How to Be Social With Social Anxiety

Feeling shy and experiencing nervousness is perfectly normal in people of all ages. However, in individuals with social anxiety, these feelings are a lot stronger and more frequent. These people experience true fear and anxiety surrounding socializing that results in avoiding interaction with other individuals and public places. This behavioral pattern can lead to poor relationships, unsatisfactory attendance at work, and disruptions in daily responsibilities and tasks. 

Social Anxiety at a Glance

While there are many forms of anxiety, social anxiety has very distinct markers that set it apart from others. Some of the signs and symptoms that come with social anxiety include:

  • Being afraid of public judgment 
  • Persistent worry of being humiliated or embarrassed 
  • Afraid of encountering strangers
  • Physical signs like blushing, sweating, and a trembling voice
  • Anticipating worst-case scenarios in public interactions
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded 
  • Queasy or upset stomach 
  • Fast heartbeat  
  • Muscle strain from being tense

Social anxiety affects people of all ages, though it is most typical in late adolescence through adulthood. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, more than 12% of adults in the U.S. experience social anxiety during their lifetime. If you believe that you or someone you know may be experiencing social anxiety or another form of anxiety, reach out for help. Treatment can help alleviate various anxiety-related conditions. 

Managing Social Anxiety

Professional treatment is often the best route for fast and effective anxiety management. Trained therapists can impart wisdom, tools, and resources for dealing with anxiety-related conditions, and may even prescribe medications to help. However, this is not the only way to manage anxiety well. 

Besides professional treatment, there’s a lot individuals can do at home to manage and cope with social anxiety. This way, they can live the fulfilled life that they crave. Forming a solid self-awareness will allow individuals to comprehend the situations that might trigger their social anxiety. When a circumstance gets particularly challenging, they can compartmentalize it into smaller components and process them one piece at a time. 

Journaling daily habits and tasks is an excellent way to create a written record that can reveal any potential patterns surrounding your social anxiety. Breathing exercises are another great option for anxiety management. Practicing relaxing breaths can alleviate stress, anxiety, and panic. This can be done at home, on the go, in the office, or anywhere else at any time. It is a free, effective, and easy coping technique. 

Easing Into the Social World

Some individuals with social anxiety still find themselves bored or lonely and want to be more social. They may be scared and not sure where to begin. With social anxiety, it’s so hard to break the cycle of staying in so that individuals can visit family, meet new people, and catch up with old friends. Let’s discuss some great ways to get out into the world to experience all that life has to offer. 

Join Group Therapy

Group therapy is an excellent asset in treatment programs for social anxiety. With this method, individuals gain the camaraderie and understanding of other individuals who are facing the same challenges as them. Participants can work together to help alleviate symptoms by gaining more perspective and positivity as a group. This provides the opportunity to make new friends and find things to do with one another that can help ease those with social anxiety into being more social. 

Challenge Yourself

Pick up a new hobby, try a new restaurant for dinner, or go somewhere different. Individuals can push their boundaries a little to challenge their social anxiety. Show it who is in control and who is not. Maybe they go see that new movie they’ve been wanting to watch, call up an old friend for lunch, or take a walk in the park by themselves. Just getting outside in the fresh air and feeling the sun can help tremendously. 

Sign Up for a New Hobby

Broadening one’s knowledge and skill set by learning something new is a great way to challenge social anxiety. Individuals might take up a new hobby or sign up for interesting classes. Not only can they get hands-on by learning a new skill or creating something incredible, but this also provides them with a chance to meet new people with similar interests. Anytime is the right time to expand the mind and one’s capabilities. 

Say Yes

Having social anxiety makes it hard to say yes to social events or outings. Individuals who have this condition can challenge themselves to say yes more often. Maybe someone asks them to coffee recently and they politely declined. What if they challenged themselves to say yes instead? Push back against social anxiety by pushing through the temptation to say “no.” They might be surprised by how enjoyable doing more for themselves can be. 

Seek Treatment

The best thing individuals can do for their social anxiety is seek treatment. With the right guidance and care, anyone can overcome the challenges they face and become the social version of themselves that they want to be. Through therapy, and sometimes medication, people can achieve a happier life free of the burden of their anxiety. 

Craving the joy of more freedom and engagement but being unable to achieve it is the reality of social anxiety. You can flip the script. Anxiety doesn’t have to control you. You are in control of your own narrative and you have the power to rise above these challenges. You deserve to enjoy the best of what life has to offer. If you want to go grab coffee with a friend or watch the latest movie in theatres, you can! At Alter Behavioral Health, we can equip you with the knowledge and skill set to overcome your social anxiety and get the most out of your life. Call us today at (866) 691-4386 for more information and to get started.