7 Tips To Get Rid Of Social Anxiety

7 Tips to Get Rid of Social Anxiety

I sat at the end of the sofa. This is the spot I’d been in all night watching people move around the room, and listening to whomever chose to sit next to me talk. This is how I used to inhibit a party. Motionless and quiet, waiting for just the right moment to hurry home.

This was not just my way of dealing with parties. It reflected the way I dealt with much of my life. Too afraid to show the world who I really was, I’d try my best to stay quiet and still. Don’t say too much. Don’t laugh too loudly. Don’t let them know you are anxious. Don’t let them notice that you are different.

Do you ever think you might be the only one whose heart races at the thought of going to a large social gathering? Do you ever wonder if anyone else’s voice shakes when too many people are listening to her talk? Do you ever feel like you’re the only one who would rather not attend a party?

For much of my life I thought I was the only one. Then one day I noticed the slight unsureness in the voice of an acquaintance as he addressed the room at a social event, and I thought maybe he feels it too. I noticed it again as I sat in a fast food restaurant alone eating and I saw a woman I worked with pull into the drive through window to order her lunch and pull into a parking space to sit alone in her car eating. I wondered if she felt it too?

I was an anxious, scared child who grew up to be an anxious, scared adult. The source of much of my anxiety was dealing with social situations.

When you have social anxiety you can feel like you’re alone? Other people put on such brave faces you might wonder how they do it. You might assume that they have never experienced this before, but more people are anxious in social situations than you realize.

My natural tendency is to become a kind of recluse. I could stay in the house for days and see no one and be fine with that. That life is easy, and safe, and tempting to me, but it is too easy. With such ease comes unhappiness.

As human beings we need to be challenged. The pursuit of true happiness requires that we stretch and grow to push ourselves just a bit further than we ever have before. That need to grow and push myself is why I started trying to work my way past my social anxieties.

At first I simply tried to will myself to feel more at ease around people. I made goals to engage in more conversation, but that just made me feel stressed and sad. I was fighting my introverted nature too much. There is nothing wrong with being quiet, as long as that quiet doesn’t come from a place of shame.

I realized that I had to work on my confidence first. Being an introvert wasn’t really the problem. The problem was not feeling like I was good enough. Here are some ways you can build your confidence in life in general and help you rid yourself of social anxiety.

Accept who you are. We are all different. Some of us are extroverts and some are introverts. In our society, it seems as though being an extrovert is more desirable, but in reality both introverts and extroverts are necessary. One is not better than the other. They are simply different.

As an introvert you’re keeping company with the likes of Bill Gate, Albert Einstein, JK Rowling, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Audrey Hepburn and countless others. Being an introvert doesn’t mean you have a disadvantage in life. If you don’t have a lot to say in a conversation that’s fine. Most people really want to be listened too anyway, and you can be a very good listener.

Challenge yourself. Like I said before we need to learn and grow to be happy. Try new experiences. Learn about a new subject. Challenge your fears.

I was very much afraid of speaking in public so I decided to join a Toastmasters group. The first speech I made was terrifying, but it’s gotten easier with time. Now I feel much more confident about my ability to speak in front of others.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. Yes, sometimes we have good reasons to feel afraid, but social situations aren’t usually one of them. Putting myself in a situation where I was speaking in front of a group on a regular basis helped me tremendously. I can’t say that I’m no longer afraid of speaking in public, but I am a lot more comfortable with that nervous feeling that speaking in public gives me. I know it well and am able to ride it out.

Be mindful and present. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. A lot of the times anxiety consists of worrying about things that haven’t happened yet and may never happen. Pay attention to the moment and let the future happen. Being present in the moment will help you interact much more effectively with others.

Dress the part. Wearing clothes that make you feel good actually gives you a boost in confidence. Wear clothes that you really like. I used to have a closet of clothes I didn’t like. Then I realized that dressing differently naturally made me stand up a bit straighter and feel better about myself.

Visualize. When you’re feeling anxious about a social situation normally you sit about thinking about how it could go horribly wrong before the event. Stop that. Start doing just the opposite. Visualize how it could go incredibly well.

Realize you’re not the only one. There are lots of people who feel a bit anxious in social situations. I’m sure you’re not the only one in the room.

Lovelyn Bettison is an author and artist who helps people reclaim their dreams and conquer their fears. Go to her website to get your free copy of A Dreamer’s Manifesto and take the first step to living your dreams today.

11 Responses to 7 Tips to Get Rid of Social Anxiety

  1. Vision Shine says:

    Very nice suggestions to get rid of social fears. Thanks for sharing Lovelyn :)

  2. Lovelyn says:

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Vision Shine. I hope that my
    suggestions will help someone. I know how difficult it can be to
    struggle with social anxiety.

