Many suffer from social anxiety, yet it’s not an open subject to talk about. One can suffer for years without considering reaching out for help. Through this post I wanted to explain what anxiety is and suggest some solutions to help you get over it, it’s nothing magical, but then you'll see that it’s not that hard after all:
1- Understand it:
“Anxiety is a mental disorder in which a person fears just about anything and they think every outcome will turn out for the worst. This fear is frightening because it is so intense and they always fear that someone is after them.”
You feel always scared, for no reason, for a moment you think you’re cool, then the next, with no reason, you feel scared. It gets hot, and you think that you’re going to die, that something is wrong with you, but there is not. And you just can’t figure out the reason why you’re feeling that way. Simply because there were no reasons why you felt panic. It just happens; it comes and goes in a moment.
You find it hard to do some simple tasks that others take for granted, and you just feel like you’re left behind, you feel like you’re less of a person because you can’t do these simple daily tasks like normal people, for example going to parties or talking to strangers and socializing or going shopping. Even walking alone in the street can become something you dread because of how hard it feels. You feel self-conscious because of being watched though it’s not true and of course your body reaction isn't helping at all.
Having anxiety is what's holding you from doing those tasks and not you being a less of a person. Because anxiety will force you to avoid doing anything that might embarrass you.
I’ve suffered from this anxiety for years now. At first, I thought that I’m sick or something, that I have a kind of fever, something like hot flashes and fast heart beats. I went to doctors, they all told me that I’m just fine. I took medicines, but at some point, I just knew that it’s only my brain, that my thoughts is what needs to be healed.
2- Spend time with people:
If you have social anxiety, the cure would be to spend time with others, to socialize. It might seem ironic because all you’re trying to do is avoiding people, but the only way for you to overcome that anxiety is to face it.
It’s when you start talking to people that you’ll see the real picture, that socializing and getting others’ attention isn’t fatal, that you’re not in danger after all. You won’t feel at ease at first, you might back up and prefer remaining in your comfort zone, but you should try to resist that urge to leave whenever you started feeling uncomfortable. You might blush and feel sick, but let it be, don’t think of what others will think about you because it’s never as exaggerated as your mind pictures to you.
A great way to get over anxiety and panic attacks is to relax. Take some deep breaths, slowly and steadily. Each time you feel scared, shut the world down for a moment and focus on breathing. Breathing exercises are great to calm down for it is going to steady your heart rate.
4- Change your thoughts:
Try not to think about the things that might go wrong, try not to remember all those embarrassing experiences you went through, believe that this time you can change it, this time is different. And it is if you believe so. When you have anxiety, you shouldn’t blame it on your body, even though you think that the only wrong is your body reaction, if it wasn’t for it, you won’t have to go through the embarrassment. The only one you should blame is yourself, your thoughts, which you have a say over. When you acknowledge that the only one who’s responsible for the way you feel is you, when you decide to change your thoughts, that when the outcomes will change.
Now it won’t happen with the blink of an eye, rather you’ll have to practice thinking positively, even a negative thought now and then shouldn’t discourage you. Things gets easier the more you do it, so do it and do it often until it becomes easy.
A good way to avoid thinking negatively is to distract yourself, to step out of yourself and think about something else. If you’re working, focus on the work you’re doing. If you’re in a group of people focus on the matter they’re discussing, rather than on yourself and what they’re going to think about you. Believe me, as you’re focusing on yourself, so is everyone else is focusing on himself. If had been criticized, don’t take it personally. And always remember to breathe deeply and slowly.
The point of getting over anxiety isn’t to run away from it, or never think about it. At the opposite, it’s to go over it and understand it right. Subconsciously, there might be a reason why you’re feeling anxious at certain moments. Something that has its origin from your past. Try to recall the first time you felt this anxiety and why you felt it. It might be an embarrassing incident in public that left you expecting subconsciously to have it whenever you’re in public.
6- Surround yourself with support:
Being with people you love and feel most comfortable around, can help a huge deal. You’ll see how comfortable and on your own you can be with them, and then you’ll believe that you can be that way with strangers as well. It’s important to believe in yourself. If you felt like talking about your problem to a friend, that also can help. Only choose wisely he who you’ll tell about your anxiety, because the one who’s going to listen to you, should be understanding enough. It’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s shoe and understand the way they feel, for those who don’t have any problem with socializing, won’t probably see any problem with it and underestimating anxiety might leave the one who’s suffering from it feeling bad about himself.
You’re not alone, many people suffer from anxiety, but that’s not what you should keep in mind, rather you should believe that you don’t have to feel that way forever. You have first to want to get over it bad enough, then try the above and as you’re going to try, you’ll definitely discover your own ways to manage your anxiety and stop from controlling your life anymore.