Strategies for Coping with Social Anxiety When You Find It Overwhelming: What You Can Do Before You Even Go Outside
Having social anxiety can be difficult. Within the past three years in particular, discussions about it have increased because COVID-19 has resulted in people staying at home much more than before and being around others again is causing discomfort for many. Some may even feel overwhelmed by this anxiety at times as well as are unsure how to effectively handle it.
If you’ve been experiencing social anxiety that’s overwhelming, here are strategies for coping and suggestions for what you can do before even going outside.
Strategies for Coping with Overwhelming Social Anxiety
Prepare for Your In-Person Interactions
A main aspect of social anxiety is worrying about how your interactions will go with others. Therefore, a good way to take some pressure off of yourself in this respect includes preparing for these interactions. To provide an example, if you’re running errands that must be done in-person such as going to a bank and seeing a teller or financial advisor, plan what you’ll say. You could even carefully word your requests prior to saying them. The same goes for responses to questions you anticipate will be asked of you. This preparation might put you more at ease and even increase your confidence when speaking with others.
Engage With Breathing Exercises
Research breathing exercises that address social anxiety. These types of exercises won’t take up too much of your time and can easily be done just before you open the door to go outside. There’s a good chance that you’ll find some online that can help calm you down.
Remind Yourself That Others Are Usually Not Critical of How You Act
Often times, you are much more worried and critical of how you act than others. It’s understandable if you anticipate making a mistake or believe you’ll be awkward during your exchange with someone but try not to solely focus on this as it won’t help. Taking the example above that involves going to a bank, the teller or financial advisor probably won’t remember these details about your interaction by the end of the day as they see so many different people on a regular basis. Though challenging, remind yourself that completing the errand is what’s important and to not dwell on what you believe the other person thinks of you as there’s no need for it.
Try Seeing a Mental Health Professional
If you have social anxiety that’s significantly affecting various areas of your life, try seeing a mental health professional. They’ll help tackle these anxious feelings you’ve been experiencing by providing useful approaches. Also, many related services are available remotely as well as in-person. A directly related goal could even be starting off your appointments through video calls, then working towards feeling comfortable enough to leave home and see the professional in person.
Experiencing social anxiety is particularly difficult, especially when living in a world where strong interpersonal skills are often expected of us. However, given the unique circumstances with COVID-19, society has lately been more empathetic toward those who have this anxiety. Therefore, it’s crucial to figure out how to address it, but also not be too tough on yourself in the process. If you’re prepared to try your absolute best while considering the advice above, you have the tools for successfully coping with social anxiety.
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