Everyone has times when they feel a little shy or aloof. They allow themselves to blend into the crowd to avoid too many social interactions. This is normal, and quite often, it’s a form of productive self-care. Such scenarios are not indicative of social anxiety. As the name implies, this disorder is highlighted by feelings of dread and fear when it comes to virtually any social situation.
Social anxiety can manifest in different ways for each person, but discomfort and panic are always there. There’s a fear of being watched, judged, or criticized. It can be enough to seriously hamper your everyday life.
Common Signs of Social Anxiety Disorder
The situation could range from giving a public presentation to making a phone call. Whether you’re on a first date or in the checkout line at the supermarket, these moments may cause you to experience physical symptoms like:
- Increased heart rate
- Tensing up your muscle
- Shaky voice
- Losing focus and concentration
As these reactions increase, it can lead to a person with social anxiety fearing that others can sense their distress. The cycle builds from there. Ultimately, it can lead to extreme avoidance of people, places, and scenarios that may trigger any of the above.
4 Ways to Overcome & Cope with Social Anxiety
1. Talk Back to It
Just because it tells you that you’re at risk doesn’t mean it’s true. Do some fact-checking. Are the people around judging you? They almost certainly are not. Therefore, remind yourself — right then and there — that this is anxiety-talking, and you are free to challenge it.
2. Take On Small Challenges
Start small. For example, you may avoid eye contact when asking for help in a store. Gradually allow yourself to try it. Be patient, but not too patient. Challenge yourself. The only thing to avoid is avoidance. You won’t experience the change you seek if you withdraw from any sense of risk.
3. Progress to More Exposure
As you ace the small challenges described in #2 above, you can start making a list of bigger steps. What scenarios inspire panic or worry? Keep that list in your journal and work your way up to the giant steps. It can start with one-on-one meet-ups with friends. From there, you and your friend can hang out in a larger group or in a setting like a concert or sporting event. The goal is to keep progressing and learning until, for example, you go on your own to a place that once felt off-limits.
Being anxious is exhausting. Fortify yourself for changes by safeguarding your health. Regular sleep patterns, healthy eating choices, and daily exercise, for example, can better position you for the work that lies ahead. They also remind you that you matter and deserve love/self-love.
Most Importantly, Ask For Help
Social anxiety has a built-in trap. When you fear embarrassment, you may feel too self-conscious to admit it to anyone. What if they judge you for fearing being judged? This is why so many folks with social anxiety start by connecting with a therapist. Inside the therapy room, you have the freedom to practice many of the skills and techniques that can help you recover.
You can start transferring these tools into your daily life. Confiding in trusted loved ones feels more doable. When the people in your life are recruited, it can be a much smoother path toward relief from social anxiety. They enable you to try out situations in which you feel protected and challenged at the same time. But again, the first step is finding a mental health professional who understands what’s going on.
Begin Working With An Anxiety Therapist in Columbus, OH
You don’t have to struggle with creating new relationships due to social anxiety. Our team of caring therapists. Our team of caring therapists can help you become more social from our Columbus, OH-based practice. You can start your therapy journey by following these simple steps:
- Get in touch with Blue Boat Counseling.
- Get connected with a caring therapist you can trust.
- Start improving your mental health!
OTHER SERVICES OFFERED AT BLUE BOAT COUNSELING
Anxiety therapy isn’t the only service our team of therapists offers. Blue Boat Counseling is happy to offer a variety of mental health services in support of your mental health. We are happy to offer mental health services including depression therapy, couples therapy, teen and family therapy, and veteran therapy. We also offer online therapy and in-person services as well. Learn more by visiting our blog today.