How To Deal With Social Anxiety: Best 12 Ways To Deal With It

You might have noticed that starting a conversation always makes you feel uncomfortable. While these feelings are relatively standard, you might have social anxiety if they hinder your daily functioning. And if you want to know how to deal with social anxiety, you need to know what social anxiety is and why it exists.

In the simplest terms, social anxiety is the anxiety and fear of socializing with others, talking to them, or having to make eye contact.

Most people who do not know about the issue, or are simply unaware, categorize social anxiety as just shyness. But, when that shyness lasts long-term and is highly overwhelming, it can interfere with the quality of your life. Hence, in these situations, ignorance is not bliss.

how to deal with social anxiety
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If you’ve been looking for tips on how to deal with social anxiety, then we at Icy Health have got you covered.

1. Social Anxiety Disorder

Being nervous on a first date, speaking in front of an audience, or presenting yourself to someone who matters to you is a human trait. However, if you experience persistent fear and are always self-conscious in social situations, you might be suffering from a social anxiety disorder.

A social anxiety disorder (SAD) is also known as social phobia. And as the name suggests, it is one of the anxiety disorders that are exclusive to social interactions.

Social Anxiety Disorder - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

You might just be having some good, old social anxiety. One that is a human’s adaptive mechanism to improving oneself. One that pushes you to do better and present yourself to the world as confidently as possible.

But if you have severe social anxiety, one that takes the form of panic attacks or is a threat to mental health, then you should see a mental health professional.

Social anxiety can deprecate your mental health and your physical health. Negative thoughts about being stared at and judged by every person on the planet eat up your mind.

More often than not, social anxiety disorders lead to low self-esteem, panic disorders, poor relationships, a pessimistic way of life, and others.

2. Reason For Suffering

First things first, You are not alone! Keep this in mind the next time you berate yourself for your poor social skills.

When we talk about how to deal with social anxiety, the first thought that will come to your mind is ‘why me.’ I didn’t choose to be socially anxious, so why do I have to suffer from this issue?

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Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Know that you are not the one at fault. Nor are the people around you. It’s just that you like to keep to yourself, but your brain sometimes manifests it to an extreme. Even an intelligent brain can get clogged up with intrusive thoughts; it’s just how everyone’s wired.

Social anxiety disorder has become more and more prevalent in today’s scenario as social media usage is at an all-time high.

People prefer to share their lives through photos and videos rather than chatting with friends over a meet-up. Photoshopped enjoyment and filtered happiness have been a major cause of unrest in individuals who find it hard to be happy in life.

Appreciation and acknowledgment through the medium of likes and comments have become the new normal of being successful. You might find it hard to interact in social situations, but you feel that social media is a solution to your social anxiety.

Genes 1and the environment also characterize social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder onsets at an early age in most people, particularly adolescents. But due to the denial of having mental health conditions, social anxiety disorders go highly undiagnosed.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, social anxiety disorder has become an even more persistent issue. In most places, people had been under lockdown for more than a year, which has hindered the social skills of adults and children alike.

Sure, we can video call and chat with each other at any time during the day. But real face-to-face interactions can never be substituted by virtual meetings.

The increasing cultural reset to ‘work-from-home’ has led to social interactions being kept at a minimum. More and more people prefer to chat and interact over text and emails rather than spend precious minutes on the phone call or meeting personally.

Children who were just at the age of going to the park and meeting and playing with new people had been restricted to the presence of just family members.

Their world consisting of their parents and family has suddenly expanded to a new stranger every day. This has led to extreme shyness and fear in new situations.

3. Signs And Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder

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Image by WOKANDAPIX from Pixabay

Social anxiety symptoms are more identifiable in adults than in children. Children’s supposedly ‘abnormal’ behavior is often treated as naughtiness and rebelling. It is also often regarded as just shyness.

However, in adulthood, symptoms of social anxiety disorder interfere with your daily routine and prevent you from being yourself in social situations.

Assuming that you searched how to deal with social anxiety on the internet for your personal use, you might have experienced some or many of the following symptoms of social anxiety. However, understand that nervousness and extreme anxiety are two different things.

Your being afraid and nervous about talking to your professor might be a reaction to their authority. But if you find yourself stammering and trembling at the thought of speaking to them, it might be social anxiety.

3.1. Physical Symptoms

  • Shaking, trembling, and stammering in front of people
  • Faster heartbeat and breathlessness
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Sweating excessively
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Image by Kleiton Santos from Pixabay

3.2. Emotional Symptoms

  • Fear of making mistakes and embarrassing yourself
  • Fear of talking to people and being judged
  • Worrying about interacting with others and staying in a crowded place
  • Fretting over everyday social situations
  • Feeling that people are staring at you

3.3. Behavioral Symptoms

  • Finding it difficult to eat in front of others, especially when alone
  • Avoiding social interactions to an extreme
  • Always needing companionship, wherever you go
  • Staying alone and shying away from starting conversations

4. Self Help

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Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

Social anxiety, if not severe, can be handled with a good choice of habits. Facing your fears is the best way to overcome social anxiety.

