Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Tips on How to Cope With Social Anxiety

I can get up in front of an entire room of strangers and perform a fantastic speech or presentation. I can walk down a busy street in a foreign city and feel one hundred per cent confident

….but put me in direct contact with a couple of acquaintances, or at a busy, local, hometown event, and my anxiety rises as my confidence crumbles.

Photo retrieved from
Social Anxiety, like people, comes in all different shapes, sizes and extremes. I didn’t realize how common it was until I started doing a little bit of research about it.

Please know that I am by no means a physician, therapist, or counselor, but merely someone who wanted to share some techniques that I use to help me through moments of fear in a social setting:

Focus on your breath, like you would in a yoga class. Breath deep - in through your nose, out through your nose.

They often say in the middle of a pose to ‘breath through any pain or discomfort that you may be feeling’ – I try to remember this when I find myself feeling really unconformatble in a social setting. I become aware of my breath and my body. How am I reacting? Am I reacting physically (sweaty palms, heart rate increasing), mentally (mind racing, bad flashbacks)? Recognize what you are going through and just keep breathing, focusing on your breath, until you start to feel better.

Have you heard the saying ‘fake it ‘till you make it?’ As tough as it may be, force yourself to smile. Even if it’s a little one that just turns up the corners of your mouth. Before you know it, you’ll have yourself convinced that you are feeling better.

Find a social supporter
Who is someone you can share your fears and insecurities with?

Be sure that when you are expressing how you feel that you are not looking for validation, but just someone who will listen to you, support you, and love you no matter what. And yes, this could be your mom.

Be honest with yourself
Why are afraid? What is it exactly that’s bothering you? Until you are ready to acknowledge the truth within yourself, you will never be able to heal, let it go, and move forward with your life.

Remember what Dr. Seuss said
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."

While you may be nervous in a particular social setting, there are many people in this world who love you no matter what, and soon the anxiety will pass and you can be with those who love you for all that you are. Count your blessings.

Say nice things to yourself
Change your thought process.

Convince yourself that you are all of those nice things that the people who love you say that you are. Repeat some of these compliments to yourself until to start to believe them. Reject any negative thoughts that come into your mind. These positive affirmations, along with the regulated breathing and a plastersed smile on your face, will you have you facing your fears and rocking any social situation you may find yourself in, in no time at all.

Don’t get me wrong –I know it may not be as easy as it sounds. But you know what they say – practice makes perfect.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you the best of days.