Social anxiety can be difficult to live with. On one side, you would want to avoid all social interactions, but on the other hand you also feel lonely. The smallest of conversations can make you feel dizzy, afraid of criticism or judgement.
If you suffer from severe social anxiety, it can hinder your day-to-day activities, like you may face difficulty in talking to your co-workers, eating in public, going out for buying groceries, etc.
These factors can impact your everyday living and mental health. Here are a few ways that can help you manage your social anxiety to make your life easier. If social anxiety is getting difficult to manage, please reach out to mental health experts for help.
Know Your Triggers
Every person who suffers from social anxiety may have different trigger points. Some may find it difficult to eat alone in public while others may want to participate in an event without having to share their thoughts or opinions.
The bottom line being that there are different triggers for different people and you need to realise what's your trigger.
Knowing the whys and whats may help you manage your anxiety better. So, make a list of situations that trigger your social anxiety.
Practice Breathing Exercises
According to the US National Institute of Health, deep breathing can be effective tool for those who have social anxiety since it helps get manage the emotional exhaustion caused due to anxiety, stress, general anxiety disorder, etc.
Anxiety affects your breathing. Your breathing gets more shallow and rapid while you are anxious. Deep and rhythmic breathing can help you focus your thoughts and help relieve the symptoms of social anxiety.
Try Muscle Relaxation Techniques
Yoga or progressive muscle relaxation techniques helps people face social gatherings thus resulting in increase in their social participation or interaction.
According to Stanford Medicine, progressive muscle relaxation techniques can be helpful in relieving stress and people with social anxiety perceive their environment as less threatening compared to their past experiences.
According to Healthline, if you understand the spotlight effect (which makes you think that people notice your mistakes more than anything) it will make you less conscious in your next social gatherings.
Face Your Negative Thoughts
According to an article in Psychology Today, facing your negative thoughts, analyzing them and taking control of your mind can be helpful in managing social anxiety.
You can identify your thoughts that pop up when you think about social situations, analyse that if there are chances if it happening or you are just focusing on the worst outcomes. Such analysis, deep observation and changing your thought process can go a long way.
Limit Your Alcohol Intake
According to the US NIH, people often take help of alcohol to feel relaxed and more confident before attending a social event. It may feel that alcohol helps you be in control and be your calmer self when it actually increases the chances of an anxiety attack.
So, limit your alcohol intake and stop using it as a coping mechanism.
Talk to Your Therapist
Social anxiety is beyond shyness, uneasiness and consciousness around strangers. It is a mental health issue and there may be times when you fail to manage the symptoms.
You might find it difficult to ask for help, but if you do- professional support is the best way to start. A professional mental health expert can help you identify your triggers, help you differentiate between shyness and social anxiety, they may even help you manage your negative thoughts.