6 Effective Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety

6 Effective Ways to Overcome Social Anxiety

Social anxiety is often misunderstood by others, and many may suffer in silence. It can really control and hinder your daily life.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 15 million U.S. adults have social anxiety, and teens who are in middle school or college are particularly at risk of developing social anxiety. It is thought that symptoms of social anxiety usually begin around age 13. Hope the following 6 ways can help you ease and overcome your social anxiety.

1. Challenge your negative and anxious thoughts

Challenging your mindset and negative thoughts is an effective way to reduce symptoms of social anxiety. First, identify the anxious thoughts that automatically pop into your head when you think about social situations. Next, analyze these ideas and challenge them. Ask yourself why you feel this way, or why you always assume the worst ideas. Changing the way you think is a long journey, but the thought is a powerful thing and it is possible.

2. Focus on others, not yourself

When we're in a social situation that makes us nervous, many people tend to get caught up in anxious thoughts and feelings. You may feel like everyone is looking at you and judging you. Your focus is on how you feel in your body, but this excessive self-focus will only make you more aware of how stressed you are, which can lead to more anxiety. It can also prevent you from fully concentrating on your conversation or your performance. Shifting from an inner to an outer focus can greatly reduce social anxiety. This is easier said than done, but you can't pay attention to two things at the same time. The more you focus on what's going on around you, the less you'll suffer from anxiety.

3. Learn to control your breathing

When you're anxious, your body goes through a lot of changes. The first change is that you start breathing faster. Excessive breathing can disrupt the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body, leading to more anxiety symptoms such as dizziness, a feeling of choking, increased heart rate, and muscle tension. Learning to breathe slowly can help you manage the physical symptoms of anxiety. Practicing some breathing exercises can help you stay calm.

4. Face the fear

One of the most effective ways to overcome social anxiety is to confront the social situations you fear rather than avoid them. While avoiding situations that make you nervous may make you feel better in the short term, it can prevent you from learning how to cope in the long term. In fact, the more you avoid a scary social situation, the scarier it becomes. Avoidance also prevents you from doing what you want or achieving certain goals. For example, being afraid to speak up may prevent you from sharing your ideas at work.

5. Behavioral confident

There are many adults with social anxiety. You can learn to be confident in the same way you learned to ride a bike. That doesn't mean you need to be the clown or the center of attention in your class. Just be more confident.

6. Talk to people proactively

By overcoming social anxiety and shyness, you can hopefully become more confident in conversation. Talking to people is very challenging and knowing what to say is not easy. Sometimes awkward silence can feel like a lifetime has passed. Talking to people slowly will help you feel less anxious each time.