How I Put Social Anxiety Naturally Under Control
Social anxiety is one of many types of anxieties that hits almost every person at some point in their lives. The problem is when social anxiety becomes an everyday problem and we learn to avoid certain situations where we know it could come out.
I have suffered from this type of anxiety for as long as I remember, but it drastically increased when I was 22 years old. From then on, I began to avoid situations which invoked unpleasant feelings such as fear of being watched or fear of public speaking. As time went by, I became less and less involved in social situations because it was too painful to bear. In the end, I started avoiding any situation in which I might feel nervous or frightened.
After hitting rock bottom, I began educating myself about this disorder. Also, a part of my healing process was attending behavioral therapy. With all this in hand, I learned only one crucial helpful method that put my anxiety under control.
Feel fear and do it anyway
At first, this advice terrified me. I thought this is the worst piece of advice I have ever received. How can I enter a frightening situation when it was paralyzing me?
As it was impossible to deal with my mind-numbing fears, I was withdrawing even further. Running away from the source of my fears was the only thing I have known. The result of this behavior was being even more frightened because fears do not disappear, they only grow stronger if we run away from them.
At some point, I realized I have to try this method because avoiding fearful situations wasn’t helping.
So, I have decided to do a little preparation talk every time I was about to enter a social situation.
My inner dialog went something like this:
“I will now enter this situation bravely because I want to face my fears and beat them. Nothing bad can and will happen. Everyone in this social situation at the moment maybe feels the same as me because I know that everyone feels fear occasionally. It is natural to sometimes feel discomfort in social situations. I will feel fear but do it anyway because I know nothing bad can happen to me. As for me doing something in front of others that I won’t be satisfied with, I acknowledge that making mistakes is only human and I allow them to happen.”
At first, my success rate was not very high. But little by little, with each situation I went through, I saw that there really is nothing so horrifying and that it is all only a projection of my brain. This resulted that every time I was about to enter a social event, I felt less fear. When my brain saw everything is turning out fine, it became more relaxed and less anxious.
The only way to cure social anxiety is to enter situations that frighten you and go through them. That goes with every fear we feel, not just social anxiety. There really is no other way but to enter situations that fear us and let them happen.
Advice on easing social anxiety
- Start slowly. Don’t enter social situations like a mad man. It might result in deeper withdrawal.
- Be brave. This is something we all need but occasionally lack not only in social situations. The good news is that bravery can be trained just like any other skill and it is especially needed in social anxiety. You want to go through life and not hide. That is why you need to practice bravery so that you can push yourself into fearful situations.
- Be consistent. If it doesn’t turn out the way you thought it should try again tomorrow. Just don’t neglect your social life, otherwise, you will end up running away from life more and more.
- Allow yourself mistakes. This is crucial because fearing mistakes is one of the reasons you have social anxiety. Mistakes are a natural part of our lives. It is human to make mistakes. If you let yourself make some along the way, you will ease the pressure from social events. So what if you make a mistake? Do you think that only you will make them and no one else?
I sometimes sound confused when I speak in front of others. But that’s ok, I let it happen. This is a part of my imperfection and I allow it to be shown in public. And by doing so, I am less frightened because I know it is ok to make mistakes.