Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.
I think that a lot of us can relate to what has been said earlier, you know when you get that weird feeling in your stomach, you start shaking and you can't speak properly? No, you're not going to war, you're just meeting someone.
Social anxiety has made life really hard for some of us. The simplest interaction becomes an unbearable task, making it genuinely challenging to have any type of interaction with others, which will stop you from doing a lot of stuff, and hold you back from a lot of opportunities in life.
This post is full of practical, actionable steps to help you get rid of social anxiety for good.
1. Work on Building your confidence
Social anxiety is caused by the fear of being judged, or evaluated by others, which is closely related with a low level of self-confidence, because confident people don't need others approval to feel good about themselves. Think about it for a second, let's say you're the most confident person there is, and you're meeting someone. Can you imagine yourself being confident, but at the same time being anxious when meeting people? Probably not. These two don't mix up, that's why confidence is essential to crush social anxiety, and get it out of your system.
To do : Learn the basics of how to be confident
You might like 5 Ways To Master Your Confidence From Scratch
2. Control your nonverbal cues
If you're familiar with body language and nonverbal communication, then it won't surprise you that most of what you're saying comes from your body, not your words. When we are stressed, our body has an automatic response to that nervousness, which translates into fidgeting, lack of eye contact, unarticulated speech. All of that communicates tension to other people.
Instead, you want to control your body language so it communicates confidence and self-control.
To do : Use these tips to convey confidence, and start feeling in control
3. Practice interacting with people
As with everything else, this requires training and repetition. You have to go out and meet new people, find some place where you're exposed to a lot of people, this will help you practice the techniques mentioned earlier, and at the same time you'll learn to control your stress when reaching out to other people.
To do : Put yourself in a situation where that trigger anxiety, in order to learn managing it
4. Stop worrying about what other people think
Worrying too much about others' opinions about you will turn you into a constant worrier, always trying to seek approval from others, and the funny thing is that people are never satisfied, so whatever you do, there will always be someone who isn't happy with it. But guess what? Who cares? It's ok if someone judges you or rejects you, don't take it as a sign that you're not good enough, or that you're wrong in some way. Did you forget that other people are just as imperfect as you? they're human too, so give yourself some rest, and relax a bit, whatever anyone says about you, it remains an opinion, it's not who you are or who you should be.
To do : Stop considering others' opinions all the time
5. Don't change yourself to be accepted
The simplest thing to do in order to start being comfortable and at ease with others is simply stop trying to please them, just be yourself. This may sound evident, but in fact it's not that easy, and if you're struggling with social anxiety, then most likely you're not doing it. Being yourself mean making absolutely no effort at all to impress others, it means being completely comfortable with who you are, and letting go of trying to prove yourself.
To do : Show your true personality without changing it, be authentic
6. When feeling anxious, slow down
When you find yourself in a situation that triggers your anxiety, you'll feel like you're losing control on yourself, and you'll start breathing faster, shaking...etc. The moment you feel that stress is overwhelming, slow down, take deep breathes, and make sure that every move you make is slow, and that you have entire control over your body, talk slowly and articulate every word you say to make your speech as clear as possible.
The idea here is to do everything slower than usual; because anxiety tends to make us rush ourselves to the point where we don't know how to speak or move in a proper manner.
To do : Move and speak very slowly to control your anxiety
conclusion : Social anxiety is just in your head, our mind has it's own ways of exaggerating the smallest thing and turn them into catastrophes. Be patient, it will take time and practice but you'll get the grasp of it.
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