Feb 16 / Katy Morin

10 Tips for Dealing With Social Anxiety in Everyday Life

Social anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders, affecting millions of people around the world. It can be debilitating, making it hard to function in everyday life. But there are things you can do to manage your social anxiety and improve your quality of life.

Here are 10 tips for dealing with social anxiety in everyday life:

1. Identifying Your Social Anxiety Triggers
​If you’re someone who suffers from social anxiety, you know how debilitating it can be. Just the thought of being in a social situation can trigger a full-blown anxiety attack. And when you’re in the midst of one, it feels like there’s no escape. But there is hope! By identifying your social anxiety triggers, you can take steps to avoid them and manage your anxiety.

One of the most common triggers for social anxiety is the fear of judgment. You might worry that people will think you’re stupid, boring, or weird. Or you might be afraid they’ll see how anxious you are and judge you for that. Whatever the case may be, this fear of judgment can be a major trigger for social anxiety.

Another common trigger is the fear of embarrassment. This can manifest itself in several ways. Maybe you’re afraid of saying something wrong or making a fool of yourself. Or maybe you’re worried about sweating, shaking, or blushing in front of others. This fear of embarrassment can make social situations very difficult to manage.

Another trigger for social anxiety is the fear of rejection. This might be the fear of being rejected by a group of friends or of being rejected by a romantic partner. This fear can be paralyzing and make it difficult to put yourself out there.

Lastly, another common trigger for social anxiety is the fear of being alone. This can be difficult to overcome because avoiding being alone is often hard. But if you’re someone who tends to feel anxious when you’re by yourself, it’s important to find ways to cope with that anxiety. Maybe you can find a hobby you can do alone or stay connected with friends and family even when you’re not in a social situation.

If you can identify your social anxiety triggers, it will be much easier to manage your anxiety. But even if you can’t, know that there is hope. There are many resources and treatments available that can help you learn how to cope with your anxiety and live a full and happy life.

2. Avoidance is not the answer
Avoiding situations that make you anxious may seem like an easy solution, but it’s not sustainable in the long term. Avoidance can make your anxiety worse. In addition to being difficult, figuring out what you’re avoiding can be hard. Sometimes, people avoid situations without even realizing it.

For example, you might avoid going to your favorite coffee shop because the barista makes small talk with everyone who comes in and you’re afraid he’ll ask you questions that make you anxious. Or perhaps you avoid socializing because conversations with strangers make you nervous. These are examples of ways in which people avoid things without realizing their own avoidance patterns.

Recognizing your avoidance patterns and their impact on your social life can be hard. But paying attention and working through them is important instead of avoiding them. By learning more about your social anxiety triggers, you can learn what makes you anxious in different social situations. By avoiding those situations, you could be missing out on a lot. Plus, by avoiding these situations, you may be reinforcing your anxiety triggers even more. You can end up in a vicious cycle of avoidance, which makes your anxiety worse.

Some people believe avoiding things that make them anxious is good, but this isn’t the case. Avoiding situations that make you anxious only reinforces those anxiety triggers and makes it harder to manage your social anxiety in the future. So, instead of avoiding uncomfortable situations, try facing them head-on and working through your anxiety. The more you face your everyday triggers, the easier they’ll manage.

3. Starting Small
​Starting small is often the best way to ease into something new, especially regarding social anxiety. It can be helpful to start attending social events that are low-key and manageable. For example, attend a smaller gathering with close friends instead of a huge party. Or, if you’re interested in meeting new people, try going to a meetup group for something you’re passionate about.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. If you’re anxious about an upcoming event, do deep breathing exercises and visualize. Visualize yourself feeling calm and relaxed in the situation. Then, take some baby steps towards attending the event. For example, if you’re invited to a party, you can start by simply showing up at the door. From there, you can take it one step at a time, like saying hello to the host, chatting with a few people, etc.

The most important thing is to be patient and take things at your own pace. Social anxiety can be daunting, but starting small is a great way to ease into things and build confidence.

4. Reframing Your Thinking
​Regarding social anxiety, one of the most important things you can do is reframe your thinking. A lot of people with social anxiety tend to see things in a negative light, which can make their anxiety worse.

Challenging your negative thoughts is one of the best ways to reframe your thinking. When you have a negative thought about yourself, ask yourself if there’s any evidence to support it. If there isn’t, then chances are it’s just your anxiety talking.

Another way to reframe your thinking is to focus on the positive. When you’re feeling anxious, try to think about something positive that’s happened to you. This can help take your mind off of your anxiety and remind you that not everything is bad.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek professional help if your social anxiety is getting too much to handle. A therapist can help you learn how to better deal with your anxiety and reframe your thinking.

5. Reaching Out to Support Systems
​When it comes to social anxiety, one of the best things you can do is reach out to your support system. This can be your family, your friends, or even a therapist. Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can be a huge help.

Your support system can also help you with specific strategies for dealing with social anxiety. They can help you practice what you will say or role-play a difficult situation. They can also help you get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system when anxious. They can help you get through this tough time.

