Social anxiety, also called social phobia, affects millions of Americans. Sometimes the symptoms can be so severe that it causes the person to be isolated and to avoid going out in public. If you are looking for ways to cope with this anxiety disorder, there is help. Learn a few tips on how to deal with social phobia.
Slow and Steady Socialization
Jumping out into a large crowd may be too much for those with social anxiety. However, you need to be a little social in order to avoid falling into the trap of complete isolation. Some find it helps to socialize with just a few people, preferably close friends or family. Start off slowly, by going somewhere that has others, but isn’t too crowded. You might only want to do it for 10 minutes at a time at first, but slowly build up so you can tolerate it for longer periods.
Another way to cope with social anxiety is by having techniques to deal with stress. Practice meditating, deep breathing or visualization. Remember to keep your visualizations positive and say what you are seeing out loud. Have someone there who can guide you to positivity if you happen to get a bit negative.
Practice makes perfect and difficulty speaking while out in the world is one thing that those with social phobia struggle with. Practice with family and friends or even in the mirror. Take small steps to try to speak to one person each day, even if it is just a few minutes. You might think that they notice how uncomfortable you are, but rest assured that most of the time they don’t. You are your own worst critic. The more practice you have, the easier it will become.
Sometimes therapy or counseling can help teach you coping skills. For social anxiety, this may be done one-on-one or you might be encouraged to try group therapy.
Social anxiety can be isolating for the person who has it. Be patient with yourself and avoid isolating yourself, which can make the condition worse.