There are millions of people around the world that experience symptoms of social anxiety each year. In this blog, we are going to give you some tips on how to cope with your social anxiety. Around 15 million people have social anxiety, which is a fear of being judged or rejected by others in a social context. People dealing with this issue may avoid a variety of social events, including ones that would usually be a source of fun and joy like parties or graduation ceremonies and can be very isolating.
- Avoid negative coping strategies
There are negative emotional and mental states that are associated with social anxiety and can lead to physiological symptoms that can worsen someone’s concern. Some people have expressed that it feels like a fogginess in their brain, keeping them from thinking straight, upset stomach, loss of appetite, sweaty hands, and muscle stiffness. In unavoidable situations such as office events, people may try to use negative coping strategies like drinking alcohol, but drinking too much will most likely end up making your anxiety worse. The ADAA states that approximately 20% of people with social anxiety have an alcohol use disorder. So a tip that is often given is to avoid potentially worsening your symptoms is to avoid drinking too much.
- Face your fears, don’t hide from them
Some people may try to avoid engaging in social situations because of their social anxiety by checking social media or doing other activities on their smartphones. Studies have also shown that constant social media use can cause low self-esteem. One tip that may sound weird is to expose yourself to social mishaps purposely. In other words, intentionally and repeatedly being awkward in social situations will help you realize that a few social slips will not lead to rejection from social groups. Everyone is awkward and makes mistakes on occasions.
- Reframe your thoughts
A top coping strategy that is suggested is to try and reframe your understanding of the stress you have been experiencing. There is a study that shows that when people with or without social anxiety try to understand how their bodies respond to stressors like public speaking, it will help them experience less stress in uncomfortable social situations. Another way to help reframe your thoughts would try using the “yes, but” technique. This requires you to challenge the negative thoughts and counterbalance them with up to three positive affirmations such as, “yes, I will indeed be attending a party packed with people that I don’t know. But I am a funny, interesting individual with many hobbies, so I will find something to talk about with others.”
- Do something nice for someone
Try to distract yourself from all your worries and negative thoughts by doing something nice for someone else. Good deeds have been proven to have a positive impact on mood.