Everyone feels nervous in social situations occasionally but living with social anxiety intensifies your nervousness. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) estimates that 15 million American adults have a social anxiety disorder. Many experts say that feeling self-conscious in social situations can often keep you from living life to the fullest. If this is you, it’s important to find ways to manage your social anxiety better. So, are you keen to learn how to be more confident in social situations? Take a look at these suggestions below.
1. Practice yoga
Melissa Giuttari, a certified yoga instructor and mental health counsellor, opines that yoga is an effective way of overcoming social anxiety. According to her, your social anxiety disorder comes from feeling threatened and stressed in your environment. Through mindful breathing and focusing on every pose, yoga can help you relax and eliminate your anxiety concerning several social situations. This in turn helps you reassess these situations in a less threatening way. Why not sign up for a yoga class today to enjoy yoga’s numerous physical health benefits in addition to reduced social anxiety?
2. Work on your self-esteem
Many experts agree that enhancing your self-esteem can effectively combat your social anxiety because social anxiety often originates from self-esteem issues. Social anxiety from negative self-esteem typically arises from the fear of being judged by others and manifests as worrying about doing something strange or embarrassing in front of people. You therefore end up avoiding people altogether or becoming self-conscious around people, inhibiting your self-expression. Several factors cause negative self-esteem, so you can try many approaches to make you confident. For example, wearing comfortable clothes helps you overcome body image-induced social anxiety by giving you confidence. Also, if you have missing teeth or other dentition issues for example, it may contribute to your anxiety around people you don’t know. If that’s the case you can consider investing in custom-made dentures that will help to improve your self-esteem and make you more relaxed in social situations.
3. Try exposure therapy
Several studies show that putting yourself out there (exposure therapy) is an effective means of combating your social anxiety. Facing a dreaded social situation means you are confronting your fears, reducing your anxiety-related expectancies concerning the problem over time. To do this, experts advise that you start with small situations before moving on to the more challenging ones. You can try making eye contact with people walking past on the street or follow up your neighbors’ “hello” with decent small talk. Over time, as you become more comfortable handling these social interactions, you can take on bigger things by accepting invitations to social events and doing other things you would ordinarily reject due to your anxiety.
4. Work with a therapist
It would help to consult a therapist because several experts suggest therapy as an effective way to tackle your social anxiety. A therapist may recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), group therapy or any other forms of programs designed to help you overcome your fears. In group therapy, you interact with people with similar worries to learn social skills for engaging others in social settings. These days, many therapists recommend CBT to manage social anxiety due to its efficacy. It teaches you anxiety control through relaxation and replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. A study found CBT to have a high success rate of 85% among participants, so you can try CBT and other therapy as an effective means of overcoming your social anxiety.