5 Ways to Manage Social Anxiety

If you have a presentation, job interview, or blind date coming up, you may have some anxiety about it. These types of situations can put you out of your comfort zone, so your body may respond by causing you to be a little more anxious than normal to keep you on your toes. 

However, if you have social anxiety disorder, these reactions can be intense and cause you to avoid social situations altogether. If this describes you, we can help.

At Compass Mental Health & Wellness, our compassionate team can help you manage your social anxiety and gain more confidence when facing these settings. 

Here are five ways to help get you started.

1. See a specialist

Each year, an estimated 40 million American adults deal with some form of anxiety. Of those individuals, approximately 15 million experience social anxiety. Unfortunately, studies also show that only 25% of people with this chronic mental health condition receive treatment.

Anxiety disorders impact people of all ages, but therapy can help. The first step to managing your condition involves an accurate diagnosis with an expert who can outline a treatment strategy based on your unique needs and symptoms.

2. Reframe your response 

Living with social anxiety disorder can lead to an intense fear of judgment or rejection in social situations. Because of that, another top tip for managing this condition involves reframing the stress you experience.

You need to keep in mind that anxiety isn’t necessarily bad. As we mentioned earlier, it’s your body’s way of preparing you for a demanding situation. When you recognize the reasons behind your feelings, it can help reduce your response to things that may make you anxious.

You can also challenge negative thoughts and reactions with a positive affirmation. For example, you can use the “yes, but” technique. Instead of thinking, “I have to go to a party with a bunch of people I don’t know,” add, “but I’m funny and interesting, so I can find things to talk with them about.” 

Taking these logical approaches can help you replace negative responses with more realistic and positive outcomes over time.

3. Try positive coping strategies

It can be easy to turn to negative coping methods — such as drinking alcohol — if you have social anxiety. Unfortunately, these approaches often make symptoms worse, and an estimated 20% of people with social anxiety also have alcohol use disorder.

Instead, practice positive coping strategies, such as breath control. One method involves inhaling slowly and deeply through your nose while counting to four. Then, hold the breath for two seconds before exhaling through your mouth while counting to six.

Breathing strategies can help get your physical symptoms under control by balancing the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body. As a result, you can stay calm and avoid additional physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate, muscle tension, and dizziness.

4. Focus on others

If social situations make you nervous, you can distract yourself by paying attention to others. That’s because the more you concentrate on someone else, the less you can focus on your anxious thoughts and feelings.

You can concentrate more on those around you by doing the following:

And remember, even if someone notices that you’re nervous, that doesn’t mean they’ll think any less of you. In fact, they might feel just as nervous as you, or they may have felt like you in the past.

5. Face your fears

No one wants to be afraid. But avoiding your fears may make your social anxiety worse. Instead, take small steps to face your fears, so you can build your confidence and coping skills gradually. 

One important step you can take is to turn off your smartphone in social situations. These devices can make it easy to avoid interacting with others. Furthermore, checking social media instead of engaging in face-to-face interactions may reinforce your fears and anxieties.

Other ways

Other things you can do to face your social anxiety fears include:

Our team also recommends taking a whole-body approach when managing anxiety by avoiding or limiting caffeine, getting regular physical activity and quality sleep, and eating a healthy diet high in omega-3 fatty acids.

Do you have social anxiety? If so, we can help you overcome your fears. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Compass Mental Health & Wellness today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Insomnia Wrecks Your Health

Did you have another sleepless night? This common sleep disorder can do more than deplete your energy. It can take a toll on your overall health. Keep reading to learn more.

What to Eat When You Have Diabetes

Trying to control your blood sugar can seem overwhelming. But learning a few basic strategies can help demystify the process. Keep reading to see how making healthy choices with your diet can help you manage your condition.

What Is Mindfulness and How Can It Help My ADHD?

Do you struggle with self-control? How about concentration or focus? Whether you’re a child or an adult with ADHD, mindfulness meditation can help manage these symptoms and more by helping you build greater self-awareness. Keep reading to learn more.

The Link Between Pain and Depression

Did you know that pain and depression are closely linked? Believe it or not, depression can cause pain, and pain can also cause depression. Keep reading to learn about this intimate relationship and how to find relief.

Risk Factors for PTSD

Many people associate PTSD with combat or military service. However, anyone at any age can develop this mental health problem. Keep reading to learn how trauma can cause PTSD and what can increase your risk of developing this condition.

How Does ADHD Impact Relationships?

You can face numerous challenges when you live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, they don’t impact you alone. Keep reading to see how this condition can affect every aspect of your life, including your relationships.