Tips On Coping With Social Anxiety
Coping with social anxiety is a common area of concern for thousands of people – especially the younger population – in Australia. Social anxiety is also referred to as social phobia and is experienced by approximately 11% of the Australian population during their lifetime. This data also shows that women are more likely to experience a social anxiety disorder, compared to men.
Given its prevalence, there is a keen focus on finding effective strategies for coping with social anxiety that work for each individual.
In this post, we examine a few strategies that could prove useful in alleviating some of your symptoms and distress. If you need further support coping with social anxiety, reach out to qualified mental health professionals, who are available via our telehealth services.
Deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness
For years, deep breathing has been hailed as a simple yet effective way of calming down some of the physical sensations of social anxiety, especially a racing heart. It also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, and lowers your blood pressure.
For more long term strategies, you should also consider meditation and mindfulness as a way of helping you control your reaction to stress-inducing stimuli. Mindfulness, in particular, grounds you and helps you focus on your immediate physical surroundings and not on the negative thoughts that may be swirling around in your head.
Among the many strategies for coping with social anxiety, connecting more meaningfully with your loved ones and sharing your experiences with them is something that can benefit you immensely. There’s no need for you to suffer alone.
By being open about your social anxiety, you don’t have to deal with the scary or unpleasant parts of your condition by yourself. It will also help your loved ones show up for you in ways that are meaningful and that make a difference.
Community support also increases your sense of belonging, making your experiences less isolating and overwhelming over time.
Try and reduce overthinking or negative thinking
The first thing to remember, in this process, is that you should not see yourself or your condition as a problem or failure. Plenty of people experience social anxiety and it is not a sign of weakness on your part.
By reducing or controlling negative thoughts, you’re able to better manage your symptoms and alleviate some of the discomfort you may be feeling. Overcoming these thoughts will also boost your confidence and help you deal with social interactions with less stress.
What’s important to keep in mind is that you are not a mind reader or responsible for other people’s reactions. What often happens is that we assume what other people are thinking – usually in a way that casts ourselves in a negative light.
Other people’s emotions, reactions and feelings, for the most part, are not your responsibility. Just focus on being kind and patient with yourself!
Try facing your fears, one step at a time
Facing your fears needs to be a part of any strategy you come up with for coping with social anxiety. This is because the only way you can overcome your fear is through gradual and careful exposure.
Don’t push yourself beyond the limit by doing something that makes you very comfortable – giving a speech in public, for instance. Start small, like having a meal by yourself, and then gradually do more things that help you combat some of your fears.
Seek professional help if you need support
In coping with social anxiety, it’s important to be honest with yourself. If you need the support of a therapist, reach out to a professional who can help you.
If you’re finding it difficult to leave your home, you can even access counselling through telehealth services. This means that you can consult mental health professionals via Skype, FaceTime or other video calling platforms.
Make coping with social anxiety easier and more effective
While it’s not easy to deal with the distress associated with social anxiety, there’s no need for you to suffer alone or fail to experience any form of relief.