Putting Yourself Out There
More Than 50 Million People Feel Awkward And Nervous In Social Situations Here’s How To Keep That From Being You
Social anxiety–fear, nervousness and self-consciousness related to social situations–can be debilitating. People who are overly worried about making a mistake or being judged by others tend to avoid situations that otherwise might have good outcomes. For example, networking events, conferences and meetups are great opportunities to develop relationships with people who can bolster a career trajectory or possibly turn into lifelong friends.
Even so, it’s a problem for more than 50 million people in the U.S. That’s according to public speaker and social entrepreneur Andrew Horn, who says entrepreneurs, in particular, often struggle with social anxiety in spite of how they may come off as self-assured and confident. As someone who has founded several companies and overcome social anxiety himself, Horn has some advice on how anyone can become more comfortable interacting in public venues, pitching investors or meeting new people.
Make Plans And Invite People
Once you start facing your fears, talking to everyone, and spending time with confident new friends, you are ready to plan some events. Socially confident people dont just sit around waiting for invitations, they actively invite people out.
Think of some activities you would enjoy with a group of friends. It could be playing a sport together or having a meal together, for example. This will help you start taking a leadership role in social situations and people will start to look forward to the events you plan.
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Challenge Your Negative And Anxious Thoughts
At times it may feel like theres nothing you can do about the way you feel and how you think. In reality though, there are a number of things that can help. Challenging your mentality and negative thoughts can be an effective way to reduce symptoms of social anxiety. Start by identifying the anxious thoughts that automatically pop into your head when you think of social situations. Next, analyze these thoughts and challenge them. Question why you think like this and if your first reaction is actually how you feel or youre just always assuming the worst. Changing the way you think is a long journey and is not an immediate fix but the mind is a powerful thing and it is possible.
Thinking styles that fuel social anxiety and dont help you in anyway whatsoever include mind reading and predicting the future. Assuming you know what someone is thinking and its the same negative way that you see yourself as well as predicting the future. You just know that things will go wrong and it will be awful. Thinking like this is detrimental and challenging it is not easy but its so important in overcoming symptoms of social anxiety.
The Definition Reality Of Social Anxiety Disorder
Occasionally someone will ask me what its like to have social anxiety. Well, heres how the psychology professors describe it:
Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. You could say social anxiety is the fear and anxiety of being negatively judged and evaluated by other people. It is a pervasive disorder and causes anxiety and fear in most all areas of a persons life. It is chronic because it does not go away on its own.
You know the problem with this definition? It doesnt capture the REALITY of how bad having social anxiety really is. I still remember my darkest days vividly, heres just one small example
Youre taking an innocent walk in the park. Its a beautiful day. Youre really enjoying yourself. The grass is green, the birds are singing and life feels great.
Suddenly, you see some people walking towards you in the distance. Your heart skips a beat. You start to freak out inside. You try to figure out if its someone you know. Immediately you want to turn around and avoid these people, but theyve already seen you. It would look weird.
So you keep walking towards them.
Its a couple of cute girls and theyre getting closer.
At this point Id be thinking something like SH*T SH*T SH*T SH*T!
At least until the next person walks by.
In this article Im going to give an overview of the different common treatment options available for you, and which ones are the best in my opinion.
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Fears Of Perceived Threats In Social Situations
“The irrational beliefs that accompany social anxiety usually revolve around fearfear of being judged by others, fear of humiliation, fear of being embarrassed, fear of offending someone or fear of being the center of attention,” Parmely says. To avoid confronting these pent-up fears, she explains, “people with social anxiety avoid social situations such as going to school or work, starting conversations, eating in front of people, using public restrooms, entering rooms, going to parties, dating, speaking in public, talking to strangers, and making eye contact.”
Seek Alternative Therapeutic Options
If youve sought psychotherapy approaches for social anxiety, it can also be beneficial to explore other alternative options, such as holistic therapy.
These are alternative methods that focus on wellness in order to promote a healthier mind. For example, people in addiction recovery often experience bouts of social anxiety when reintegrating after rehabilitation. Many of them are provided with holistic approaches such as massage therapy, aromatherapy, reflexology, mindfulness therapy, and the like.
