5 Methods of Alleviating Social Anxiety

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It’s normal to show some shyness throughout life, especially when you are a teenager. But sometimes, the problem is more severe than simple shyness, and it persists with you into adulthood. Some people develop a genuine panic about relating to others, often even talking on the phone. It even has a name: social anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the disorder is characterized by an intense fear of being observed and judged by others, which can affect the person at work, school, and especially in social life. Some signs to identify it are blush or sweat during minimal interaction with other people, difficulty speaking with strangers or even making eye contact, and the initiative to avoid places where you can meet other people.

Social anxiety is a more common concern than one might think and can affect your mental health – progressing to depression and stress. Fortunately, the problem is also easy to diagnose and address. Let’s look at some methods that can help you alleviate your social anxiety.

1) Get Enough Sleep

For experts, sleeping eight hours every night for at least a week is the first and best way to tackle anxiety symptoms. Sleeping is helpful because while you rest, your body performs functions such as “turning off” the nervous system and lowering cortisol levels (the hormone linked to stress).

In other words, getting enough sleep gives your brain and body enough time to heal to start over again the next day. So being well-rested goes a long way in alleviating anxiety before a hard day at school or work, or even before a date.

2) Avoid Caffeine

This step complements the previous one, as caffeine consumption can worsen one’s reaction when dealing with social anxiety. It is good to remember that the substance is addictive and is not only found in the traditional cup of coffee but also in tea, soft drinks, and especially energy drinks.

Caffeine causes such as increased heart rate and a feeling of being more awake/alert. This is why many people consume too much coffee or energy drinks when they have a lot of homework or a hard day at their job. The problem is that too much caffeine can also cause insomnia, restlessness, headaches, addiction and increase your anxiety instead of productivity.

3) Practice With Friends

Start by practicing public speaking by yourself, in front of the mirror, analyzing and correcting your body posture and tone of voice until you gain more confidence to do it in practice. After a while, you will feel more at ease and less anxious. Then you must repeat what you have trained with people familiar to you, such as relatives and friends.

Even though it may seem humiliating to admit to people close to you that you have trouble relating to others, by doing so, you’re taking an important first step towards overcoming social anxiety. As you gain the confidence to talk to people you know (and get their feedback and advice on how to improve), you’ll feel more comfortable doing the same with people you’re not so familiar with, like co-workers.

4) Dress for Confidence

It’s much easier to face your fears and deal with people when you dress appropriately. And there’s no need to wear expensive or branded clothes to do so. Just adopt a look that you feel good about and that allows you to be more confident in facing a challenging or stressful situation.

Here are some tactics for dressing to alleviate the effects of social anxiety.

The Color Effect

The color of your clothes sends a message. For example, shades of red, black, and navy blue are naturally recognized as power colors that can project confidence. Always choose colors that are appropriate for your skin tone and hair color.

Figure Flattering

Other people’s looks may not suit your body type. So dress in clothes that flatter your figure.

Small Change Big Difference

A small change in the look can help you create a new image. Try a shirt color you’ve never worn, a new tie, or swap your traditional, old pair of specs for more adventurous frames like round glasses rather conventional full-frame ones.

Be a Trendsetter

Don’t try to look cool or trendy if that’s not your personal style. When in doubt, always dress formally for work-related occasions.

5) Focus on Triggers

If improvements in your health and appearance aren’t enough, you’ll have to focus on the triggers that make you feel anxious. Whether it’s public speaking, talking to strangers, or something else, it is important to identify what makes you nervous and plan ahead for the best approach.

That way, you will be prepared for the worst-case scenario and will be able to feel more confident. For example, if you are invited to a happy hour with co-workers and are afraid of running out of topics, research some interesting subjects or news to avoid that traditional and uncomfortable “blank”.

Overcoming Your Fears is Easier Than It Seems

Being online and using social media has a deceiving impression of feeling connected but increasingly distant in the physical world. At the same time, the need for social distancing because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic has helped to distance people more than ever.

It can seem challenging to be forced to socialize again at work and school or to have a social life surrounded by other people, not all of whom you know. These situations can cause distress and anxiety, but a few simple changes to your behavior and way of life can help you overcome your fears.

Everyone is a little introvert in one situation or another. If social anxiety persists to the point where you’re unable to do things you’d like to do (such as going to a concert or hanging out with friends), it’s best to seek medical help.

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Hi, I'm James George, the founder of Mind My Business NYC and author of this blog. I am an entrepreneur and internet marketer. My wish is that this website helps you to grow your business and achieve your goals.

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