It is normal to feel nervous in front of other people but once this feeling evolves to constant worry, fear, panic, uneasiness and discomfort, you probably have social anxiety disorder. This becomes a problem that needs attention when your everyday life is already affected.
Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental health issues in the country. It affects around 18.1% of the population annually. However, only 36.9% choose to seek and receive treatments.
What are helpful ways to overcome social anxiety disorder?
The thought of having social anxiety disorder scares you. You are having doubts whether to ask for professional help or not. You need to remind yourself that you have to take the necessary steps so that it will not become a serious condition.
1. Have a healthier lifestyle.
You need to reassess your lifestyle. Ask yourself if you are eating a balanced meal, getting enough sleep and doing regular exercise. Do the things that will make your body strong and healthy. Having a healthy body can boost your mood and energy.
You need to totally eliminate drinking alcohol, smoking and using illegal substances because these will only lead to depressive episodes. This is difficult on your part but your anxiety will only get worse if you continue doing these unhealthy habits.
2. Practice public speaking.
Many believe that one effective way to overcome social anxiety disorder is to study public speaking. You do not need to spend money doing this. You can find video tutorials online on what are the techniques and tricks in speaking in front of a crowd, especially to people who do not know.
Even if you think that there will never be instances where this can happen, still practice and learn. This will give you the confidence you need.
3. Expose yourself slowly to possible triggering situations.
Identify the different situations where your social anxiety disorder symptoms are its peak. It could be when you are alone talking to someone or when you are presenting in your workplace. This happens when you are too worried that you may say something humiliating or embarrassing.
When you are asked on a date, you may suggest that you can both bring along a friend to ease up the tension. This will prevent you from feeling stressed out and worried. When you are always shy in speaking in your workplace, you may start speaking up during meetings.
4. Practice realistic thinking.
You always think of the worst case scenarios. For you, something bad will happen all the time in whatever situation. When you go to a party, you think that no one likes you there. When you talk to someone, you may spill something on him or her.
Train your mind on how to do realistic thinking. If you are invited to a party, recall something you have said or done before that makes your family laugh then try saying or doing it again. You can also tell yourself repeatedly that you need to act normally so that people will not think you are aloof or weird.
5. Role-play with your family or close friends.
If you have a big presentation coming up and you know that you are going to fail big time if you cannot overcome your anxiety, you can practice speaking first in front of your family or close friends. This way you have an idea on what it feels to be in front of other people and how your words and actions can affect your presentation.
Ask them to give their honest comments and feedback so that you can work on them. It is all about having the will to ace your presentation and make yourself proud.
6. Learn relaxation techniques.
Anxiety and agitation can sometimes get out of hand even when you are in public. You suddenly feel nauseous and dizzy in your workplace because you have a meeting in a few minutes. You must learn relaxation techniques and meditation that you can do conveniently anywhere.
Relaxation exercises and meditations calm your nerves and mind. It diverts your negative thoughts to more peaceful and pleasant impressions. You can find relaxation exercises online.
7. Start doing simple tasks.
If you are doing an outreach program, volunteer to be a part of it. You may be in a social function but this does not require you to talk with people. You can smile or just say hi. You can also try helping out someone who is asking for directions. You are not obliged to talk to him or her for a long period of time.
Take small steps in conquering your fear of social interactions. There is no need to overwhelm and pressure yourself because it will not bring you any good. Ask your friends and family to help you out.
8. Be kind to yourself.
Do not punish yourself just because you cannot act normally around people. All have imperfections and flaws and they do not define you. Just make sure that you are doing your best to manage and overcome your problem without resorting to more problems.
Treat yourself when your date went smoothly. Pamper yourself with a spa or shopping when you successfully present a solution to your company’s predicament.
9. Take your medications.
When you are prescribed medication, take it religiously because this will help you get better. However, whenever there are side effects that bother you, make sure to contact your doctor. There will also be times when your medication does not work for you, inform your doctor about this.
Whether you feel good in taking your medications or not, you should always be honest with your doctor. Tell them how you truly feel and do not feel embarrassed of your condition. They are there to help you manage your symptoms.
10. Go to therapy.
Therapy is an effective way to overcome your social anxiety disorder. It will present various approaches that will help you change your thoughts and behavior. It teaches you to recognize and identify patterns that will trigger your anxiety.
Mindshift Psychological Services have one of the best Cognitive Behavioral Therapies around California. They make sure that you are provided with enough support and guidance in dealing with your problem. You can check out their website to learn more about their services and medical professionals. You can also call them at (714)584-9700.