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Tips to Overcome Social Anxiety

By Katie Schultz

June 30, 2015 - 12:12 AM

Social anxiety is a mental disorder that affects nearly 15 million people in the US. It is defined by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America as the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations. Social anxiety can be disruptive enough in some cases to impact a person's daily life. It can effect work, personal relationships, and school.

It can be extremely difficult to branch out and not avoid certain social activities. However, sometimes it must be done in order to overcome the anxiety.

Here are several tips that might be able to ease the anxiety felt during social situations:

Do breathing exercises. Breathing techniques are practiced to calm nerves and relax the body and mind. Right before or during moments of anxiety try breathing exercises. Take a long, slow breath through the nostrils, hold and count to three. Exhale slowly through the mouth. Another exercise is to place one hand on the chest and another on the stomach. Take a deep breath through the nostrils that fills the diaphragm and then pushes air up to the lungs. Exhale slowly. Try for at least 6 per minute.

Challenge your negative thoughts. Its automatic for individuals with social anxiety to think the worst case scenario. It is difficult to rationalize even though the sufferer understands their fears might be irrational. Retrain your brain to think positively by inserting logic into your thought patterns in a time of anxiety. Say, "I can do this, it's only for a few minutes, I prepared." before a speech.

Face your fears. Many people with social anxiety avoid situations where they feel anxious. However, the anxiety is usually amplified the next time that person is in a social situation because they are not learning to control it. It's important to begin facing little situations and then gradually facing the situations that cause the most anxiety.

Seek help. Sometimes its too difficult to manage anxiety on one's own. For social anxiety, taking a social skills class might help a person suffering from this disorder to learn how to interact in social settings and allow a level of comfort for real-life situations.

Getting a therapist might be beneficial as well.

Know you are not alone. Its easy to feel utterly alone while suffering anxiety attacks. It is common that those suffering from social anxiety will not tell someone that they are anxious and fearful. Tell a trusted friend, or create a support group for yourself. Remembering that social anxiety is common might help some people feel less alone in their daily struggle.

Social anxiety is not easy to overcome, but it can be done. There might be setbacks along the way, however, trying to better oneself is worth the struggle it takes.
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1) Re: Tips to Overcome Social Anxiety
Written by phred on June 30, 2015, 09:32:03 PM

      Another activity that can improve one's social skills is to take a good paying job that requires public speaking, professional dinners to attend,
      conducting workshops, etc.   Necessity truly can be the mother of invention, including skill improvement.

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