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Anxious During Social Interactions? Tips for Easing This Stress

Social anxiety can make even the most informal and basic of situations turn into severely challenging experiences. It can impact your ability to socialize with friends, go to the grocery store, have dinner at a restaurant, navigate your workplace, or form new relationships. 

While many outsiders advise “just get over it,” it requires a little more work than that. Despite feeling overwhelmed, it can be overcome, it just takes time, patience, and giving yourself grace.

How To Manage Social Anxiety

Identify What Triggers You

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Anxiety is different for each person, and how their symptoms present will also vary. While social anxiety is a blanket statement, what triggers each person and in what capacity is unique. Having an understanding of your own anxiety is a good starting point to managing it. 

Take notes or journal how you feel during specific social interactions or situations. Jot down what emotions surround a situation, who was involved, the context of the interaction, or any other information you feel could be helpful. 

Look for trends in your gathered notes. Understanding what triggers you and how you respond can help you manage better. 

Practice Deep Breathing Techniques

When anxiety starts to flare up, you may or may not notice that your breathing becomes affected. During periods when you’re stressed or anxious, it’s normal for breathing to become shallow and maybe a bit faster. 

Deep breathing techniques are a very productive way to stop some of your anxiety in its place. All you need to do is close your eyes and focus on your breathing for a few moments. Try to control the pace and take in deeper breaths. 

Challenge Negative Thought Patterns

When you have social anxiety, it’s easy to get down the habit hole of negative thinking and beliefs. Historically, your social situations have probably not gone perfectly according to plan. You misspoke, stuttered during a speech, said something offensive, came off a certain way, or maybe it was something embarrassing gone wrong, like tripping, laughing inappropriately, or sweating. 

Once that happens, those negatively associated thoughts get stuck in your head. Next time you start feeling stressed or anxious, try replacing the negative thoughts with something more positive and possibly more realistic. 

Odds are, in previous situations, your audience didn’t notice the issues nearly as much as you did. Ask yourself questions to help return your racing mind to reality. Why are you nervous? What’s the worst thing that could happen? How would you respond if someone you know made the same “mistake?” What would you tell someone else who shares your worry?

Expose Yourself to Social Situations

Social anxiety has a nasty habit of pushing you into avoidance of social interactions or situations. Unfortunately, this can result in you missing out on many great things. 

Rather than avoid it, face your fears. This can be done in baby steps to allow you to ease in and lower anxiety bits at a time. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations, starting with people you trust and can confide in. Work your way up to more challenging situations with larger groups as you conquer the previous step. 

By doing so, you can regain some control and learn that other people share this fear. 

Seek Professional Help

Social anxiety often gets a bad rap for just being shy, nervous about new people, or the person being dramatic. Social anxiety is a legitimate mental health condition and may require professional treatment to overcome. 

Therapy can offer additional insight into the source of the anxiety, teach healthy coping mechanisms, and guide how to navigate challenging situations. 

Are you struggling with social anxiety? Contact us to schedule an appointment today for anxiety therapy.

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Man in Gray Long Sleeve Shirt Sitting on Brown Wooden Chair

Anxious During Social Interactions? Tips for Easing This Stress

Social anxiety can make even the most informal and basic of situations turn into severely challenging experiences. It can impact your ability to socialize with friends, go to the grocery store, have dinner at a restaurant, navigate your workplace, or form new relationships.

Are you worried you might be suffering from anxiety?

Take our free online Anxiety Questionnaire

This easy-to-use self-administered questionnaire is used as a screening tool and severity measure for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).