Below are some tips that will answer your question on how to deal with social anxiety. The key is to take it slow. Do not expect to suddenly be ‘cured’ of your lack of social skills. Even the best medicine will need to find its gear before working wonders.

Though, every person faces different struggles and challenges. What works for one individual might not work for another. Customize the suggestions on how to deal with social anxiety based on your feelings.

Even with several tips and techniques available on the internet, don’t be afraid to deviate from the norms. Look at the tips as if you are advising yourself on how to deal with social anxiety.

4.1. Accept That Social Anxiety Is A Thing

The most common reason for social anxiety disorders going undiagnosed is the denial of suffering from a mental illness or seeking help. This points out the person having a social anxiety disorder and their peers and family members.

Unless you accept that you have a problem interfering with your or your loved one’s life, the succeeding tips on how to deal with social anxiety will not help at all. Identification and acceptance can be a stepping stone to overcoming social anxiety.

If you know that your family understands your issues with socializing, you will find it less embarrassing to seek help from others.

Did you know that you have already stepped up the ladder to tackle your social anxiety? The fact that you typed the question and clicked this read on “how to deal with social anxiety” is an achievement in itself on your behalf!

4.2. Replace Negative Thoughts With Positive Affirmations

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Try making a list of some positive things about yourself. No matter how trivial it may be, jot it down. Though you might find it difficult, it will make you focus on your best qualities.

This activity is often done by people who have low self-esteem. So how will it help with your social anxiety, you may ask? Well, one of the major negative consequences of social anxiety 2disorder is deteriorating self-confidence.

If you focus on your positive qualities day by day, you will feel more confident presenting yourself to others. You will tell yourself that you are charming and people will like you, so there’s no need to be so anxious.

4.3. Try Self-Help Apps

I tried 9 self care and productivity apps so that you don’t have to 😌

There are many applications that you can download on your smartphone that will help you to keep a steady tab on your habits. You will also find some apps that provide tasks and tips to keep your anxiousness to a minimum.

Reinforcing the previous tip, positive affirmations work like a miracle when you cannot help but read and apply them to yourself. Including a personal recommendation, I would like you to try the app “I Am.” This app sends you positive affirmations throughout the day, depending on your customized settings.

4.4. Exercise Control Of Your Breathing

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Image by Shahariar Lenin from Pixabay

Even for about 20 minutes a day, Yoga 3and meditation can help you control your breathing and thoughts.

Breathing fast and shallow is a common symptom that you may experience in social anxiety disorder. Identify the situations where you feel tense and slowly bring your breathing to be normal.

Counting numbers, sitting with your back straight, and focusing on taking deep breaths will help you achieve this.

4.5. Listen To Music When You Feel Anxious

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Image by whoalice-moore from Pixabay

Music heals the soul. It is a manifestation of our deepest desires.

Listen to uplifting songs, and tell you to live your life your way. If you find an artist who suffered from similar anxiety disorders as you and has worded it in a song, you’ll find it easier to accept your problems than be in denial.

Empathy works wonders when it is imparted correctly.

4.6. Do Not Overwhelm Yourself

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Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

Go big or go home does not apply to treating social anxiety disorder. Not at all. You’ll only achieve overwhelmed sensations and possibly a panic attack.

Start with small things and challenges. Pass a smile to the cashier at the bank or the attendant at a grocery store.

Schedule meals with people you are comfortable with, and if you need to attend a dinner or a lunch with someone new, ask them if you can choose the place. This way, you can choose an establishment you’ve previously visited and are comfortable in.

4.7. Prepare For Social Situations Beforehand

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Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

If you need to attend a function or a party, de-stress before attending. Dress to your best ability, as confidence will lessen your anxiousness. Try breathing techniques and subtle exercises that you can do at the party without being apparent.

Take breathers in between if the function lasts too long. Every 30 minutes, try going out in the open air or being alone for a few minutes. If you are on a date, visit the washroom once or twice.

Avoid self-critical thoughts before heading on to social interaction. And, do not forget to appreciate and congratulate yourself after you get through the situation.

4.8. Set Goals And Daily Tasks Like Exercising

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Image by 5132824 from Pixabay

Social anxiety might also manifest from being in a rut. If you feel lazy and want to avoid any interaction with the world, a simple physical exercise routine will help you be more active and refreshed.