6. Using Relaxation Techniques
​Relaxation techniques are a great way to help reduce stress and anxiety. Many different techniques can be used, and finding the one that works best for you may take some trial and error. Some common relaxation techniques include deep breathing: Take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand. Slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this for 10–15 breaths, and you should start to feel more relaxed.

Progressive muscle relaxation: Starting with your toes, tense the muscles in your feet for 5–10 seconds, then release. Work your way up your body, tensing and releasing muscles group by group.

Visualization: Close your eyes and picture a peaceful scene like a beach or meadow. Focus on the details of the scene, and try to forget about your stressors.

Mindfulness: Pay attention to your thoughts and emotions in the present moment without judgment. Accept them and let them go.

Take care of yourself physically: Physical health can greatly impact mental health. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep are all important for managing social anxiety.

These are just a few relaxation techniques that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Experiment with different techniques to find the ones that work best for you. And remember, even just a few minutes of relaxation can make a big difference.

7. Improving Your Self-Esteem
​If you’re someone who struggles with social anxiety, you know how difficult it can be to feel good about yourself. The constant worry and stress can affect your self-esteem, leaving you feeling worthless and incapable. But it doesn’t have to be this way! There are things you can do to improve your self-esteem and start feeling better about yourself.

One of the best things you can do for your self-esteem is to start practicing self-compassion. Beating yourself up all the time will only make you feel worse. Give yourself a break! Be gentle with yourself and cut yourself some slack. Start by recognizing your worth and value. You are deserving of love and respect, just like everyone else.

It can also be helpful to start challenging your negative thoughts. When you have a negative thought about yourself, take a step back and question it. Is it true? Or is it just your anxiety talking? Chances are, it’s the latter. Start replacing your negative thoughts with positive ones. Remind yourself of your accomplishments and all the good things about you.

In addition to changing your thinking, you can also build healthy coping skills. When you’re feeling anxious or down, find healthy ways to cope with those feelings instead of turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol or drugs. Some healthy coping skills include exercise, journaling, and spending time with supportive people.

Improving your self-esteem takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. You’ll find life much more enjoyable when you feel better about yourself.

8. Don’t compare yourself to others
Comparing yourself to others is a surefire way to feel bad about yourself. Everyone is different and has their unique talents and qualities. Accepting yourself for who you are is an important part of managing social anxiety.

9. Changing Your Environment
​If you’re suffering from social anxiety, one of the best things you can do is to change your environment. This can be a difficult task, but it’s worth it if it means overcoming your anxiety. Here are some tips for changing your environment:

1. Identify the places that make you anxious. This could be anywhere from the office to the grocery store. Once you know where your triggers are, you can start to avoid them.

2. Create a safe space for yourself. This could be a room in your house where you can retreat when anxious. Make sure it’s a place where you feel comfortable and safe.

3. Spend time with people who make you feel good. Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good about yourself. These people can be a great support system when you’re feeling anxious.

4. Avoid the things that trigger your anxiety. If certain things trigger your anxiety, do your best to avoid them. This could mean avoiding social situations or places that make you uncomfortable.

Deciding to change your environment is a big step in overcoming social anxiety. It’s important to remember that it’s not an overnight fix but a process that can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.

10. Seeking Professional Help
​If you’re struggling with social anxiety, know that you’re not alone. Many people suffer from this condition, which can make everyday activities feel daunting. While it may be tempting to try to cope with social anxiety on your own, seeking professional help is often the best course of action.

A therapist can help you understand and work through the root causes of your social anxiety. They can also provide coping and problem-solving strategies to help you manage your anxiety in day-to-day life. If you’re considering seeing a therapist, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Don’t wait until your anxiety is out of control to seek help. The sooner you start therapy, the better.

2. Do your research. Not all therapists are created equal. Find someone who specializes in treating social anxiety and who you can trust.

3. Be honest with your therapist. For therapy to be effective, you must be open and honest about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

4. Be patient. Change takes time. Don’t expect miracles overnight, but trust that with time and effort, you can overcome your social anxiety.

Living with social anxiety can be challenging, but implementing these 10 tips can make a significant difference in your everyday life. Remember, identifying your triggers, avoiding avoidance, and starting small are key steps to overcoming social anxiety. Reframing your thinking, reaching out to support systems, and utilizing relaxation techniques are powerful tools for managing anxiety.

Improving self-esteem, avoiding comparisons, and changing your environment are essential for creating a positive and supportive space. However, if you struggle to progress, seeking professional help is a courageous and impactful step towards a happier life.

If you’re ready to take control of your social anxiety and embark on a transformative journey, join my 1:1 coaching program, ‘Slay Social Anxiety.’ Together, we’ll work on personalized strategies to overcome your specific challenges and build the confidence you need for a fulfilling social life.

Don’t let social anxiety hold you back — take the first step towards a more confident and empowered you. Remember, you deserve a life free from the constraints of social anxiety.
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