How to Cope With Social Anxiety
By Alexis L.
If you’ve ever been a victim of social anxiety, then these tips and tricks could help you.
Social anxiety is quite serious. It comes in many different stages ranging from minor to severe. Minor cases would be not attending parties or events with a lot of people, because large crowds make you very nervous. Severe cases would be being so afraid of people, their perceptions, and made-up scenarios in your mind that leaving the house is a nearly impossible task. If the severe case sounds more like you, seeking professional help will be the most effective method for you. If you are more like the minor case, or somewhere in between, here are some simple methods to help cope with social anxiety. Please keep in mind that not all of these will work with every person. Everyone handles themselves differently and if one method doesn’t work for you, keep trying others until you find one that works.
Question the thoughts that make you anxious. For example, you’re giving a presentation in class and the first thought that pops into your mind is, “I’m going to mess this up and everyone will laugh at me.” Question that and ask, “Do I know that for sure? Even if I do mess up a little bit, will everyone laugh at me?” By doing this, you ease your mind and the pressure you put on yourself, making it less likely that you will mess up.
Take deep breaths and drink water in small sips. By taking deep breaths, you don’t allow yourself to hyperventilate and have an anxiety attack. Drinking the water in small sips will keep you hydrated and will help regulate your breathing; drinking is more difficult with rapid breathing.
Approach social situations with a close friend or family member. Having someone you’re comfortable with will sometimes lessen your anxiety in a social situation.
Get fresh air. Whether it is stepping outside alone for a few minutes or simply sitting by an open window, fresh air helps many people slow their breathing and calm themselves down.
Volunteer in your community. Volunteering in something you enjoy will put you around new people and allow you to befriend them while simultaneously giving you a distraction from others you.
Drink caffeine in moderation. Caffeine increases anxiety, so drinks like coffee and soda pop will only make you more anxious.
Dissect your triggers. Figure out exactly what it is that makes you anxious, pinpoint the little issues, and start picking them apart. Talk through situations involving them with someone you trust repeatedly until they are no longer triggers.
Sit down, put your head between your legs, and breathe deeply. This especially helps if you’re getting dizzy. It makes blood flow to your brain and will slowly calm you down, which the breathing also assists in.