These promote a sense of calm and well-being in the individual, making them resilient during moments of social anxiety. We can assist you if you are having trouble recovering from an addiction. Youll discover programs to help you deal with your anxiety at the Retreat. Heres a list of the cities we serve.
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Stop Trying To Be Perfect
Its easy to forget that no one is perfect when we live in a world that aspires to achieve perfection. Its also easy to forget that not everyone will like us nor does everyone need to.
Ask yourself do YOU like everyone ? Its also often forgotten that its okay to make mistakes as it makes us human.
Choose Your Friends Wisely
Legendary motivational speaker Jim Rohn said that, Youre the average of your five closest friends.
He was spot on. Your friends and even your friends friends have a tremendous impact on your goals, productivity, habits, happiness, and even your weight.
Imagine living with a couple not-so-healthy roommates. They offer you some of their pizza every night and ask you to go drinking with them on the weekends.
Now imagine that your roommates wake you up at 9 AM and ask if you want to hit the meditation studio with them followed by a cup of Bulletproof Coffee, of course.
Which scenario is going to lead to a better you?
You adopt the habits and characteristics of the people you spend most of your time with. According to a 32-year-long study on the social networks of 12,000 people :
- If your friends are obese, youre 45% more likely to be obese
- If your friends friends are obese, youre 25% more likely to be obese
- If your friends friends friends are obese, youre 10% more likely to be obese even though you probably dont even know these people
Your friends should enhance your life, not drag you down. As cold as it sounds, if your friends are holding you back, maybe you should consider getting new ones.
You can do this right now. Grab a pen and piece of paper and write down the names of the people in your life, then ask yourself the following questions:
How Does Social Anxiety Affect Your Life
The fear that comes with social anxiety disorder keeps you from doing the things that you want to do.
You want to have meaningful friendships but the fear stops you in your tracks.
Most people with social anxiety know that their thoughts are irrational, they just dont have the tools to overcome their current way of thinking. Those with social anxiety often feel powerless in the face of their anxiety.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder
When having to perform in front of or be around others, people with social anxiety disorder tend to:
- Blush, sweat, tremble, feel a rapid heart rate, or feel their mind going blank
- Feel nauseous or sick to their stomach
- Show a rigid body posture, make little eye contact, or speak with an overly soft voice
- Find it scary and difficult to be with other people, especially those they dont already know, and have a hard time talking to them even though they wish they could
- Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed and awkward
- Be very afraid that other people will judge them
- Stay away from places where there are other people
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Look For Silver Linings And Be Kind To Yourself
If your social anxiety isnt going away as fast as youd like, thats perfectly normal. It might be that you moved too fast and need to spend more time practicing other social encounters before youre up for the one youre stuck on, or you need to work more on relaxation techniques and distraction techniques so you can tolerate that situation next time, says Dr. Potter.
Analyzing after the fact what triggered a reaction, whether a panic attack or something else, can also help. Try to break down, How can I think about that differently? or How can I change the situation next time? Dr. Potter suggests. Lets say you go to a concert and start to have a panic attack because youre enclosed in by a lot of people. Maybe next time, you might sit in the back or on an aisle, or stay somewhere where you feel like theres an exit route if you feel anxious or closed-in.Dr. Potter adds that other people are generally way more focused on themselves than they are on others. They are most likely not scrutinizing your behavior in social situations, because they are busy thinking about what they are going to say or do next, she says. Your anxiety usually magnifies the negative and minimizes the positive so the things youre acutely aware of about yourself may not be particularly noticeable to others.
Make It A Competition
Do you have a competitive nature? If so, could you make a sport out of trying to overcome your social anxiety? If you clam up at dinner parties, try over-preparing with interesting stories to tell.
Try to ask every person at least one question. Keep track of how many times you speak and give yourself points. Make it a game!
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What Is Social Phobia
It’s natural to feel self-conscious, nervous, or shy in front of others at times. Most people get through these moments when they need to. But for some, the anxiety that goes with feeling shy or self-conscious can be extreme.
