Top tips for dealing with Social Anxiety
Kyle suffers from social anxiety and has put together a list of things which help
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mind of a young person is a minefield of self-doubt, insecurity and fear. Being a young person nowadays is tough! You have to deal with constant scrutiny and abuse online while simultaneously keeping up to date on the latest trends.
Maybe your school/college life is requiring too much and leaves you feeling inadequate for not being able to commit more. Or perhaps your personal life being filled with loved ones and friends isn’t the source of joy and happiness that it once used to be. It’s here that social anxiety takes hold.
Now I’m not saying we all don’t suffer from fear of missing out at times but with social anxiety it’s the fear of even being with people that scares you. This fear begins to grow, making you question every little decision you make.
Slowly it makes you think differently. Every single little move becomes a calculated decision, which often leaves you trying to pick the best option which will draw the least amount of attention to yourself. Before you know it your life has become the very minefield inside your mind, leading you to avoid and miss out on enjoyable moments with special people.
The amazing thing to know is that this doesn’t have to last forever. You hold the key to your own happiness. By doing just a few of the below tips my social anxiety has decreased dramatically. (These work for me and may or may not work for you too).
Tips for dealing with social anxiety:
- Start taking the time to picture future social situations whilst relaxed - find a place that makes you calm and feel grounded like a warm bath. Imagine seeing yourself looking relaxed and confident. By doing this repeatedly you’ll soon train your mind into not being as anxious at the mere thought of these situations.
- Breathe- take deep breaths in and out, this will help calm you down if you get too anxious.
- Practise the 'three I am' - think of three words to describe yourself and say them in front of a mirror. The words you use to describe yourself must be positive however. Repeat this three times, by saying this sentence every time before social situations you’ll soon feel your confidence soar.
- Look around you - Try to focus on the colour of the walls, something you can smell and what people are wearing. This may seem bizarre but by focusing on something external helps as you’re not as focused internally as you would be normally.
Stick to the FORD method for questions – F = Family/Relationships, O = Occupation/Career, R= Recreation/Pastimes, D = Dreams/ Goals.
Set a goal - go into the setting and have a target for yourself eg. meet five new people, tell a joke to a group of people etc. By doing these little tasks you will find yourself wanting to actually go to social settings.