  3. bourjua says:

    “Being an introvert wasn’t really the problem. The problem was not feeling like I was good enough.” – I would strongly disagree with this one, I know that I’m better than most of those Chatty Cathies, it’s just I don’t know what to say, my brain simply shuts up and doesn’t produce any words. I would literally give a kidney for being chatty and gregarious, being able to small talk and keep the ball rolling during a conversation. It just doesn’t work and no one has been able to answer how to change that.

    If someone feels same way do get in touch, we might try to look for a solution together;)

  4. Lovelyn says:

    We all have different reasons for being introverts. The idea of thinking of ourselves as less than others or better than others can be damaging.

    When you are having difficulty in conversations are you living in the moment or are you living in your head? Sometimes I tend to be so concerned with what I might say next that I find myself not really paying attention to what is going on in the conversation. Are you relaxing and paying attention to the moment?

  5. Lovelyn says:

    Great point, Julia. That is hogwash. We are all beautifully imperfect humans.

  6. bourjua says:

    Oh, yes, I agree I was being a bit emotional, I should have said “I don’t feel that I’m not good enough at all”. I don’t really think that I’m better than others, it’s just that phrase is soo not about me.

    As to answer your question yes, I am present, but it has nothing to do with it. Sometimes you just need to start a conversation and you don’t need to be present or pay attention to something prior for this. It’s not that I have problems talking to people, but sometimes when it’s really necessary to say something a don’t know what to say.

  7. Lovelyn says:

    This is a subject that we tend to get emotional about. I understand. Writing can be difficult because without the ability to hear the inflection in your voice people can sometimes misunderstand what you’re trying to say.

    When you think about starting a conversation you need to think about what purpose conversation serves. It’s an exchange of ideas. It’s also a chance to build rapport with another person.

    In the beginning you are trying to initiate some sort of connection. That’s why small talk is important. Many people put small talk down, but it can be a way to establish connection. When starting a conversation you begin with commonalities. That’s why people will start out talking about the weather and traffic.

    Usually when you are in a situation where starting a conversation is going a bit awkwardly you’re probably dealing with someone who has some social difficulty also. Getting a conversation going will relieve of of the social awkwardness and unless the person is just having a really bad day they are probably hoping a conversation will get going too. So you both have a similar goal.

    Here’s a really simplistic example. Saying something like, “It’s beautiful day today, isn’t it?” The person might just give a yes or no answer but they might say more. If they only give a yes or no answer that’s fine. It doesn’t have to end the conversation. If they seem like they are open to conversation continue by saying something about what you would normally like to do on a day like this. For example, “This is great weather for camping.” Then if you have an interesting or funny camping story tell it. I find that the ability to tell a story about something that has happened to you helps open others up to sharing stories too. This is especially true if the story is humorous.

    This might sound odd, but it could be useful to look back at your life to see if you can come up with any funny or interesting things that have happened to you and figure out how those stories could fit into normal conversation.

    Showing genuine interest in others helps get conversations going. Be observant. Maybe someone is wearing an interesting tie you can ask them about.

    Asking questions is useful, but it shouldn’t be like an interrogation. Ask a question. Listen to the answer. Tell a story about yourself that relates to the person’s original answer. This should prompt an exchange. If things seem to be slowing down you might want to ask another question or you might want to move on to someone else.

    I think it’s important to not put too much pressure on yourself though.

  8. Jack says:

    Thank you this is very interesting reading.

    I totally understand your points about extroverts and that being
    the more desirable in society. That puts a lot of pressure on
    introverts. I have struggled with depression for many years and
    i believe social anxiety is one of the main reasons for my struggle.

    I like how you encourage ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ while
    not always.. This is realistic. It’s very easy to say ‘think positive’
    or ‘visualise’ without considering people who ARE trying to
    do that and have had many set backs or lack of confidence etc.
    So it’s nice to read a truthful and realistic blog.

    I have a video where i talk about a truth about depression, and
    why i believe lifting weights will help one day at a time.
    Please feel free to check it out.

    Thanks again,
    Jack Allan

  9. Abdalla Adam Abaker says:

    Thank you Lovelyn
    These words really meant alot to me , see I m 70 mindful and present but I do not accept my self from time to time I always try to challange my self but when I fail rotten ideas start to race around my head thus I stop trying at all , see I m 9 out of 10 people whom have this problem and this still holding me back since I was kid now Im 21 years of age , I feel as if I m no longer good enough in some parts of life I do not go to parties I do not hang out with people I wish them to be happy and fine but I feel I m not fine and the only way out for me is the poems I used to write and not often I share them with others
    but to be honest this artical brought me back to life so now it might be starting point of change

  10. Haláltapi says:

    Read the book titled “quiet the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”, that gives a good perspective on this subject.

  11. Jasmine Giddens says:

    I’ve looked on so many sites, and this was so encouraging! Your story was so relatable. Thanks for this!! :-) It really helped.

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