Many people have a fear that holds them back in certain settings, and when this is related to interacting with people, it may be social anxiety. You might feel shy when you have to carry on a conversation with strangers or paralyzed when you’re put on the spot in front of a large group.
Difficult symptoms like anxiety attacks can accompany your social anxiety, and it can feel overwhelming to attend a party or try new things. However, medication, therapy, support and developing other habits can help you manage your anxiety and feel more comfortable socializing. Let’s look at how to get rid of social anxiety quickly.
Triggers are actions or scenarios that spark uneasiness and intense fear in people with social anxiety. To change your reaction to situations, you need to understand what’s setting you off. Here are a few common social triggers that cause anxiety.
· Meeting new people
· Feeling people watch you
· Public speaking
· Being criticized or judged
· Having a conversation with authority figures
· Calling someone on the phone
Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One useful technique to reduce social anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy. Social anxiety is different than ordinary shyness because it causes you to avoid participating in events and spending time with family or friends.
Cognitive behavioral therapy can target problematic emotions, thoughts or actions and present a new way to approach them. Here are five strategies you’ll learn through cognitive behavioral therapy.
1. Determine What You’re Avoiding
Places or activities can provoke fear in you and make you want to stay home. Avoiding an event or going out in public can create temporary relief, but it doesn’t solve your problem in the long run. The next time you have to give a presentation or meet with your boss, the cycle of fear can start again. The first step of getting rid of social anxiety is identifying what you’re afraid of in these situations.
2. Rate Situations on a Fear Scale
Next, rate everything that makes you anxious on a scale from zero to 10. This is called a fear hierarchy, and it can help you understand the settings that produce tension and stress.
For instance, you may rate staying at home as a zero, thinking about going to a party as a three, attending the party as a six and speaking to a person at the party as a nine. You’ll use these anticipations later on.
3. Test Your Predictions
This technique requires people with social anxiety to overcome their uneasiness by staying in situations that induce fear and coping with them. The predictions you made about the different steps in an activity may not be what actually takes place.
Testing your predictions shows that situations aren’t always as bad as they seem, and you can find that your anxiety subsides once you’re experiencing them. Observing your own behavior is how you can soon change your perception of stressful scenarios.
4. Manage Your Safety Behaviors
Safety behaviors are the ways you attempt to cover up your anxiety and feel secure in a vulnerable setting.
You may avoid eye contact, rehearse an entire conversation beforehand or try to cover up your shakiness by rigidly gripping it. But, these habits actually cause more fear. Set a goal to let go of these behaviors, and you can gain confidence.
5. Practice Combatting Your Anxiety
Negative expectations for activities can fill your mind. You may think about the worst possible outcomes, but to combat them, ask yourself, “Are people noticing my nervous behaviors, or is it more likely that they’re worried about themselves?” Considering what is logical and relevant in a situation can reorient your thoughts.
Simulate scenarios that frequently cause stress by imaging them beforehand. Walk yourself through the steps, but catch each irrational thought as you go. When you practice anxiety-inducing activities but correct your thoughts and behavior, it can help you cope and move through the situation.
Celebrate Your Victories Over Social Anxiety
After you’ve been exposing yourself to challenging activities and practicing rational responses, don’t go home and criticize yourself. It’s easy to analyze what you did wrong, but instead, celebrate the progress you made.
As you actively turn your stress into growth, you can conquer your anxiety quickly.
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