Whether it’s a big gathering at your in-laws’, an open house in your new neighborhood, or an office party, you probably feel out-of-sync in a variety of social situations. Maybe you are afraid of speaking in a group or meeting new people, too. If you do, then you probably suffer from social anxiety disorder.
For some, social anxiety may be more severe. They might avoid going to school because it requires interacting with new people or passing a public speaking course. They might want to have a relationship but worry about rejection, which is why they simply avoid potential partners.
Here are some ways to overcome social anxiety if you are dealing with these problems:
Focus Your Attention “Outward”
According to research, people suffering from social anxiety have worse recall for external environmental details because they focus on their feelings. In other words, they look inward instead of outward.
Here’s a tip: when in social settings, try to make a mental note of three aspects of the situation you’re in. For instance, take note of what clothes other people are wearing, what the color of the furniture is, and what subjects the pictures on the walls are depicting. This might seem strange, but it will get you used to focusing away from yourself.
Read self-help manuals. They are good tools for working on your own, but they are primarily designed to supplement therapy.
If you haven’t had much success with self-help and have the resources, try working with a therapist. They might recommend a group counseling session, where you can meet other people who struggle with similar issues. It’s worth a try.
Try Putting Yourself in Social Situations
Imagine living in a house for 50 years. In that house, there’s this one room you always avoid. When you finally venture open the door to that mysterious room, you might feel anxious and tense. This is because the more you avoid something, the more you tell yourself, “I’m avoiding this because it’s dangerous.” Your mind builds up the fear by making you avoid it even more.
So, start seeking social situations. This will tell your unconscious mind, “This is actually normal.”
Overcoming the anxiety is much like rubbing the rust off a very special ornament. It may take a while, but soon, the real beauty will show and things will become what they were supposed to be all along. Don’t give up.