It is a natural phenomenon to feel shy when you meet a stranger. Having excessive sweating in hands when walking up to a stranger or having a shaky voice when facing a crowd are the most common signs of this social anxiety. It also happens because of the fear of being perceived negatively by others. Therefore, instead of interacting with others, you avoid mixing up with people. This social anxiety becomes an obstacle for you in broadening your social circle. In other words, it is also called social phobia.
When you have social phobia, you act somewhat strange in front of others. You rub your hands constantly or scratch your head. After your meeting with a stranger or a crowd is over, you often forget where you are headed next. These are the most common symptoms of social phobia.
Is it a permanent disorder?
Absolutely not. It is not a permanent disorder, and you can overcome it with a bit of practice. According to an estimate, around 12% of the population face social anxiety disorder sooner or later in their lives. This means even if you face it, it is not something that cannot be undone. So if you want to find your life partner, make new friends or ace an interview, here are some tips to overcome your social phobia.
TRY TO IGNORE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
Often the most common thing that holds you back from socialising is your negative thoughts. It might be impossible for you to ignore these thoughts altogether. However, what you should try to do is to consider it a mere thought and nothing more. Stop judging or criticising yourself based on any negativity that might come across your mind. If you keep practising it, you will ultimately find your self-confidence, enabling you to face anyone.
TRY TO FACE EVERY SITUATION
The other term for this is “fight, not flight”. Typically you avoid the situations that trigger fear. But instead of doing that, it is crucial to do the complete opposite of what your instincts tell you. Step out of your comfort zone and tackle it. Always keep reminding yourself that “you can do this”. Initially, you will stutter and most probably sweat with anxiety but facing it every time will bring back your lost confidence. Dr Victoria Shaw, a psychologist, explains that you should not try to face your greatest fears all at once but start with slightly uncomfortable situations and gradually work up your way to face panicking situations.
Several mildly uncomfortable situations to tackle can be
- Making eye contact with strangers.
- Smiling at others whom you don’t know.
- Introducing yourself to someone new or complimenting someone.
WORK ON YOUR HEALTH
A healthy body keeps a healthy mind, which is useful when you come across difficult situations. Working out daily for about 20 to 30 minutes and eating nutritious food whilst improving your health gives you positive energy and a peaceful mind. Whenever you exercise, you feel a new surge of energy, which boosts your self-confidence. Working on your health awards you a mentality to face the world because you feel strong. So, while working on the above points, also try improving your health.
KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR TECH INTAKE
Although technology helps you connect with people, frequent use prevents you from facing someone in reality. This is one of the primary reasons that people are facing social anxiety today. This creates a mindset of an introvert. So, you should continuously monitor your tech intake. For socialising, try going to bars or libraries to meet new people and connect.
The Bottom Line
Social anxiety is a widespread problem, but you can overcome it permanently with the right steps. Build your habits to develop a confident personality and learn to express yourself positively.