Social anxiety can leave us feeling drained and overwhelmed. We may feel uncomfortable at the thought of going out in public and potentially socializing. Casual social interactions can leave you feeling light headed or that your heart is pounding out of your chest. It may be that you are afraid of criticism or judgment. Therefore, you expel criticism and judgment on yourself on a regular basis.
Having social anxiety can affect our lives in many ways. It may be difficult to ask your boss about taking some time off, as you are nervous to talk to them. When you go to order coffee, you practice your order so many times in your head, just to fumble up your words when you speak.
Although we can tend to be hard on ourselves for having social anxiety, there is no need to. It can be frustrating to struggle with social anxiety. You feel like you don’t have a way out, like you may not recover from this nervousness.
Making and maintaining friendships can be difficult if you are suffering from social anxiety. Planning to meet up with people can leave you feeling like you are dreading going out to see them. You want to feel excited and at peace with seeing your friends, however it feels incredibly stressful and nerve wracking! Even for going on dates with potential partners, you may feel too overwhelmed and cancel at the last minute.
From planned meet ups to taking a casual stroll in the park, you struggle to feel comfortable and secure in social situations. You’re now looking for ways to manage your social anxiety as you want to be a little more extroverted. The pandemic did not help you much, as businesses were closed and people were quarantining. With the boom of California reopening, you know that now is the time to develop those coping skills!
Anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, can help you understand where your social anxiety comes from. CBT therapy is a great type of therapy to start!
3 Ways to Manage Social Anxiety: Challenge negative self-talk
We all have that annoying inner dialogue that spews negativity and hatred at us all day. It can be hard to acknowledge as it may feel so natural to do so. You may go out in public, immediately worrying about your appearance due to your negative self talk telling you that you should.
That can look like your inner dialogue saying, “Ugh, I can’t believe you chose this outfit, you look so stupid compared to everyone else!” Our negative inner dialogues can be very harsh, and feel very real. We may believe in them each time, feeling shameful of ourselves.
It’s important that you are able to challenge that negative self-talk in your mind. It isn’t always easy in the beginning, but once you begin to challenge yourself, you’ll notice that there has been an advocate inside of you all along.
Negative self-talk leaves us feeling worried about every little thing in a social interaction. Maybe we are worrying that we said the wrong thing or might offend someone, or they might not understand our joke. You may be cautious to watch out as to not embarrass yourself, by being hyper focused on carrying things or watching your every step.
You have the power to learn how to be the boss over your anxiety as well as conquering your negative self talk. We tend to focus too heavily on the negative “what if” situations. Such as “what if I look like a fool?” or “what if I am clumsy in front of others?”. Learn to turn them into positive what ifs, such as “what if I end up having a good time?” or “what if I end up meeting someone with similar interests as mine?”.
By challenging your negative self-talk, you are rewriting the narrative in your mind. It’s easy to believe the negative voice pestering us all day, especially if a positive voice is not always present. Take some time to stand up for yourself and contradict the negative thoughts in your mind. Click here to read about what to do when you feel overwhelmed.
Anxiety therapy with an anxiety therapist in Simi Valley, Ca, can help you efficiently challenge your negative self-talk, eventually rewiring it to be positive!
3 Ways to Manage Social Anxiety: Be aware of your body
When we start to feel nervous, we may start to have an increased heart rate, breathing, or fidget with our hands. This can be a sign that we are starting to get nervous. We may look around the room, start to feel overwhelmed and dizzy, or more.
In these cases, be aware of your body and what it is telling you. It’s okay to take breaks from social situations to take some time to recuperate. Practicing grounding techniques or other coping mechanisms can help calm you down faster in the moment. An example of a grounding technique would be the 5,4,3,2,1 method, which can be very helpful in times of anxious stress.
You can also remove yourself from the social situation to breathe and separate yourself for a moment. By taking a walk away, you can calm yourself down, think more rationally, and take your time to breathe and get in the right headspace.
Practicing noticing these signs and identifying solutions is great for being able to utilize them in future situations. Make note of what symptoms you notice when your social anxiety starts to kick in. When you do go out in social situations, analyze where you are and make a plan for when you need to take a walk or have some alone time. Click here to read about the first steps to take when seeking therapy for anxiety.
Anxiety therapy for social anxiety in Simi Valley, Ca, provides you with the coping mechanisms and strategies needed to self regulate your nervousness.
3 Ways to Manage Social Anxiety: Practice makes perfect
Although a nerve wracking idea, a great way to work to overcome your social anxiety could be through exposing yourself to the world. It feels easier to not engage and let life flow as normal, however it’s always healthy to challenge yourself and seek outside your comfort zone.
This doesn’t have to mean fully forcing yourself to go out and speak to every single person at a bar, but just about making some baby steps to overcome some fears. During this process, remember to be gentle and forgiving with yourself if things do not go to plan. Don’t push yourself to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable, but give yourself room to try out new things.
Maybe you feel your face flush red when you raise your hand in class to answer or ask a question. Try asking small questions or making comments here and there during class. Or, you can consider staying after class to ask your professor those questions or comments.
When you are at work, you know that you tend to get shy and not engage in conversation with coworkers. Push yourself to compliment someone’s performance or something about them, such as, “I like your shirt design”. Something small, where you don’t need to stand there and strike up a conversation about it.
Perhaps during your lunch breaks you order food online and have it delivered contact free to your home. You could take a little extra time to go order in person and maybe even eat it at the restaurant.
Do things in baby steps and with understanding. Be proud of the progress you make and look forward to the future progress that is yet to come. Social anxiety can leave us feeling like a hermit crab who refuses to budge from their shell. It can be intimidating to interact in social interactions that we are not all too familiar with.
In the end, you have the power to create real change in your life to manage your social anxiety efficiently. Click here to read about how to love yourself and how to be nice to yourself through it all!
Anxiety therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, provides you with a support system for working through your anxiety!
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