Tips to Help you Overcome Social Anxiety
Are you looking to overcome social anxiety?
Social anxiety is among the top three most common mental health conditions (up there with depression and alcoholism) and yet around a third of people with social anxiety experience symptoms for 10 years or more before seeking help.
Social anxiety stops you from waving to the neighbor, going to work, raising your hand in class, leaving the house, even just speaking to people.
Below I share some tips to help you overcome social anxiety.
Are you afraid of making a major life change? Maybe you’ve settled into your way of life and somehow made it work for you. Perhaps your family doesn’t support you changing. Or maybe you have other mental health issues that make life a struggle in general.
You might even think the cost of getting help is out of reach. Or, you might think there is no help for you, that you were born to be this way.
Here are three steps to get motivated:
- Realize this is a fixable problem.
- Think about making a change sometime in the future. It doesn’t have to be tomorrow. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be.
- Start planning to work on your issue in the near future. Something like within the next month.
Are you happy? How could your life be better?
The answers to those two key questions will tell you if you can dig deep to find that motivation. Because it will always feel more comfortable to stay the same.
Seek Outside Help
You can’t do this alone. Everyone needs expert help to get through this and live well. Whether that comes in the form of medication, therapy, self-help books, online treatment—it doesn’t matter so much what you choose, but that you make a commitment to find some sort of help.
Put in the Work
Maybe you’ve read all the self-help books, but all you’ve done is read. It’s not going to work if you don’t put in the work. Just like you can’t spend four months exercising and expect to keep six-pack abs for the rest of your life, you can’t read about how to get better and get better without actually doing the work. Overcoming social anxiety involves a lot of mental work.
And, there is always a chance of slipping back into old habits. You could get better for a while and then go through a stressful time in your life and regress. Medication, therapy, and even self-help approaches are often time-limited. Instead, you need to start thinking about mental wellness instead of focusing on a short-term fix.
Self care doesn’t have to mean bubble baths and spa appointments. When you live with mental health issues, it can often mean something as basic as taking a shower every morning, eating healthy food, getting regular exercise, and cleaning your house.
If you live with depression alongside social anxiety, which many people do, self-care will be incredibly important as you work to manage your social anxiety. Put yourself first!
Put your basic needs first. You need a strong foundation on which to build your mental health. Don’t treat yourself badly and don’t leave yourself as an afterthought. Do the things you know you should be doing for your basic well-being, even if they seem hard.
Yes, you will need to keep pushing yourself. The nature of social anxiety is that you will want to sometimes do what feels easier than what will push you outside of your comfort zone.
Sometimes it’s okay to take a break if you are feeling overwhelmed. But remember—the more you avoid something, the bigger spot in your mind it start to take up. Sometimes you just need to make that phone call, or whatever it is that you are putting off, rather than let it fester. Rip off the band-aid, as the saying goes.
So, that’s it! If you want to overcome social anxiety you need to get motivated, seek outside help, put in the work, practice self-care, and push yourself from time to time. What about you? How have you learned to manage social anxiety?
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