Do You Suffer From Social Anxiety? How To Overcome The Fear And Take Back Control Of Your Life

Date March 8, 2018

We are all self-conscious to a certain extent but in the case of social anxiety, the individual's self-consciousness level is about a 100 times more intense. They obsess so much over what others think, they fear they will say or do the wrong thing and worry too much about being judged.

One way to describe this type of anxiety is the feeling that you have a major flaw and if you don't overthink everything, the whole world will find out and judge you on it.

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The good news is that, with a few basic advice to reprogramme your brain, you can get to a point where the anxiety does not completely take over your life.

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Clinical Psychologist at the Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Ellen Hendriksen, shares some of her best tips for fighting social anxiety.

1. Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen?

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When you have social anxiety, you are constantly crippled by the fear of what you consider the worst-case scenario.

Hendriksen advised that, first of all, find out that thing you are afraid will happen. Perhaps you're worried you'll make a fool of yourself if you share an opinion about something. Then ask yourself, how bad will it be?

OK, someone may be bored for a moment or someone will look at you funny. It’s not the end of the world.

Then consider the fact that the odds of that happening are pretty low. Also, have a plan for what your reaction will be if this fear does, in fact, come true.

You can smile, turn to a friend or start a new conversation. Life goes on.

Simply put, pinpoint your fear, understand that it may not happen and have a clear reaction ready even if it does.

2.  Stop hiding

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People with social anxiety have been known to bring out their phones in public, read a book or even hide in plain sight so they will not draw attention to themselves. The irony here is that it's these same things that draw people's attention to you. In fact, you are more likely to be judged as being rude or stick-up for looking down at your phone at a party than actually joining in the fun. So resist the urge to hide behind those safety behaviors.

3. Freaking out isn't the end of the world

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When you are about to break out of your shell, you'll most likely experience a feeling of dread, perhaps sweaty palms and a racing heart. Acknowledge these reactions and see it as the beginning and not as a sign to run away. Take the leap and your anxiety will lessen as you go on.

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4. You don't have to be perfect

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At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are yourself. It's okay to make mistakes, lose your train of thought or get something wrong. That makes you human. And people are more likely to relate to that version of you than the type that overthinks every word just to be perfect.

5. Don't wait to live your life

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You may be thinking that once you tackle your social anxiety, everything will fall into place and you can go on living your life. But the opposite is the case. The only way to get over the anxiety is to actually live your life. The more you focus on doing your own thing, the more comfortable you are with the world.

Getting over social anxiety might take some time. Do not be afraid to ask for help from a certified specialist if you need it.

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Source: TODAY

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.