When people feel so self-conscious and anxious that it prevents them from speaking up or socializing most of the time, it’s probably more than shyness. It may be an anxiety condition called social phobia .
How To Reduce Negative Thoughts
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Recognizing If You Have Social Anxiety
While social anxiety always involves a fear of being judged negatively, the actual situations that cause it can vary greatly from person to person. Many people with social anxiety feel nervous in most situations that involve interacting with or performing in front of other people. But some people only experience social anxiety in particular situations, such as speaking in front of others or hosting an event. For example, a person who is typically very outgoing and comfortable talking to strangers at parties might only have social anxiety when giving presentations. In fact, public speaking is one of the most common specific causes of social anxiety.
Dont Focus On Yourself
Its hard to stop the endless mind chatter when youre in situations that make you particularly anxious. We often turn inward and focus on ourselves and how others will perceive us, almost always assuming it will be negative. The thought that everyone will be looking at you when you walk into a room and judging you in one way or another. This isnt the case. Stop focusing on yourself and what other people are thinking of you. Focus on other people, try to be present and make genuine connections.
Although it feels like a massive flag is on your back, anxiety isnt as visible as you may think. Even if someone notices youre a little nervous, theyre not thinking of you negatively. No ones perfect so try to be in the moment and actually listen to what is being said. In a small study where three job candidates were being evaluated for the same position, they chose the interviewee with great scores who spilt coffee all over himself. Instead of choosing a perfect candidate they chose someone who made a small blunder. Their reasoning was that he seemed far more approachable and he wasnt enviable, sometimes being too perfect can have its own repercussions.
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Social Anxiety Disorder: More Than Just Shyness
Are you extremely afraid of being judged by others?
Are you very self-conscious in everyday social situations?
Do you avoid meeting new people?
If you have been feeling this way for at least six months and these feelings make it hard for you to do everyday taskssuch as talking to people at work or schoolyou may have a social anxiety disorder.
Social anxiety disorder is a mental health condition. It is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and your other day-to-day activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. But social anxiety disorder doesnt have to stop you from reaching your potential. Treatment can help you overcome your symptoms.
If You Are Seeking Counseling In New York City Contact Us Today To Learn More About Our Services
In scenario 2, you felt anxious but were still able to participate in normal daily activity.
Your anxiety was on the lower end of the social anxiety spectrum.
You feel that your anxiety is inconvenient and irrational but not crippling.
You probably have social anxiety but not social anxiety disorder.
Even though you dont have an anxiety disorder, it will still be helpful to learn the strategies discussed below
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Tips For Educators On Teaching Students With Sad
Here are three ways that teachers can spark learning, encourage engagement, and cultivate self-confidence in students with social anxiety disorders:
Here Are Some Indications That Anxiety Is Originating From The Amygdala
Feeling a lot of muscle tension in specific environments.
Feeling overwhelmed with an inability to think in certain situations.
Increasing heart rate or noticeable pounding of the chest.
Unconscious avoidance of locations, experiences, and conditions.
Constant checking of things or people without needing to do so.
Inability to relax in a particular situation or location
Worrying over seemingly insignificant events
Wanting to fight or otherwise act aggressively for no apparent reason.
Wanting to escape from certain situations
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What Is Social Anxiety Disorder Or Social Phobia
Many people get nervous or self-conscious on occasion, like when giving a speech or interviewing for a new job. But social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, is more than just shyness or occasional nerves. Social anxiety disorder involves intense fear of certain social situationsespecially situations that are unfamiliar or in which you feel youll be watched or evaluated by others. These situations may be so frightening that you get anxious just thinking about them or go to great lengths to avoid them, disrupting your life in the process.
Underlying social anxiety disorder is the fear of being scrutinized, judged, or embarrassed in public. You may be afraid that people will think badly of you or that you wont measure up in comparison to others. And even though you probably realize that your fears of being judged are at least somewhat irrational and overblown, you still cant help feeling anxious. But no matter how painfully shy you may be and no matter how bad the butterflies, you can learn to be comfortable in social situations and reclaim your life.
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