Social anxiety is a chronic mental disorder characterized by a fear of social interactions.
While it’s normal to feel self-conscious or nervous when socializing with people, this condition takes these feelings to a whole new level. People with social anxiety usually feel extremely fearful, embarrassed, and self-conscious in social settings or during social interactions. They may overanalyze and overthink things that they say or do, even hours or days after the event. More often than not, they worry about things that no one else even noticed, let alone remembers. However, dealing with social anxiety isn’t fun. Like so many other mental disorders, anxiety can make it difficult to build relationships and live your life. If you’ve been struggling with symptoms, our Pompano Beach, Florida drug rehab is sharing some tips on how to get over social anxiety that can help.
Tips on How to Deal With Social Anxiety
Living with social anxiety disorder can mean that even the simplest or most minor social interactions can leave you trembling, dizzy, and panicky. Many people with this disorder often struggle with fear of criticism and rejection, as well, which could greatly impair their relationships. Severe symptoms of social anxiety can make it difficult to engage in common interactions, such as talking with co-workers, grocery shopping, eating in public, going to school, and dating. While getting over social anxiety isn’t as simple as throwing yourself into a crowd, it’s still an achievable goal. Below are some of our best tips on how to get over social anxiety and regain control of your life.
Pinpoint Specific Situations That Trigger Your Anxiety
Social anxiety doesn’t manifest itself in the same way for everyone. You may feel anxious about situations where others may judge you, from ordering food to going to the restroom during class. On the other hand, you may feel perfectly comfortable being in the presence of others – as long as you don’t have to speak. Pinpointing the things that aggravate your symptoms can help you take the first steps towards overcoming social anxiety. You can start this process by sitting down and listing things that cause you the most discomfort, such as ordering food at a restaurant or introducing yourself to a stranger. As time goes on, you may notice some more instances that make you uncomfortable that you can jot down. This is a great way to build self-awareness and prepare yourself for certain situations that make you anxious.
Also, pay attention to your body’s reactions in certain situations. If you’re feeling lightheaded or dizzy, ask yourself why. If you’re worried about whether people will notice that your hands are shaking or your heart is pounding, try a grounding technique, such as savoring food or drink or holding a piece of ice. These will help you “ground” your thoughts.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
It’s normal for people with social anxiety, or any kind of anxiety for that matter, to spend a lot of time thinking about potential negative outcomes or the things they’re afraid of. You may worry about things like accidentally saying something rude or offending someone, calling someone by the wrong name, tripping in front of people or spilling something on yourself, or getting sick in front of people. While these things can certainly cause discomfort and even embarrassment when they happen, it’s important to remember that many others have gone through the same thing.
Even if you do make a small social blunder, it doesn’t mean other people will look down on you for it. In fact, you may even bond over the incident with someone who’s had a similar experience. There are plenty of relationships that have blossomed over shared awkward moments.
Practice Socializing With People You Trust
All those negative outcomes you’re worried about? Practicing them with people you trust and are comfortable with can help you feel more prepared to handle them if they occur. Ask a trusted friend, spouse, or family member to role-play some conversations with you. For instance, you can role-play a scenario in which you’re searching for an item at a store and need to ask an employee for help. Practice having a professor or boss ask you a question in front of others, and you give the wrong answer. Additionally, you can also ask whoever is helping you to give positive, neutral, and negative reactions.
At Banyan Pompano, role-playing is actually a common technique we use in some of our therapy programs to help patients better understand their emotions and behaviors and how they relate to certain scenarios. Role-play is surprisingly one of the most helpful things to help with social anxiety that you can do if you’re experiencing this condition or want to help someone who is.
Try Some Relaxation Techniques
As with other anxiety disorders, social anxiety can produce overwhelming and uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as excessive sweating, rapid breathing, pounding heart, and an upset stomach. Relaxation exercises can calm the mind and help you physically relax as well. One relaxation technique you can use is the 4-7-8 breathing method, in which you inhale through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds.
Reduce/Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Not only is having a drink or two relaxing for some people, but it’s also a common aspect of socializing. However, alcohol can cause anxiety and intensify your symptoms. Also, if you regularly drink alcohol to manage your social anxiety symptoms, you may hit a point where you’re unable to socialize without drinking. This can lead to more problems, such as alcohol dependence. Mental illness and substance abuse are linked because many people use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. Many with social anxiety disorders have also required alcohol treatment to recover from their newly formed drinking habit as a result. Don’t be this person; avoid drinking.
Pay Attention for Subtle Signs of Avoidance
Although avoiding social situations won’t improve your social anxiety, you’ll also want to steer clear of superficial forms of participation. For instance, you may go to a party but spend most of your time cleaning up in the kitchen. In a group, you may stay on the outer edge of the circle and spend most of your time looking at your phone and avoiding conversation. While you may be present, you aren’t being involved, which won’t help. Letting go of these tactics can help you get to know people and build real relationships.
Seek Out Therapy and/or Treatment
One of the most effective ways to combat social anxiety symptoms is to talk with a therapist and get treatment. Our at-home tactics are often more efficient when backed up by therapy. Social anxiety disorder is a mental condition, and sometimes it’s not possible to go through the symptoms alone. If you’re looking for social anxiety treatment for yourself or a loved one, Banyan Treatment Centers Pompano can help. We offer a mental health program in Florida in which our licensed therapists can offer more insight on the difference between social anxiety and shyness, the difference between anxiety and depression, triggers, coping strategies, and more.
Learning how to combat social anxiety is very much trial and error. Some techniques that work for others may not work for you, and vice versa. It’s all about finding out how to get over social anxiety in healthy ways that work for you. For more information about our mental health and drug treatment in Pompano Beach, call us now at 888-280-4763.