If you struggle with social anxiety, it’s important to first and foremost know that you are not alone. There are a ton of people out there who identify as a person with social awkwardness and anxiety. The other good news is that there are steps you can take to cope with it and even eventually get past it. Here are 7 ways to deal with crippling social anxiety.
#1. Talk about it with a therapist
If it’s truly is crippling, that means that doing anything that requires you to interact with others, even grocery shopping, then you are actually paralyzed by the idea of going outside of your home to do anything. If that’s the case, the best way to start to deal with crippling social anxiety is to talk about it with a professional such as a therapist.
#2. Read self-help books
Now, if you’ve already gone the therapy route or you’re looking for other ways to deal with crippling social anxiety, you can check out self-help books on the subject. This is a pretty safe way to start the process of transformation, from a caterpillar in a cocoon into a social butterfly – OK maybe not that extroverted but, at least more socially outgoing than you are right now – because you can research online and order books from sites like amazon.com from the comfort and safety of your home.
It’s said that meditating at least 10 minutes a day can transform your entire world. You will learn how to quiet your mind, meaning you will learn how to turn off that inner voice, your inner critic rather, that tells you all those negative things. You will also get in touch with your true self, the one that loves you for you. This will bolster confidence as well as center you in an all-around sort of way. Plus, you build a better relationship with yourself.
#4. Positive affirmation
Write down all the things that you like about yourself. If you’re having trouble with coming up with more than two things, then this is the root of your anxiety: low self-esteem. Ask a close friend or friends what they like about you. Believe them. Write each of these things down on a different Post-It note and stick them up on your bathroom mirror so that you have to look at them every day. Read them aloud, every day. Do this until you believe these things about yourself and then keep doing it.
#5. Practice Humility
First of all, let’s put this humility thing into perspective: “Being humble is not thinking less of yourself; it’s thinking of yourself less.” This might sound like an odd way to deal with crippling social anxiety but, it actually makes a lot of sense. Because, when you get right down to it, being worried about what others might be thinking about you is actually pretty egotistical. It’s like you’re assuming that you’re the center of everyone else’s world. Get in the habit of reminding yourself that, just like you, other people have lives, too and therefore have lots of other stuff on their mind, besides what you look like, what kind of shoes you have on, etc.
#6. Take baby steps outside of your comfort zone
Start out doing little things outside of your comfort zone. Choose “safe” situations, like making small talk with your server when ordering your meal. This is a relatively safe situation because, well, your server has to talk to you. And, they’re going to be extra friendly because the amount of their tip depends on it. Challenge yourself by stopping them on their way past your table to ask for extra napkins or a spoon, whatever it is you need and don’t have. This sort of thing will bolster your confidence in talking to people at parties and social gatherings. This brings us to the next way to deal with crippling social anxiety.
#7. Go to social events and gatherings
Once you’ve done these other things, it’s time to start broadening your comfort zone even more by taking bigger risks – socially speaking. Accept that invite to an upcoming art show, go to a concert, attend that housewarming party. Bring a close friend so you have someone to talk to at first, to get over your social awkwardness. But then branch out. Learn ways of making small talk, even if it means looking it up online ahead of time.
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