself a chance to go through the social situation mindfully and overcome the anxiety through experience.
7. Talk to Someone Supportive
Sometimes talking to someone who is a good listener and gives us positive encouragement can help a lot. If you have someone in your life you feel comfortable with that is a good listener and gives you a good advice without being harsh on you, talk to them and ask them for advice. Tell them that you have an upcoming situation that makes you anxious. Chances are, they are going to give you support and encourage you not to be afraid of feel negative about yourself.