Social anxiety can seem like an overwhelming problem—especially since it’s something you must face on a daily basis. However, there is hope for recovery. If you’re unsure of the best place to begin, use these tips to help you along the way.
- Seek out professional help.
Speaking with a certified counselor or psychologist is a common and particularly effective method of dealing with social anxiety. In most areas of the country, it should be easy to find a professional who specializes in anxiety disorders, and you should definitely choose this option if it’s available to you. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the dominant psychological approach to dealing with this condition, but some professionals may use psychoanalysis as well.
- Develop coping mechanisms.
Avoiding anxiety-provoking situations is not always possible, so it’s important to have a plan when you do encounter them. Many people find that breathing and other relaxation exercises can help during these times. Taking deep, slow breaths when you find yourself becoming anxious may be able to help stave off a full-blown panic attack.
- Set goals.
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll overcome your social anxiety overnight, so it can be helpful to have a plan in place to chart your progress and recovery. Setting goals will keep you motivated and on track, and after you’ve achieved several milestones, it can be quite encouraging to see how far you’ve come. When establishing goals, be sure to make them challenging enough to feel proud of yourself but not so difficult that they are impossible to achieve.
- Find support.
Reaching out for help from others can be a scary prospect if you’re dealing with social anxiety, but it may be one of the best decisions you can make. There are numerous support groups available to people suffering from this condition, and you may find it’s easier to talk with people in this context, because they’re dealing with the same anxiety you are. If you’re not ready for a face-to-face support group meeting, there are plenty of options available online as well.
- Don’t beat yourself up.
Recovery isn’t a straight line, so it’s important to realize upfront that you’ll experience some pitfalls along the way. However, instead of looking at these pitfalls as failures, think of them as an opportunity to grow and learn. Be persistent and pick yourself back up, but never put yourself down for slipping up.