Social Anxiety is very distressing, plain and simple. It makes it hard to interact with peers, acquaintances and even friends and family members. It can severely affect your social life and make things like going to work extremely difficult. It can also take a major toll on your self esteem.
The good news is that learning how to overcome social anxiety is not rocket science. It does take practice and determination however. Here are 7 tips for coping with social anxiety disorder that will definitely help you:
1. Be kind to yourself. This is of primary importance. If you find yourself feeling less than or not good enough because you can’t interact with others the way you used to, you may be suffering form low self esteem. Knowing this, it is essential to be extremely gentle and kind to yourself as you learn to recover.
Mentally pat yourself on the back each time you go into a social situation and don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. Treat yourself with the same care and compassion you would give to a loved one who was suffering terribly from an illness.
2. Talk it out. There are many free online forums where you can share your feelings and experiences with others who are going through similar situations as you. Click here for a list of 9 support forums that you can check out.
Reaching out to others is balm for the soul. Social anxiety disorder is makes us withdrawn and can be isolating. Remember, you are not alone and you don’t have to feel like you are. Reaching out to others on forums is a wonderful way to get connected.
3. Avoid stimulants as much as possible. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant and is found in many common foods and beverages including: coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, and the widely popular energy drinks. Overindulging on sugar can also cause increase social anxiety symptoms.
People with social anxiety often use alcohol to help them calm down. (A slang term for this is liquid courage.) Surprisingly, alcoholic beverages can cause agitation and anxiety, most especially the day after over drinking, during the hangover. Going about your daily activities with a hangover can exacerbate social anxiety symptoms.
4. Catch your ZZZ’s. The importance of a good nights rest cannot be overstated. Sleep deprivation has a profound and direct correlation to social anxiety symptoms including panic attacks. The clincher is that social anxiety disorder actually makes getting a good nights rest difficult, so you have to take steps to ensure you get your rest.
Common sense tells us that it just makes sense to skip those late night television shows, or to stay out late on weekends partying. You may occasionally wish to use all natural Melatonin or Valerian to help get a good night’s sleep. (Always talk to your doctor before taking any supplement).
(To read more see: Anxiety and Sleep Tips)
5. Take baby steps. As you start to recover from social anxiety disorder, you may be tempted to go into a variety of situations in order to get the fastest cure. After all, you want to be over and done with it as quickly as possible right?
This is a mistake and can backfire on you, causing you to feel overwhelmed and even more frightened than before.
Instead aim for baby steps. Make a list of the social situations that cause anxiety for you. Arrange this list from the least distressing (You feel nervous but you won’t completely lose it or panic) to the most distressing (You dread this situation the most.).
Start by going into social anxiety situations at the bottom of your list, the ones that you can usually handle.
As you make your small victories, you can work your way up the list. Remember, Inch by inch, it’s a cinch 😉
6. Take a break. This goes hand in hand with number 1, Be kind to yourself. Overcoming social anxiety takes a lot of courage. As you expose yourself to social situations in baby steps, you learn to master your fears.
Remember though, you’re a person, not a machine! Take an occasional break from your exposure work, and give yourself some nice TLC. Treat yourself to a luxurious bubble bath and a nice evening in with your favorite movie or a great book, your most comfy pajamas, and your favorite treat (yummy popcorn anyone?). Regularly schedule these breaks to give you something wonderful to look forward to.
7. Find a program that works and use it. I have found a very effective resource on the internet today for overcoming social anxiety – it is called Social Anxiety Secrets and was created by a psychologist who specializes in treating social anxiety.
The key your success here is practicing the program step by step as outlined and giving it your best effort. I have used Social Anxiety Secrets myself and it truly does work. So make a personal commitment to yourself to do your best!
Overcoming social anxiety is definitely a challenge, and it does take practice and perseverance. By using these 7 simple tips for coping, you are well on your way to a life of freedom. Good luck!
I wish you peace,