Whether or not you are Highly Sensitive, social anxiety is a challenge every individual faces to one degree or another.
Be it entering a room full of strangers, starting a conversation with your colleagues, or going to a restaurant.
But for Highly Sensitives, who pick up on a lot more in their environments, dealing with social situations can be an added stressor.
So, let’s go deeper to understand the cause and symptoms of social anxiety as well as the six solutions.
Social anxiety or social phobia is when a person gets anxious when they are at the center of other people’s attention or feels like they are at the center of other people’s attention.
It can happen during a regular daily activity like riding the bus, eating in a restaurant, or attending a movie.
That person fears, to some degree, any performance-based situation, and as soon as he/she faces that environment, an intense fear of being watched and judged.
This fear may be due to the perceived risk of committing a mistake or an embarrassment.
Above all, we need to understand that social anxiety is not the same as just being shy or nervous before a speech or having stage fright.
People who suffer from social anxiety experience these types of feelings more often and intensely.
Some social anxiety symptoms are a rapid heart rate, nausea, sweating, tightness in the chest, blushing, shaking, and dizziness.
Therefore, we need to find ways to deal with social anxiety. If untreated, it may get worse and significantly impact your quality of life.
Here are some ways that may help you.
1. Learn to say “NO.”
Say no to an invitation, mainly when you know that you don’t have enough ‘social energy’ in the tank.
If you think you would fall off if you attend the event or visit the place, don’t hesitate to dismiss the invitation.
As Warren Buffet says, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
Be a little selfish, and protect your boundaries. After all, it’s your health.
Nonetheless, please don’t get too rude while rejecting, as it might spoil your relations.
You can learn some innovative ways to say no, like,
“Hey, your offer seems interesting, but I can’t attend.”
“I would like to do that, but I’ll need an extra week to complete that task. “
Pro tip: Don’t offer excuses; politely decline the invitation.
2. Accept the fact you can’t win them all.
Every time we meet someone, our first instinct is to create a good image of ourselves and impress that person.
But, this is where the problem starts. You need to understand that everyone has a different set of thinking, mentality, and understandings.
It’s impossible to impress anyone and everyone.
This pressure of making everyone feel good gets more extreme when there is a group of people around you.
So, don’t take the burden. Present yourself as you are.
3. Be honest, not ‘perfect.’
We live in a world where everyone tries to act like a perfect person, or as expected by society.
We hear some everyday dialogues at times like, “Don’t act like an idiot,” “Present yourself with proper etiquettes,” “Learn to control your behavior”…
These phrases are asking us to maintain a fake aura every time we go public.
Let me tell you the truth. You are not alone. A majority of people experience such situations and get embarrassed.
This fear of worrying about others’ opinions is becoming like a mental sickness.
We need to gently remind ourselves that perfection is a lie and doesn’t exist. Every individual is different and has their own identity.
No matter how hard you try, you cannot become that ‘perfect person.’
It’s better to identify yourself, your strong and weak points, that can help you act accordingly and strengthen your social relationships.
This way you will become a more likable and trustable person and can enjoy a better life.
Preparation is the single most crucial factor that can turn your nervousness into excitement, tenseness into confidence, and anxiousness into determination.
Each time you’re considering entering into a situation where you are prone to get social anxiety, consider the worst and best-case scenarios, and start preparing for it.
Let’s say you are giving a presentation in your workplace.
Chances are, if you don’t prepare for it, you’ll experience a lot of social anxiety when you reach the stage to present.
No tips or suggestions can help you in this situation.
You need to prepare and practice the activity as many times as possible.
This way, you will feel more confident and energetic.
5. Start small, stretch your limits.
If you are a person who always avoids situations that scare you, you might need to work upon it immediately, as it may hamper your career and relationship goals.
Anxiety levels increase each time we decide to run away from that fear.
That fear will slowly become one of the worst nightmares for you.
To overcome this fear, you have to start small and stretch those limits over time, gradually.
For instance, if you fear swimming, start practicing in a small pool instead of diving directly into a river. Take beginner swimming lessons.
Once you get confident, you can increase the scale.
Just like this, you’ll start facing the fears, and with time your anxiety will lessen.
6. Keep your mind calm and stable.
Having control over one’s mind is probably the most crucial part of dealing with anxiety.
Your mind is the best servant but the worst master.
The first step to calming your mind is to exercise daily. It keeps your mind and body active and energetic.
Next comes the diet. Eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Avoid too much sugar and alcohol, and nicotine as they increase anxiety.
Try deep breathing and daily meditation. Several studies prove that deep breathing instantly lowers a stress-causing hormone called cortisol.
These are six ways can help you overcome social anxiety.
Have you experienced social anxiety?