We have all been in situations where our social anxiety has peaked in the middle of a public space. It can be uncomfortable and frustrating when you feel like you can’t calm yourself down. Because of social anxiety, you may be scared that other people will notice your distress. Often, you’ll try to bury it deep down but that only increases the anxiety, creating a spiral.
Finding ways to put yourself at ease can be troublesome, but it is not impossible. Here are four simple ways you can ease your social anxiety when you are in public.
#1. Dampen the Noise Around You
When you are out in public, around a lot of people, a lot of factors can become overwhelming. The hustle and bustle of the people around you can worsen anxiety in intense ways. One way to prevent this during your public outings is by wearing noise-dampening headphones or earplugs. Headphones or earplugs can filter out the background voices and noises, but leave you able to hear your own conversations.
This tool allows you to focus on what is directly in front of you without the extra noise. You will feel less overwhelmed by the number of people around you because you cannot hear as many of the sounds. Your anxiety won’t cause you to think about whether or not the people around are talking about you.
A lot of social anxiety is increased by the fear that people are judging you or talking about you. Hearing multiple conversations around you all at once can make you think that amongst the dozens of voices, at least one is mentioning your appearance, the way you walk, and the way you eat. Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs prevent you from hearing as much of it. This way, the conversations around you can’t trigger or worsen your anxiety.
#2. Let Your Family/Friends Know What Is Happening
It is hard enough having anxiety in public, and it’s frustrating when you feel like you’re the only person struggling. You don’t have to keep it a secret from those who care for you. Let those people around you know that you are feeling anxious. They may be able to help you find a quiet place to relax. The fear that your friends and family will judge you is just your anxiety talking. A good support system will offer compassion.
Talking about your anxiety can be a big help. Communicating your needs with those you are close to can have many benefits for your health. Disclosing your mental state can help your loved ones better understand your thought process and anxiety. Plus, it can help you feel less alone.
#3. Find a Less-Crowded Area
Being in a large, crowded area can easily trigger your social anxiety. It can be hard to calm yourself down when there are people constantly walking past you and dozens of conversations happening all at once. We think someone may be looking at us, or even talking about us. These things can make us wonder if everyone is looking at us or talking about us. It can feel overwhelming.
Find a place that is less crowded and quiet. Libraries and bookstores are good examples of safer environments. Take a minute to sit in the quiet and breathe. It is okay to admit when you need a break, and there is no shame in it. Understanding your boundaries will lead to an easier time in public places.
#4. Try Taking Deep Breaths
Deep breathing is one important aspect of calming your anxiety. Connected deep breathing slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure. With less stress coursing through your system, it will feel significantly easier to breathe and calm yourself down.
Breathe in slowly through your nose, filling your lungs as full as you can. Then, exhale through your mouth at a steady pace. Do this a few times. It will become easier to breathe. Keep breathing this way while you focus on your feelings. Concentrate on positive and calming thoughts. Look around and identify different senses. What can you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste? If you’re too anxious to engage with your surroundings, you can use mental visualization to place yourself in a calmer environment.
Talk to a Therapist About Your Social Anxiety
Sometimes we need more than these simple tips to ease social anxiety. If you find that these tips don’t ease your anxiety levels enough to navigate social situations, you shouldn’t give up. Talking to a therapist about your anxiety can be the key to overcoming your anxiety. Therapy gives you a space to talk openly about your anxiety without fear of judgment.
Getting extra input from an unbiased source can allow you to process your emotions and anxiety. Doing so can help you learn to accept it rather than fight it. Once that is achieved, you can work with your therapist on finding coping mechanisms to ease your own anxiety. The extra help can be the push that allows you to feel safe when you are out in public.
Mindfuli knows how hard it can be to navigate public spaces while struggling with social anxiety. You don’t have to struggle alone. Finding ways to ease your social anxiety in and out of public situations is key to living a fulfilling and happy life. You are more capable than you may think. By talking to an online therapist, you can find more ways to cope with your social anxiety. Working with a counselor can make navigating social situations easier and less overwhelming and stressful. Mindfuli can connect you with people who are learning to cope alongside you. You have the ability to take control. Call us at (866) 973-4415 to learn more.