Social situations can be challenging when struggling with social anxiety. Even something as simple as answering your door can be nerve-wracking. It can be difficult to believe you can overcome your anxiety. So, how do you navigate social situations when you have social anxiety?
Coping With Social Anxiety in the Moment
There are multiple tools you can use to cope with your social anxiety in the moment, including the following.
Accept Your Anxiety
One strategy to ease your anxiety, though it may sound counter-intuitive, is accepting that you feel anxious. Allowing yourself to feel your anxiety instead of running away or ignoring it can help you discover what triggered it and start breaking habits of stifling your feelings. Avoidance will only reinforce your fears; acceptance is what gives you the tools to face them.
Another coping strategy is to stay positive. Instead of focusing on the negative thoughts you have, think of the positives. When you feel like people are judging you, remind yourself that you are beautiful the way you are. You are loved and cared for, and it is okay if not everyone likes you because the people that matter to you like you. Learning to speak positively about yourself will lessen your tendency to tell yourself that others are judging you.
Engage in Breathing Exercises
You can also try breathing exercises to help cope with social anxiety when it arises. Sometimes we find ourselves breathing heavily and quickly when we are anxious. One way to ease your anxiety is to lower your heart rate and blood pressure; the quickest way to do that is to practice deep breathing. Fill your lungs with air and slowly release it. The more air you take in the less amount of work your heart will endure.
Check-In With Yourself
When you are anxious in social situations, checking in with yourself is beneficial. What are you feeling? If you are having trouble grounding yourself, try stimulating all five senses. What is something you can see, feel, taste, smell, and hear? Find specific things that are colorful, interesting, and enjoyable. This helps bring you back to where you are and enables you to focus less on the people around you.
Checking in with yourself can also help you know when you need a break. Social situations can be very overwhelming. It’s important to try not to run away from them. Avoiding social situations can make your anxiety worse. However, taking a break is not running away. Knowing your limits is essential. If you feel overwhelmed or like people are looking at you or judging you, it is okay to find a quiet place and take a break from the situation.
Another way to check in with yourself is to remind yourself that while you may think people are judging you, that is most likely not the case. Simply telling yourself that those around you aren’t looking at you can help you ease your anxiety. Tell yourself you have nothing to hide, that you are beautiful and intelligent. There is nothing about you that would make strangers judge you.
Tell a Friend You Are Anxious
When you are in public with a trusted friend or family member, telling them you’re anxious can be beneficial. By telling them you are anxious, you let them in on your emotional needs. This way, they can help you the best they can. They can help you find a quiet space to sit. A friend or family member can also help walk you through your coping strategies. Your loved ones are there, and they want to help you.
If you know a specific situation may make you anxious, let your friends know. Communicate with them what support you need from them and how you plan to navigate the situation. This way, you have someone aware of how you’re feeling and can navigate social situations with a bit of extra support or comfort.
Finding Professional Help for Social Anxiety
Sometimes finding coping strategies on your own is challenging. It can be hard to see past the feeling of your anxiety to get to the cause. Talking with a therapist about your experiences in social situations and how they made you can help you find the tools you need to overcome social anxiety.
Mental health professionals can sympathize with your feelings while objectively looking at your experience. A therapist can help you develop coping strategies that will help you navigate social situations in a healthy and efficient way.
Finding the right medium for therapy can also be an obstacle to your anxiety. If seeing a therapist in person is intimidating, virtual therapy is a great option. Online counseling gives you the security of not having to talk in real-time face-to-face with someone you aren’t comfortable with yet. It gives you the ability to start and end conversations when you want.
Mindfuli understands social anxiety can be hard to deal with, but we know finding ways to navigate it can make life easier. Through online therapy, you can achieve your goals and experience social situations without fear. You are capable! Your social anxiety does not need to control your life. You deserve to go out into the world without being afraid of those around you. You deserve a sense of normalcy when out in public. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Mindfuli can help you find ways to calm your social anxiety so you can enjoy your life with those you love. Call us today at (866) 973-4415 to learn more.