Friday, September 23, 2011

10 Potential Strategies to Cope with Social Anxiety

Okay, so this is pretty much the worst thing I've ever drawn. But you get my point!
  1. Try to play someone else. This doesn't mean you should be someone else entirely, but it's a way to relax yourself. Encourage traits of what you want to be like, because acting confident often appears genuine when you try to think of yourself as already having those traits.
  2. Do a warm-up exercise before leaving the house. This can be either by telling yourself positive things, or even by imagining how the event will go. If you do the latter, try not to think of what could go wrong.
  3. Imagine the other people are like your best friends, and try to act like how you do when you're around people you're already comfortable with. I used this one during an interview for college, and though I didn't get in and have no idea if it helped with my demeanor, I do know that it made me stress a whole lot less!
  4. If you feel like people are laughing at you, don't shrink. Just try to laugh it off too or move onto another subject. Even though it'll be hard, it'll let people know that you're not willing to put up with mockery.
  5. Try to be a "Yes Man". That's the only way it's going to become easier. After a certain amount of time, you'll start to realize how many opportunities have opened up for you, and you'll feel more comfortable with saying "yes" as time goes on.
  6. Realize that sometimes other people don't even notice some of the tiny things that you do.
  7. Try to think positive things in your head when you introduce someone. Positive thoughts show through in your facial expression and demeanor. 
  8. If someone points out your awkwardness or whatever it is, ignore them. I know what you're thinking, sounds easy but it's not. And I agree. But you shouldn't let someone have that much power over you, that they can ruin your entire day! It's one person's opinion, you'll meet plenty more in your life.
  9. Slowly build up your confidence by going out with a few trusted people. Try to meet one person at a time, so that you don't feel overwhelmed. You can even test the limits on your own by going out of your house in public. The first time, you can go just outside of your house, and then in later times you can slowly go farther and farther until you're able to even go to a totally new city! Then, of course, treat yourself because you deserve it. For me, doing most activities considered mundane by a lot of people make me panic if I'm in public, like eating, crocheting, taking photographs, buying things, etc. So make it your daily goal to take one small step a day, and you'll feel like you've run a marathon exhaustion-wise, but it'll be worth it.
  10. Don't be afraid to seek help. A lot of people confuse social phobia with shyness, and there are plenty more misconceptions that exist out there. If none of the things I've suggested above work, or if you're going through severe social anxiety (involving panic attacks, etc) then by all means, go to a counselor. Sometimes the things we deal with get the better of us, sometimes it's just all out of our control. But sometimes, you can do something about it.
These tips can work for people with varying degrees of anxiety, and depending on the situation. Or any issue, really. A lot of people have problems, that's just the way it is. The difference is that at times, you can do something about it.
<3 Linda

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