A large majority of the world population experiences nervousness in public situations. About 40 million adults in America experience a kind of anxiety each year, as per The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
15 million of these people have social anxiety which is demonstrated as an intense fear of being judged or rejected by others in public. “It makes me feel like I don’t want to go out and talk to anyone. I would always rather stay at home and curl up on the sofa or bury myself in jobs around the house to distract myself from any social demands.”
Social anxiety can lead to seclusion and reduced confidence, and hence, it is important that it’s dealt with. Here are some tips for managing your anxiety:
Avoid negative coping strategies.
When people find themselves in an unescapable situation, they try to blunt the symptoms of their social anxiety through negative coping strategies, especially drinking alcohol.
Research has shown that excessive consumption of alcohol may lead to bad moods, heightened anxiety and disturbed sleep patterns. 20% of individuals with social anxiety also have alcohol disorder, as per by ADAA.
Think of happy thoughts, go into your happy place – close your eyes and imagine you’re in a place you love – and try to dodge the negativity that might swirl up in you.
Face your fears
Avoiding social interactions has become easier following the advent of smart phones. Majority of the people use phones as an escape from the outside world, without realizing hiding behind it isn’t going to solve the problem.
According to a 2017 study, 182 adult smartphone users, who spent a large chunk of their time on technology, showed potential markers of social anxiety. Studies have also found a “significant positive correlation” between excessive smartphone use and social anxiety.
Facing the problem is the only way to spiral out of the nuisance. Even though it might seem difficult at first, it’s still better than becoming socially awkward – unable to interact with people in any situation.
An effective way to cope with anxiety is to do something nice for someone. A research has shown that kind deeds tend to have a positive impact on mood. It triggers the part of the brain linked with motivation and reward cycle.
According to a 2015 study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, selfless acts can help ease the symptoms of social anxiety.
According to one of the authors of the study, “Acts of kindness may help to counter negative social expectations by promoting more positive perceptions and expectations of a person’s social environment”