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3 Fear Busting Self Help Strategies for Social Anxiety

Self Help for Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Symptoms & Triggers

Are you hiding from the world? These social anxiety self-help tips are designed to help you close the door on social phobia.

With social anxiety disorder (a.k.a social phobia) you desperately want to avoid any situation that would lead to judgment and embarrassment.

Plus, you're worried that you'll be found lacking. The fear of being judged is so intense that you avoid people and situations that trigger this anxiety.

Signs and Symptoms of Social Anxiety Disorder

Just because you feel shy about being around others doesn't mean that you have social anxiety disorder.

Emotional Symptoms
  • You're very self-conscious and anxious during everyday social situations
  • You worry for days, weeks, or sometimes even months before an upcoming social event
  • You can't stop worrying about things that make you anxious
  • You're horrified of being watched and judged by others, especially by strangers
  • You're scared of doing something "stupid" and embarrassing yourself in front of others
  • You're afraid that others can tell you are anxious
Physical Symptoms
  • Blushing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Digestive issues such as an upset stomach and nausea
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Tightness in your chest or a racing heart rate
  • You break out in a sweat, or you may have hot flashes
  • You feel faint and lightheaded
Behavioral Symptoms
  • Avoiding social situations that trigger anxiety to the point where doing so disrupts your life
  • Hiding during social events to escape being noticed and potentially being embarrassed
  • A strong need to always have someone along with you anywhere you go
  • Consuming alcohol before social events to calm your nerves

Common Social Anxiety Triggers

To overcome social anxiety, it's important to understand the triggers associated with this type of phobia.

When I think of social anxiety, I think of performing in public.
 - Giving speeches
 - Performing on stage
 - Going on dates
 - Being called on in class
 - Speaking in a meeting
 - Meeting new people
 - Speaking with "important" people
 - Eating and/or drinking in public
 - Attending parties and other social gatherings

Another social anxiety trigger is talking on the phone. You may not be around other people during a phone call. But you may still feel like you are being judged by the person on the other end of the line.

3 Self Help Strategies for Social Anxiety

1. Stand Up to Your Fears

It's perfectly natural to avoid the things that make us anxious and afraid. But avoidance feeds anxiety. The more you avoid social situations, the worse the anxiety will become.

You've got to face your fears if you want to get better. You don't have to make a massive attempt to conquer your phobia in a single bound.

Instead take baby steps.

Remember success isn't achieved in a day... or even a week. It takes tons of hard work, planning, and perseverance. Stay focused and chip away at your social anxiety bit by bit.

2. Stop Making Everything About You

When you're in a social situation, do you tend to focus more on yourself, your anxious feelings and the belief that others are studying you?

Here's a trick that may come in handy to ease your social phobia. Instead of focusing on yourself, focus on the person(s) around you.

Our minds are brilliantly made, but we humans can only truly focus on one thing at a time. So turn ALL of your attention towards the other person. What is he or she saying or wearing?

Just put all of your attention onto them. Don't think about what you can say next or beat yourself up for something that happened in the past.

Oh, and please don't try to be what you think others want you to be.

Trust me. Being anything less than yourself is guaranteed to go sideways fast.

Being yourself will attract the people you feel most comfortable being around anyway. You wouldn't feel like you have to perform or feel like you're are being judged.

3. Challenge Negative Thinking and Unrealistic Expectations

Much like depression, anxiety has a way of drilling negative, untrue, and unrealistic thoughts into our minds.

With social anxiety, your fears are centered around embarrassing yourself in front of other people and/or being negatively judged by others.

This fear will most likely cause your mind to feed on negative made up scenarios.

But cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a truly effective technique that empowers you to control negative anxiety producing thought patterns which is a key factor to overcoming social phobia. Click here to get started with online CBT.

Commonly Unhelpful Thinking Patterns

Here are some thinking patterns you may want to be aware of as you practice the social anxiety self-help techniques listed above.

Anxiety sufferers are absolute pros at negative thinking. Hey, I'm not judging. I know what it's like.

Heck, for years I was an expert at all four of the following.

Psychic Thinking –You "know" what others are thinking about you and assume it's all negative.

Example: You're not happy with your weight gain. You then assume that everyone else thinks negatively about you because of your weight gain.

Fortune Telling –You see the future. And... It's all bad.

The worst will happen no matter what. You're so convinced that you work yourself into a ball of anxiety. You worry about what hasn't happened, and probably wouldn't happen anyway.

Personalizing –You're somehow involved with whatever is going on with other people.

Example: You see two people talking and automatically assume they are speaking negatively about you.

Catastrophizing – What I like to call "apocalyptic" thinking. You blowing things out of proportion.

There is no middle ground. If things don't go perfectly, the outcome is always "terrible" or "awful."

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