Social anxiety is a disorder that refers specifically to intense and sometimes debilitating anxiety in social situations. A person with social anxiety disorder might fear being embarrassed in front of others while speaking publicly or not measuring up to perceived expectations when they meet someone new. This fear can prevent one from engaging in social situations, and result in avoiding public speaking or meeting new people.
Unlike shyness, social anxiety affects your everyday life, and can interfere with your career or relationships. The good news is that there are effective ways to overcome social anxiety and live a more fulfilling life.
Here are 3 tips for overcoming social anxiety to get you started.
- Speak with a therapist.
Talking to a therapist that specializes in treating anxiety disorders can help you understand your symptoms of social anxiety. While practicing self-help (like reading this blog, for example) can be useful, only a therapist will be able to coach you on clinically-proven coping techniques that will get you on the road to living a more fulfilling life.
- Create measurable goals.
When you struggle with social anxiety disorder, the opinion of others can feel overwhelming. It’s important to remember that you cannot control what other people feel or how they react. What you can do is practice personal, measurable goals for being social. For example, at your next work meeting, you can set a goal to share three ideas. If you attend a networking event, set a goal to introduce yourself to five people. Focus on achieving your goal, and not on the response you receive. What’s important is that you made an effort to open-up and interact.
- Remember to practice rational judgment.
The fear of failure or embarrassment can be difficult to overcome. One way to quell your fears is to recognize moments of success. It may be easy to think or believe, “I am terrible at public speaking.” The reality may be that you’ve successfully spoken in public several times. Remember to practice rational judgment. While you may feel like failure or embarrassment is inevitable, your past experiences might convince you otherwise.
Read more about anxiety:
How anxiety disorders affect your brain
Anxiety doesn’t just affect your mental health; it also affects your physical health.
Like all anxiety disorders, social anxiety can be treated with therapy and, if necessary, medication. Our counselors specialize in treating anxiety disorders. You can start by learning about anxiety in our FREE Anxiety eBook. If you are struggling with symptoms of anxiety, make an appointment at one of our counseling centers in Kissimmee, St. Cloud, or Longwood, Florida. We also have counseling centers in Memphis and Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Consider changing your life with counseling. We’ll help you find a way.