Incorporating a certain set goal in your daily routine will help you feel more comfortable with your way of living. For example, each time you finish exercising, you will get a feeling of achievement.

Set goals that are achievable and you feel comfortable with. If you like reading, then sign yourself up at a library, and try reading there instead of reading at home alone. This way, you will set yourself up to practice social skills while doing something that you like.

4.9. Know When To Say Yes And No

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Social anxiety often forces you to say ‘no’ to every invitation for a meet-up or dinner. Try to say ‘yes’ to those, but also make sure that you feel comfortable in the setting. All in all, do not be afraid to challenge your anxiety.

On the other hand, never succumb to peer pressure. Make them understand your struggles and if they don’t listen to you or disregard your concerns, let them know that it’s a stern ‘no.’

“How to deal with social anxiety” has no set answer. It’s up to you to determine how comfortable you are to challenge your anxiety in a social situation.

4.10. Follow A Healthy Lifestyle

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Image by Sofia Iivarinen from Pixabay

Tips and tricks on how to deal with social anxiety will only work if you keep yourself healthy. Your body and mind will need the energy to cope with the exhaustion you might experience due to being socially anxious.

Eat balanced diets and avoid foods that might trigger your anxiety, like caffeine, alcohol, and energy drinks. Exercise regularly, and try to join a gym4.

Set a time to keep away from all electronic gadgets and take up a hobby you enjoy. Moreover, try to abstain from getting approval from others over every single thing you do. Instead, reward yourself with a special self-care routine or a present when you achieve something.

4.11. Share Your Experiences And Learn From Others

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Image by Naassom Azevedo from Pixabay

Knowing that you are not alone is the best way to tackle the roots of social anxiety. While you will learn from other people’s accounts of their journey with social anxiety disorders, you can also share your experiences to help them.

In the world of social media, it is easy to join discussion groups online. Find one that suits your needs. You will also have the advantage of being anonymous, so no fretting over embarrassment.

Find out if your area, workplace, or college/school has a support group for people that require counseling. If there is one, join it.

Keep in mind that just like you, someone else could also be surfing the internet on how to deal with social anxiety. They might just need a personal account from a fighter, which can be you!

4.12. Remember – Quality Friends Over Quantity

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Image by Sven Lachmann from Pixabay

One of the consequences of suffering from a social anxiety disorder is finding it difficult to make friends and build healthy relationships. Every time you feel bad about this, tell yourself that you do not need a big group of friends or a cool friend circle. Even if you have just one friend, they are at least supportive and understand you.

Always remember to never indulge in people who do not understand your struggles regarding social anxiety. Even if you end up having no friends, remind yourself that there’s no place for toxic friendships in your life.

If someone asks you why you’re always alone, don’t just give an awkward smile and put it off. Let them know that you feel shy. And if you’re feeling a tad bit braver, talk to them about your social anxiety disorder 5and the struggles.

You’ll be surprised to know that some kind of people do find joy in bringing others out of their shells. It’s just that society has become such that they fear being nosy and overbearing.

5. Conclusion

When your social anxiety becomes a disorder and is harmful to you, physically and mentally, it is best to seek professional help from a mental health specialist. Do not try to self-diagnose and self-medicate.

Alcohol and drug abuse is not an approved method of dealing with a social anxiety disorder or any physical or mental health disorder for that matter.

A mental health professional will look at the environmental causes of your anxiety and focus on clinical issues. Hormones 6and chemical interactions in the brain often prevent any coping mechanism from being helpful.

Hence, a professional therapist can prescribe you medicines that will bring the anxiety juices in your brain to stable levels. Apart from prescriptions, they will also devise a treatment plan with professional tips on how to deal with social anxiety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy coupled with medications, while a slow process, is the best way to treat social anxiety disorder. The number of sessions will depend upon your needs, but you need to be patient and positive that the treatment will help you.

FAQ

1. Can anxiety be cured completely?

While anxiety disorders can be effectively managed and symptoms can significantly improve with proper treatment, the concept of a “complete cure” can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience long periods of remission, while others may have occasional flare-ups during times of stress. Early intervention and ongoing support are crucial for managing anxiety effectively.

2. Are there self-help techniques for managing anxiety?

Yes, there are self-help techniques that can complement professional treatment or be beneficial for mild anxiety. These may include deep breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation practices, physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet, limiting caffeine and alcohol intake, getting enough sleep, and seeking support from friends, family, or support groups.

3. Can anxiety be prevented?

It may not be possible to prevent anxiety disorders entirely, especially if there is a genetic predisposition or underlying factors. However, early recognition of anxiety symptoms, stress management, and seeking support during challenging times can help reduce the risk or severity of anxiety. Building emotional resilience and coping skills can also contribute to better anxiety management.

Read more

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