Have you ever found that when you are picked on to answer a question in front of a group of people your heart rate immediately goes up, or when you walk into a party you immediately feel that sense of nerves or when someone tells you that you might have to give a speech or an announcement then you are suddenly overwhelmed with fear?
If this is the case with you then you are a person with social anxiety. It also means that you are a human being. The problem with the culture that we live in is that we are so quick to put labels on people for what they are.
As soon as you give that person a label of having social anxiety disorder or social phobia, immediately they start to wear that as a badge, it becomes who they are and an excuse for everything that they do from that point on.
This is very dangerous because many of us grow up anxious in social situations and tried at least once to avoid social situations because we didn’t want to embarrass ourselves. Whether it was approaching a girl that we liked, going to a party or giving a speech, we avoided situations proactively and that doesn’t mean that this is a clear sign of social anxiety disorder.
Now I am not saying that social anxiety disorder in the extreme sense doesn’t exists but I think so many of us are so busy identifying with the problem that we lose sight of the human element of it. Actually many of the symptoms of something like this are things that we all feel, they connect all of us and there are ways to deal with it.
There are many things that can affect how anxious we feel and here are three of them that are really going to help you:
1. Get familiar with social environments
For example, go to the same bar several times in the next couple of weeks. What will happen is that you probably get to know the bartender, he gets to know you by name perhaps, you get to know the regular faces that enter in that bar, you know where the restrooms are, you know at what time is starting to get busy and so on.
Basically you get familiar with that environment and that doesn’t just applies just to bars but it also applies to the coffee shop that you go to every morning as well. You will find out that you start to feel more comfortable the more you go to the same place.
When you go to a new environment it can be like the jungle and even that is it safe and you know it is safe it still feels like you just find yourself in the middle of the wildness and you don’t know what to do.
This technique also works great for situations. If public speaking is your fear, get familiar with public speaking by doing it as much as you can. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in front of two people or two hundred people.
2. Start small
First of all start doing it but don’t exaggerate because you will feel overwhelmed and don’t want to continue anymore. For example if you find yourself at a party, just start small by saying a simple hello to someone, you can talk to the person that is next to you.
It might be the doorman, the bartender and it doesn’t matter if they are male, female,their age, what your intentions are because right now your intention is not to get a date, not to go out and make the best friend you ever made or develop a new social circle.
Your intention should be simply to get comfortable with that environment. If you can focus on taking one individual at a time, you can see them for who they are and the worst trait of social anxiety is that actually makes us more judgmental.
It turns us into the person that we don’t want to be, in fact it turns us into the people we fear, the ones who judge the most. When we are in a fearful state that is when we start judging other people.
3. Be generous with your energy
Very often social anxiety is a particular kind of self-indulgent because you will have to walk into a situation thinking that everyone is thinking about you, worried about what everyone thinks of you whether you could possibly be liked by everyone.
It’s all very “me-centric” and it’s “all about me”. Instead get generous with your energy and be like: “I am going into this room to see how I can make other people feel, can I make them feel happy or say to them that the outfit that they put tonight is a great choice”. Rather than going and try to get something, go and try to give something.
Get generous because as soon as you get generous you focus outside of yourself instead of being in your own head the whole time.
So there it is, three quick tips for overcoming social anxiety. Get familiar with the environment or your situation, start small and get generous with your energy. If you combine these three tips with avoiding the trap of identifying with social anxiety instead of identifying with being a human being who obviously gets naturally nervous in certain environments and just has to overcome it.
If you can do that you gradually start to overcome social anxiety and you will start to realize that this is not the way you have to be for the rest of your life.
Anxiety and panic attacks are not something you have to manage all your life but can end today! Here is a real solution to your high anxiety and panic attacks.