It used to be that most people would know their neighbors and invite each other over to their homes once in a while. This trust and openness, however, began declining around the turn of the millennium around the time of smart gadgets and social media proliferation.
Fast forward to today, and it’s unusual to see someone who is not preoccupied with their electronics in some way, shape, or form. As you can guess, this has caused a lot of unnecessary distractions that have negatively impacted so many people’s lives around the world.
One obvious effect of this is social anxiety, which is described by overwhelming tension and extreme hesitance in ordinary social circumstances. People with social anxiety problems have an irrational and constant fear of being judged by others with regards to their own activities. This fear can become so severe to the point where it interferes with their work, school, or other daily activities. Unsurprisingly, people with social anxiety also tend to have low self-confidence.
Social anxiety problems can involve a specific circumstance such as a fear of public speaking or a more general fear of being around others. What’s often overlooked is that these issues often run in the family although one’s environment plays a role as well. Social anxiety, when left untreated, can result in devastating consequences such as creating a dependence on heavy drinking or turning to drugs.
Coping With and Overcoming Social Anxiety
A simple yet powerful tool that you can use is your breath.
Yes, your breath.
Focusing on your breath will allow you the opportunity to bring yourself back to the present moment and make you more aware of your thoughts and feelings. There’s a good chance that some of your beliefs do not perfectly match reality, so it might be a good idea to reevaluate them.
2. Confront Your Fears
It’s easier to sweep aside your problems than to face them head-on, but this would be a huge mistake.
Avoiding uncomfortable circumstances may seem like a good idea, but doing so can seriously restrict your life in the long haul. This is because you will be carrying the thought of ‘what if’ around with you for the rest of your life, whereas taking action will free you from the burden’s invisible weight. In other words, the longer you let the problem linger, the worse it will become.
But fear not, dear sleepy reader. There’s a hero inside waiting for you to tap into. All you need is to muster up the courage and take that first step.
3. Inform Others of Your Anxiety
People typically do not know if you need their help or not unless you’ve asked for it explicitly. This could include your friends and family, so the only way to be sure is to inform them yourself.
Look for a place with minimal distractions and be open about your thoughts and feelings. Keep in mind that there’s no shame in asking for help, and the sooner you do it, the better.
4. Go Outside
You need to stop staying indoors all the time, no matter how anxious you feel about going outside.
So allocate some time to enjoy the outdoors, take in the sights and sounds, and reconnect with nature. This will allow you to see what you’ve been missing, especially if you live in a big city. Keep in mind that your focus is on yourself and your surroundings instead of other people. This doesn’t mean that you cannot or should not interact with people as long as you feel comfortable – or even a little scared – in doing so.
5. Be Kinder to Yourself
Maybe you’ve asked yourself why you’re not as perfect as that person you saw on your social media feed. Or maybe you’ve wondered why you don’t have a lot of friends or fancy clothing. Repeated exposure to such things can lead to a sense of inadequacy or even resentment.
The truth is that you are only seeing what others want you to see. No one’s perfect, no matter what you might otherwise think. This is true even for the most privileged.
So why not be kinder on yourself once in a while?
You’ll be glad that you did.
The Only Thing to Fear is Fear Itself
Overcoming social anxiety is a long and challenging road that takes deliberate effort to overcome. It’s thus very important that you take immediate action or risk the problem becoming increasingly debilitating. You must also build up the courage to seek out whatever help is available instead of tackling the issue alone.
There is always light at the end of the tunnel as long as you believe and take the necessary steps.