Do you feel a lump in the throat when addressing to a group of people?
Do you feel nervous when you have to go to a social gathering and often go blank?
Does it seem a pain in the neck to attend a party?
It’s high time you overcome that social anxiety. It is very much essential for the progress in your personal and professional lives. You should completely focus on self-help for betterment.
Even the most impossible things were achieved by the mankind. Practicing social interactions is also an achievable factor to combat social anxiety. We are humans and we need to interact with one another of our kind and it is a fact of life.
If something is stopping your progress and is the cause of your stress, you must try to snap out of it. Some of the situations that trigger anxiety are meeting new people, giving a presentation in a meeting, being watched when doing something, eating in public, expressing opinions in a crowd, fear of being judged etc.
In such situations, people experience rapid heartbeat, muscle twitching, sweating etc. You need to help yourself first in such situations. If self-help isn’t working then you should seek professional help.
I have listed 7 steps to overcome the social anxiety. 7 self-help tips that I can provide you are:
1. List the things that are making you anxious while socializing:
If you are unable to socialize, it means you might have a higher chance of having low self-esteem. Confidence should be built from within you, it never comes from outside.
Knowing yourself is the first step. Take a paper and note down the things you think are the causes of your low confidence. It might be a simplest of simple things from your English speaking skills to your lifestyle. Start working on them, it will give you an instant boost to your confidence.
Many a times there won’t be any reason except that YOU are stopping yourself with some lame excuses. I am not saying to change yourself into something you re not but to improve yourself and your personality. Embrace yourself as who you are and improve. There is always a room for improvement.
2. Maintain eye contact even if you are not confident:
When you are nervous, it is difficult to maintain an eye contact with the other person. That depicts your low self-esteem and your social anxiety and gives the other person a chance to dominate over you (unless he is a nice person) and it will only make it worse. So, practice making an eye contact. You will feel nervous at first. The second time, you may feel awkward; by the third time, you may feel OK, and finally, after practicing it a couple of times, you will definitely feel better as you would be accustomed to eye contact maintenance.
3. Smile even if you are nervous:
When you are in an unfamiliar environment which you are not comfortable with, it is normal to feel nervous and sweaty. A smile is more than enough to shoo away that non familiar environment and the nervousness that it caused.
Smiling relaxes your facial muscles and eases the tension. It also creates a friendly environment around you. Smile brings positive vibes from within and is contagious. Positivity from your smile will pass on to your onlookers.
4. Erase your negative thoughts:
You tend to think negatively in a non familiar environment. Divert all your thoughts to the positive side of the situation.
For example, you are at a social gathering and you know no one in there, all new faces. The thought of talking to a complete stranger makes you nervous and you just want to flee. Negative thoughts like “what if they are not interested, what if I talk something stupid and they mock me, I don’t want to humiliate myself and act like a clown etc.”, all these can come into your mind. Don’t let those thoughts distract you. Be positive and go ahead to making acquaintances. Who knows they make turn into your next best friend!!
Every person has certain fears in life. When you push yourself towards your fears, you will definitely shape yourself better than what you are today. We all must face our fears at some point in our life, why not do it at this moment!!
5. Push yourself towards your fears:
Every person has certain fears in life. If not the social gathering, it could be anything else. When you push yourself towards your fears, you will definitely make yourself better than what you were yesterday. We all must face our fears at some point or the other in life, why not do it at our own will, right away?
6. Magic mirror therapy:
Sit or stand in front of a mirror and talk to yourself in a very confident, clear and loud tone. In addition to that, appreciate yourself, talk positively about yourself, self practice how you should talk and behave in a social gathering and when you are doing this, look directly into your eyes in the reflection on the mirror. This is a very effective technique to bombard your confidence and also helps you to practice maintaining eye contacts during a conversation.
7. You make the first move to introduce yourself:
You need not involve yourself in lengthy conversations until you feel comfortable but say Hi to everyone you meet and move on. That’s the initiation from your side. Don’t just attend a gathering and be a cold fish. Build that confidence within yourself and start your move. You never know, your next best buddy would be somewhere out there and you may find them only by interacting.
(You could also read my post on Toolkit to improve your attitude.)
If you practice all the above seven steps consistently you’ll get the nerve to make a move from your side and begin an interaction and fight against the social anxiety you possess in your mind.
It is noteworthy to conclude saying that,
I hope all these techniques will be helpful for you. It is only a matter of time before you overcome your social anxiety disorder. Don’t forget the age old saying “Practice makes man perfect”. Don’t just pull the plug if you don’t seem to succeed in your very first attempt. Everything needs some time to adjust.
If you have tried all the self-help techniques above and none of them really helped, you might furthermore need to consult a professional.
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