The internet is constantly talking about it.
We all seem to relate in some way. We are silently connected by the insecurity many of us have that comes in the form of social anxiety.
When I was younger, despite enjoying good company, I used to be super scared of going to gatherings and parties. I was so scared of being the centre of attention at any point in time.
Like even when you walk into a room and it goes a bit quiet as you do your introductions.
I was just saying my name, for goodness sake. But I was so nervous for everyone to suddenly be focused on me. I would speak so quietly and it'd make it even worse.
I don't know what it was. The thought of having to interact or the dread of having to sitting in the corner of a room because of my awkwardness in socially contributing, was enough to make me consider staying at home in my pjs to watch Tiny Pop.
Social anxiety is characterized by a fear of social situations. It typically involves feeling super nervous when around lots of people, being a bit scared to meet new people, even cancelling plans to avoid social obligations.
It doesn't just go away when you become an adult. In fact, it gets a bit more interesting.
We've all seen those memes about how satisfying it can be when plans get cancelled. (There are a lot that just expose how anti-social we all secretly are). You've probably also seen countless posts online that show how awkward we all get in conversations sometimes.
Like those tweets about when you're trying to sleep but your brain stays awake remembering that embarassing thing you did 6 months ago.
It's kind of remarkable, when you think about how comforting and relatable it can be to hear strangers on the internet talk about their awkwardness and social anxiety. But then there's the real life play out. Stepping one foot out of the door can fill us with such powerful dread that we just don't know how to function in certain situations.
We joke about it, but when social anxiety happens in real life, it can be all-consuming. It drives us crazy, it gets in the way.
Because this fear of social interaction can be so crippling, knowing how to manage social anxiety can really help you improve your quality of life. It begins with changing your mindset and reframing your thoughts so that you can see things in a more positive light. I'll be talking about a useful thing to keep in your pocket (well your phone) for this later on.
But first, here are some quick tips for dealing with and managing social anxiety:
Write down your goals - One great way to manage social anxiety is to take small steps to overcome the challenges that seem colossal. Maybe you can make a small goal to simply say yes to an invitation and make an effort to just show up if you're normally to nervous to follow through. Another goal could be to just speak to 1 person, like someone sitting next to you when you go out. This is how you calm your nerves and start making friends.
Practice ahead of time - Another way to manage social anxiety is to be prepared with what you're gonna say. The though of having to start a conversation can be really hard when you feel socially anxious. It helps if you come up a few lines before you leave the house. Of course, the first step would be a simple greeting, then you can come up with a question that's related to the event. Asking a question is a great way to get the ball rolling, and actually takes the pressure off you. Even a general, "How is your day going?" is a good way to start a conversation.
Be honest and open - There are so many people who feel just as nervous as you. Being open and honest and about your nervousness shows humility, and that's a really attractive quality that helps us all calm down and relate with the humanity in others. When you're just straight up and honest about the fact that you struggle with social situations, it can even lead to a light-hearted and funny discussion where others talk about how they relate. I've experienced that a lot of times...
Appreciate your progress and keep it up - Congratulate yourself whenever you feel fearful about going up to someone or leaving your house and you do it anyway. Way to go! Appreciating your progress can help you manage social anxiety over the long-run and make you more confident. Count your victory each time and see it as proof that you can over the social challenges that used to hold you back!
So I created a short, fun, e-book called 31 Positive Reasons Why Someone Might Be Staring At You, as a tool to help you manage social anxiety whenever it creeps up.
One aspect of social anxiety is feeling nervous because you assume that people are judging you. Our insecurities can play in our mind and make us feel weak, with no social strength to muster up.
I hope that this little e-book helps you turn things around in your mind. I created it as a reference for whenever those moments come up where you feel vulnerable in a room full of strangers.
We normally have our phones out anyway as a distraction when we're waiting/sitting in a room full of strangers. I encourage you to download the e-book, have a read now (you can read it quite quickly), and then you'll have it to whip out during situations just like that. I hope it'll at least calm your nerves and put a smile on your face, so you don't feel so alone in that room.
Have a read and let me know what you think!
It is possible to manage social anxiety, and I hope this new e-book will be a fun way for you to do it!
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