Social-Anxiety is an overwhelming and long-term fear of different social situations. It an have a truly enormous impact on how you live your day to day life, on your relationships with others, on your self-confidence, in both your work & social life and more. For something that can have have such a large effect on your life, can you safely say that you know any ways to help counter it? That’s what we’ll be looking at in today’s blog!
Hello and Welcome to Sweeney’s Blogs!
With everything that is currently going on in the world, due to the Coronavirus and differing restrictions, the thought of getting back into social situations, post-lockdown, can be quite a worrying thought. Today’s blog is a guest blog, written by Patrick Bailey, which takes a look at the topic of social-anxiety and helps provide some different suggestions to help you counter it’s impact on your life, we hope you enjoy!
So without further ado, here is Patrick Bailey with “Different Ways to Counter Social-Anxiety”:
Social anxiety is a crippling condition that affects many people. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 7% of U.S. citizens deal with social anxiety, and 30% of them suffer from severe forms of it.
The condition’s main symptoms include trembling, sweating, fast heartbeat, and the fight-or-flight response when a sufferer gets put in a situation around people.
Here are some suggestions to counter social anxiety:
Take a Friend With You
You probably have someone in your life that you feel is a “safe” person: your best friend, a family member, a co-worker, or a friend of the family. Asking that person to accompany you can combat your social anxiety. You won’t feel as isolated or overwhelmed if you have someone safe with you.
Use this method at first to get used to new environments that have large social gatherings.
Use a “Security Blanket”
A security blanket is an inanimate object that makes you feel safe and secure in your environment.
In the Peanuts comic strip and animated specials, Linus used to carry a literal security blanket with him. Readers and viewers could see the relaxation and comfort on his face.
While it would be awkward to take a blanket with you to a club, a security blanket can be something else that makes you feel protected: a hat, a pair of glasses, a sweater. Try going to a social gathering while wearing the item or with it in your pocket or purse.
Meditate Before Going Out
Meditation is a practice that increases concentration and relieves stress. It helps many people deal with all types of anxiety.
There are many ways to meditate—at least nine—but the simplest form of meditation is to find a quiet place where there is no sound and nobody to interfere with your thoughts.
Alternatively, you can use audio files or videos to guide you through your meditation. Any such method will help you to relax before you subject yourself to a crowd.
Consider Getting Professional Help
One of the various options from which you may choose is seeing a counsellor or therapist. Professionals can always help you overcome your social anxiety.
If your anxiety is a symptom of alcohol abuse, you may want to enter a 30-day alcohol abuse rehab. Other sources of help are therapists, coaches, and pastors.
A peer support group might be better if you want to be around people who have been and are going through the same things as you, but they are not conducted by professionals.
Try Self-Exposure Therapy
Exposure therapy is an amazing technique used in modern psychology practices. Allergy specialists use a similar treatment for patients whose immune systems respond to certain elements drastically.
The concept involves exposing yourself to the item or situation that causes you distress until you become desensitized to it. In your case, you might want to visit places with large social gatherings and remain at those locations until your anxiety symptoms start to overwhelm you.
Repeat the activity in the same place several times a month or week until you become accustomed to it.
Test Your Limits
You can also see how long you can withstand the uncomfortable feeling before you have to leave the event. The goal is to eventually be able to withstand long periods of exposure.
Try to double that exposure time or add extra minutes the next time you do it. You might feel normal after some time of practicing this method. Try to increase your tolerance to the crowd so you can stay at a party for an entire two hours.
Breathe Through the Anxiety
Breathing is crucial to Mental Wellness. Learning effective breathing techniques can help you to get a hold of an anxiety attack quickly.
Three common techniques used in anxiety management are
- Belly breathing.
- Equal breathing.
- Contraction and release.
You can learn these methods from a professional trainer, or you can research how to do them on your own.
Commit to breathing through your anxiety every time it bothers you. Give yourself at least a few minutes to manage the attack when it comes. Over time, you will have more control over your anxiety.
Use Humour to Diffuse Anxiety
Humour can be a great deflector for social anxiety. You might forget about the nervousness if you can add an element of humour to your experience.
Try telling a joke to someone you meet at the next social event. See if you can make that person laugh. Enjoy the laughter and the time you spend with your new friend.
Negate Your Negative Thoughts
Most cases of social anxiety occur because of some negative thought processes. The sufferer is nervous because of a real or perceived fear that might happen in a social situation.
Take the time to be honest with yourself and write down your fears. Ask yourself why you feel so nervous in a large gathering and what you think might happen if you allow yourself to be in one. Then you can work on tackling those fears.
Exercise More Often
Exercise is an amazing anxiety crusher. Your brain will release chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins when you get your heart rate up to a certain level. Those chemicals will leave you feeling energetic and happy when you leave the gym, and they will make you calm shortly thereafter. Try to get exercise three times a week for at least a half-hour.
Those are a few suggestions for countering social anxiety. Try one or all of them and see which works best on your anxiety. You might find that you can handle social situations a lot better after putting some of these suggestions to work.
Author: Patrick Bailey
Patrick is a professional writer mainly in the fields of Mental Health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them.
- nimh.nih.gov – Social Anxiety Disorder
- peanuts.fandom.com – Linus’ Security Blanket (The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show)
- healthline.com – Which Meditation Is Right for You?
- div12.org – Exposure Therapies for Different Types of Phobias
Thank you all for reading today’s blog! What do you think? Do you know any other ways to help counter Social Anxiety? Has Social Anxiety had an impact on your life? What do you think about some of the suggestions that Patrick has written about in this blog? Are there any blog ideas that you have, that you would like to see up on the page? Be sure to let us know your thoughts and answers to the questions above, as well as any other queries you may have, in the comments below, or though our Facebook page!
I wanted to say a massive thank you to Patrick for writing this great blog, if you did enjoy it, be sure to check out his website, to see more of his work.
Thank you all for reading and I hope you have a great day!
Any money donated here will be greatly appreciated and will be directly reinvested back into the page!