Help In Overcoming Social Anxiety

“Hello all- I’ve got a problem with social anxiety; I get very tense when speaking with damn near anyone, stranger, friends and even my family… Occasionally, though, I’m able to completely relax and be really quite sociable, although not consciously… I also do some door to door sales, and it really hurts my ability to sell when I’m completely tense and forced, obviously. It seems the main point in most every article or piece of advice is to “just get out there”. But I’ve done this, and done this, and done this. It doesn’t matter how many doors I knock, how many parties I go to, how many times I visit w/ my family, it’s always the same. And I’m tired of it…”

Does this sound like you – or ring a bell? This person – who recently wrote this, asking for help in a blog, is describing a very common problem all over the world – overcoming social anxiety. Social anxiety is not simply shyness – but more like fear, but not exactly fear. Fear is when you know exactly what you are afraid of. Anxiety is what you feel when there may be a threat. Social anxiety is when you are anxious and not comfortable around people because of the threat of what might happen.

Just thinking about these social situations can make someone become frightened and anxious if they are dealing with overcoming social anxiety. They will then go out-of-the-way to avoid these situations, even at great cost.

With social anxiety, there is an underlying fear of being judged, becoming a public embarrassment and being scrutinized. You may have fear of what people will think of you and that, in comparison with other people, you will not measure up. You may feel you will be laughed at for making some social mistake or not responding in just the right way.

A lot of people who suffer from shyness and social anxiety are extremely self-conscious and are very self-critical. This also stems from irrational thinking. You have the choice to change your thinking if you choose to. Logically you know that these negative thoughts are not true, so don’t buy into them.

Social Anxiety is largely about feeling “overwhelmed.” The feeling of being overwhelmed is what pushes people into limiting their life to a greater and greater extent, until they find themselves living in a very small world indeed. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Understanding that your Social Anxiety is REALLY about feeling overwhelmed can help you to gradually begin making changes to eliminate it.

What steps can be taken in overcoming social anxiety? There are many approaches – but some of the most empowering lie within you. Here are a few common-sense approaches that you may find really are the key to your success:

Take tense situations in small doses. When you approach a situation that you know will make you feel tense and anxious, depending on how long you can handle it, start out by only staying in the situation for a short time. The timeframe is up to you – whether it be for only 1 minute – or 15 minutes. Deliberately approach anxious situations knowing that you will only be there for your allotted time (set by you, of course).Then – slowly increase the time to 5 and 25 minutes (or whatever works). Don’t push it! It may take months and months to do this, but it doesn’t matter. Take all the time you need. Remember this phrase, “Nothing succeeds like success.” This means that success builds momentum and leads to greater success. This is particularly true with overcoming social anxiety. It is very important that you continue to have good social interaction that does not overwhelm you. It does NOT matter how long the interaction is; all that matters is that you get through it without any strong negative feelings. DO NOT push yourself too hard. You don’t have to!

There are many other tips and approaches, but these are a nice beginning – and may actually solve your problem! As long as you realize that it is not hopeless, that you are responsible to change yourself, you can be a victor in overcoming social anxiety. Don’t forget to affirm yourself along the way!

Set yourself up for positive interactions. We started this article out with an example of person who did try to “get out there” and found it really hard. So… when facing long events such as family reunions, holidays, going to people’s homes etc., you may want to assess the situation ahead of time – and determine how much time you’ll spend there – and with whom. The goal is that you set yourself up for positive (short) interactions with individuals (at first), not large groups. At large group meetings – try to find individuals to link up with – not address the whole group at once. By repeated positive interactions over a long period of time, you will enjoy your social interactions more, and find yourself overcoming social anxiety little by little.

Step out of your comfort zone. Now this does not mean that you have to do anything drastic. Start to become willing to accept change. You must be willing to change your thoughts and behaviors if you want to be rid of this problem. This way you are limiting your anxiety – instead of letting your anxiety limit you. You can start stepping outside of your comfort zone by doing little things. Try to see if you can break a ritual you have. We all have some kind of daily routine that we have. If you park in a certain parking space every day, try parking somewhere different. Try speaking to people in a line at the store – or at a park, dry cleaners, hair dresser, etc.

Reward yourself!When you do something difficult, such as making a telephone call or going to a meeting, immediately reward yourself. Setting up a reward system can really motivate you and keep you on track (Starbuck’s coffee, going out to lunch, etc. – fill in the blank).

Be prepared physically – before approaching difficult situations. In other words, don’t smoke, drink, use caffeine, and do get enough sleep and exercise routinely. Make sure that you check with you doctor to find out if you have a physical problem (such as hypothyroidism, or diabetes) that may affect your sugar level, or metabolism – which can lead to generalized and social anxiety.

Don’t anticipate trouble. What if this happened? What if that happened? The more you think about something, the more you will attract it. It is time to stop focusing on all the things you don’t want to happen, as this will not help you overcome social anxiety.

Have a positive mental picture. From now on, start focusing on what you DO want to happen. Write down how you imagine your life without social anxiety. Get it down on paper to turn it into a goal, rather than a mere fantasy floating around in your head.

Do something completely unexpected. Whenever you feel yourself slipping back into that horrible feeling of being anxious, do something you might consider crazy (or not “you” at all). This may startle you out of your negative thought pattern into thinking happier, more positive thoughts. Make it a “win-win situation. In other words, instead of rehearsing over and over what went wrong, make it a learning situation – to help your success in the future. Allow yourself to make “mistakes”. We all do. Just get back up, learn from them – and keep moving on…

Join a therapeutic support group with people who also have difficulty in overcoming social anxiety.This setting allows you to open up about your fears and learn effective social skills to help in everyday life. However, for some this can seem counterintuitive as group settings are a trigger for social anxiety, and may be too challenging for someone just setting out to overcome their social anxiety with the standard approaches.

There are many other tips and approaches, but these are a nice beginning – and may actually solve your problem! As long as you realize that it is not hopeless, that you are responsible to change yourself, you can be a victor in overcoming social anxiety. Don’t forget to affirm yourself along the way!

 

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/5456845


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