5 Steps to Ease Social Anxiety

5 Steps to Ease Social Anxiety

Would you rather just stay at home? Worrying about the impression you will leave on others is an extremely tiresome and stressful obsession: sometimes it just feels easier to avoid it altogether. Social anxiety is a compounding challenge. The more uncomfortable you come across during an interaction, the harder you try to rectify it and in the process probably make things worse. It ends with you lying in bed that evening, rehashing every blundered line and inappropriate comment you made, agonizing over the witty and insightful contributions you know you have to offer but that were momentarily trapped by anxiety. Here are some steps to unlock your potential and unveil the real you.

Be picky

Just as a bad social encounter makes the next more worrisome, so too can a good experience make the next easier. With this in mind, begin by only accepting invites to social events where you are well acquainted with the other attendees, and preferably in a low-key environment. These nonthreatening gatherings will help to build your confidence again. Before the engagement, make a list of questions you'd like to ask or statements you'd like to make. Because you are thinking clearly when you do this, your brain will remember the detail better when you recall it compared to formulating it on the spot. Attend these forays consistently to promote positive confidence momentum.

Host

For many people, a foreign venue can make a social commitment more daunting. Instead, take the initiative and be the host. You are likely to be more relaxed on home turf, and having control of the environment will give you less to worry about. An added benefit is that your friends, family, or work colleagues will see you as a leader for pioneering a get together. When you are deciding who to invite, pay attention to the compatibility of your guests. A group with lots in common should translate into free flowing conversation and a comfortable environment in which you can contribute.

Get the first one right

Social confidence can be a fragile animal. If your first interaction at a public engagement goes badly, it is likely that more awkward moments are to follow. To avoid this hurdle, make a beeline for a confidant and strike up a conversation. This may happen naturally, but make sure you don't get distracted on arrival and get off to a bad start. If your go-to ally is already chatting with others, have a question lined up for when you greet them so that you aren't left standing there while he or she re-engages their peers. Avoid interrupting them if they have a captive audience and postpone approaching them if they are in a big group.

Demand more

Do they think I'm interesting? Are they getting bored? I wonder if they think I'm cool? These are the revolving questions every social scardy-cat asks themselves. While these concerns exist in everyone to varying degrees, they can be so overwhelming for some that they completely neglect their own needs. Evaluate your interaction in real time not based on what your counterpart is thinking, but what they are offering you. If your conclusion is negative, then move on. This will not only make your experience more enjoyable, but will eliminate the damaging tendency of trying to rescue conversations teetering on the edge of clumsiness. Achieve this in a tactful manner so you don't burn any bridges - a tough target now may become a confidant later so keep your options open.

Ask then listen

If you find yourself in a challenging one-on-one conversation, take a vested interest in what they are saying to help build rapport. Asking questions will take the burden of talking off you and will endear you to your counterpart: people are better listeners when they feel they have already been heard. Listen carefully to their answers and form follow up questions while they talk to promote conversational fluidity. If you have to field reciprocate questions, keep your answers short and simple.

Social anxiety can strike at any time, and for any number of reasons. The steps above will help to ease the pressure you might be feeling and uncover the person you know you are. It's important to step back from your worries and realize that you are not alone. Many self critical individuals perceive judgements that have not been passed. They haven't been passed, ironically, because your audience was too preoccupied by your judgement of them.

Comments (1)

SOCIAL ANXIETY AND PEER PRESSURE IS IN OUR HEADS ONLY. WE CREATE THOSE FEELINGS IN OUR MINDS AND THEN START WORRYING ABOUT IT. IN REALITY, ALL THESE COME FROM "LOW SELF-ESTEEM". IT'S THAT SIMPLE! WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR THINKING ABILITY, OTHERWISE, THESE TYPE OF ISSUES WILL OPEN A WIDE BUSINESS DOORS FOR PSYCHOLOGISTS. WE NEED TO BE OUR OWN PSYCHOLOGISTS, AND AVOID LOW THINKING AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.typing

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