Social anxiety can make it extremely difficult to interact with people you don’t know or feel securely attached to. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your symptoms so you can live life to the fullest. Here are five lifestyle strategies to adopt.
Find People Who Share Your Interests
One of the easiest ways to be more social is to join a club filled with like-minded people. Consider doing a favorite hobby with other people who enjoy it. It can be easier to talk about what you are passionate about before getting into personal conversations.
You will likely fit in when you find people with similar interests, making it easier to put yourself out there and be social. Look for clubs online or on local bulletin boards. You can also ask managers of the stores where you get your supplies if they know of any social groups around town.
Another route is to seek an anxiety support group filled with people who understand your experience. You can work together to overcome stressful situations together.
Start with Small Gatherings
You don’t have to push yourself to attend parties, concerts and other large events. Start small with gatherings of people you are comfortable around.
Offer to host a small dinner party or go out to brunch. Encourage a friend or family member to invite one of their friends who you don’t know. It will give you experience meeting and striking up conversations with new people.
Seeing the people you care about interacting with someone new can also help you learn social cues you might lack due to your anxiety. Mimicking their tone and body language can help you feel more confident during interactions you can’t avoid.
Work with a Therapist
Therapy can be an excellent tool for treating anxiety. Working with a therapist you like can help you understand your condition and find the right coping strategies for living a social life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular and effective technique that can help you think through different scenarios and train your brain to navigate difficult social situations. If you are nervous about seeing a therapist in person, consider making a few online appointments where you can take on the process from the comfort of your own home.
Advocate for Yourself
People with anxiety must advocate for themselves. Those close to you might not realize you are struggling unless you tell them. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of social anxiety. Many individuals struggle with the condition, some more than others. In fact, about 12% of American adults have experienced it at some point in their lives.
Explain that you sometimes feel anxious or overwhelmed in social situations and excuse behaviors that might come across as rude or uninterested. Feel free to leave when you need a break from an overstimulating or socially awkward situation. Take a walk or go somewhere quiet to regroup before reentering. If you are at a strictly social event, leave when you want. Don’t feel pressured to stay a certain amount of time just because of social convention.
Advocating for your needs helps others help you. Your social experiences will be easier to handle when everyone is on the same page.
Overcoming social anxiety takes time. You’ll only feel worse if you force yourself into a stressful situation.
It’s important to be kind and patient with yourself as you work to become more comfortable in social situations. Start with small scenarios, and don’t be hard on yourself if they don’t go well. Each day is different, and accepting the bad days will help you embrace the good ones. Remember, you are not the only person who struggles with this.
Forgiving and loving yourself makes it easier to give your best to others.
Overcoming Social Anxiety
Social anxiety can be hard to cope with. However, the right lifestyle strategies enable you to accomplish anything you want and live life to the fullest.
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