Here’s how you can control your anxiety and be more confident
If you are someone who suffers from social anxiety or social phobia, you know how difficult life can be. The first issue that people suffering from social anxiety is getting people to understand that feeling anxious in social settings and interactions, and even running away from it is different from being an introvert. Being an introvert is a personality type. Suffering from social anxiety and phobia is a serious condition, for which a person needs help and counseling to cope with.
What is Social Anxiety and Phobia
Social anxiety is defined as ‘marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations’. It is when a person is so uncomfortable in a social setting that it alters their bodily and cognitive abilities. This condition can be extremely disabling for a person suffering from it. A person suffering from social anxiety tends to avoid social gatherings or interactions, going to great lengths to avoid a breakdown.
Common symptoms of social anxiety and phobia are:
- Feeling breathless
- Heavy breathing
Social anxiety often co-exists with other disorders such as depression and dysthymia .
Treatment of social anxiety can either be psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy, or a combination of both. In recent years, the coping styles for many mental disorders including social anxiety and social phobia have had many breakthroughs, and studies have shown positive hope as far as management and treatment of social anxiety and phobia go. If you are looking for ways to manage your social anxiety, the following tips can help:
- Find support: Having people who understand and support you through your social anxiety is very important. It might sound a little ironic to ask a socially anxious person to find someone, but once you do, you are on a faster route to healing.
- Avoid triggers: Pay attention to what your triggers are. For some people, the idea of speaking in public is a trigger, while for others it is the interaction with more than one person. Find what is your trigger, or what overwhelms you. Once you identify your trigger you can either avoid it or anticipate it and be prepared.
- Change your perspective: Instead of looking at a situation as a possible trigger, think of it as a challenge, and try to tackle it the best way you can. Also, understand that it is not always possible to ‘win’ a challenge, so allow yourself the freedom to take up as much as possible, and let go of what you can’t.
- Take one step at a time: These 3 words are how you can handle a situation that makes you anxious – Prepare, Rehearse, and Expose. What you need to do is, before you enter a situation that can be a possible trigger, prepare yourself mentally. Another step is to rehearse how you are going to handle a situation. When you can anticipate what kind of social setting you are going to be in, you can play sample conversations in your head and formulate a plan on how you plan to tackle the situation. And the last one is to expose yourself to more and more such situations. The more you go out and handle situations that make your scared and anxious, the more prepared you will be to handle things better.
- Psychotherapy: Seeking medical help to equip you at handling your anxiety and phobias is the best way to address the issue. Psychotherapy has shown positive results in helping people with social anxiety and phobia. Psychotherapy will help you understand your condition better, and help you find the best ways to handle your disorder.
If you are looking for a counselor or coach to help you, or someone you know, overcome their social anxiety or social phobia, click here to get in touch with top life coaches and counselors.
Jefferson JW. Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just a Little Shyness. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2001;3(1):4–9. doi:10.4088/pcc.v03n0102