Whenever you experience a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, about an event that is about to happen, or something with an uncertain outcome, it’s one of the signs of anxiety. However, social anxiety happens when your nervousness, uneasiness, and worry focus on social interaction. In this article, you will learn how to deal with social anxiety without medication.
You can’t manage or handle a social anxiety disorder if you don’t understand anxiety as a whole.
Social anxiety varies from one person to another. It could be the fear of speaking in front of groups of people (glossophobia), the fear of meeting new people, the fear of going to parties, etc.
Regardless of the situation your fear arises, you tend to experience sweating, flushing, feeling your heart race, and other anxiety symptoms.
Components of Anxiety
Generally, there are three different components of anxiety which are the physiological component, the cognitive, and the behavioral.
The physiological component focuses on how anxiety feels in your body. The physiological component of anxiety manifests when you experience a racing heart, sweaty palms, flushed face, feeling faint, etc.,
The physiological component is an essential component of anxiety because it is the first one people notice. Symptoms of panic attacks also fall under the physiological component.
The second component of anxiety is the cognitive part. It involves any anxious thoughts that you have. It’s what makes you think negatively about yourself whenever you are in a social event.
The third aspect is the behavior component. It involves anything that other people notice you doing or not doing during a social gathering or event. It could be not making eye contact, looking away, stuttering, walking quickly by, etc.
And if you are experiencing social anxiety, you tend to experience these components. They work together to intensify your anxiety episodes.
For instance, if your girlfriend calls you over the phone and says, “We Need to Talk.” You could rush to the conclusion that you must have done something wrong or she saw something in your phone.
Before you know, you will feel your muscles tighten, your heart will start to race, and you begin to sweat. Then, you will avoid seeing her at all costs. And when you eventually meet her, you tend to struggle to make eye contact.
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Now you see how these three anxiety components work together to intensify your social anxiety episodes.
Here are some tips on how to deal with social anxiety.
#1. Deep Muscle Relaxation
One of the tips on how to deal with social anxiety is to learn how to relax your muscles physically. Feeling relaxed and being anxious are mutually exclusive. Meaning, two of them can’t happen at the same time.
So, once you are feeling anxious, try to relax your muscles physically. It will go a long way to help you deal with social anxiety.
For better results, try to tense and then relax your body’s major muscle groups. You can start with your feet and work your way towards the head and the face.
#2. Breathing Slowly
Controlling your breath is another good way to handle social anxiety. Generally, your breathing tends to be faster and more shallow when you are anxious. And this could lead to light-headedness and dizziness, making you more nervous.
But if you master the act of breathing slowly and regularly through your nose, you tend to calm down easily when you are anxious.
Of course, slow breathing doesn’t cure anxiety. It will only help you control the situation that is making you feel anxious.
Visualization is another tip on how to deal with social anxiety. It’s easy; all you have to do is think of a place or situation when you feel safe and comfortable.
Once you remember the place or situation, get a picture of it in your mind so clearly that you can feel, smell, and even taste that place.
It takes practice and patience to capture that picture of the place that you feel safe and comfortable.
#4. Control Your Thought
Another good tip on how to deal with social anxiety is by controlling your thoughts. Most times, faulty thinking could trigger social anxiety symptoms.
You tend to develop anxiety symptoms when you think that other people judge you and have a negative impression of you.
So, before you start reacting to your thoughts, constantly evaluate them if they are true. And if possible, ask yourself for proof.
People with social anxiety always overestimate how badly other people think of them. But in reality, your thoughts are only guesses on what others will think or what you will do. They are not real.
Trust me, how you think about yourself is a habit, and you can change this habit.
#5. Face your Anxiety
Once you realize that you have social anxiety, face it. You won’t be helping yourself to recover quickly from your anxiety symptoms if you hide, avoid, or run away from it.
But when you face your anxiety, you will discover that it’s usually something you can tolerate after a few exposures.
However, it’s advisable to try exposure therapy on the situation that gives you a low level of anxiety at first.
When using exposure therapy to deal with social anxiety, your focus should be what’s happening in your surroundings, not what’s going through your mind.
With this, you can distract yourself from those anxious thoughts.
Do you find any of these techniques helpful? Is there any other strategy you use to cope with social anxiety?
Feel free to share in the comments below.
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