If you’ve seen my previous posts on anxiety, you’ll already know that I’ve had panic attacks and tried to manage my anxiety – this post will be on Social Anxiety have a look here for my previous posts – Here!
Social Anxiety is the fear of certain social situations, sometimes just the thought of being in those situations can be anxiety inducing; those with Social Anxiety may try their very best to avoid these situations. It can be categorised on a scale, you can vary between mild to very severe – Have a look to see where you scale on the Liebowitz Score Anxiety Scale Questionnaire. If you need help with your Social Anxiety please have a look here (NHS) for guidance and links to support.
I’ve always been a little nervous in social situations but if I’m being honestly my anxiety has got worse – just giving one example the other day I was in a clubhouse room (if you don’t know clubhouse it’s basically an social network app where you can have audio-chats), this was a room about creating a social community and how to make it successful. I thought to myself this is the perfect place to talk about my Black Creatives Club and introduce what the club was about. I was so nervous, worrying that people wouldn’t be interested, I had to write out exactly what I wanted to say – I didn’t want to stumble on my words.
Thinking back on it I noticed that this situation raised my anxiety more than it would have before so I’ve looked up some tips to help me with my Social Anxiety and I wanted to share them so I could help you all if you are feeling something similar in social situations.
Start an Anxiety Journal
This is important to try and recognise the situations that trigger your anxiety and how you behave in these situations. You can also use these journals to track your improvements and step backs in how you’re thinking and feeling.
Slowly Challenge Yourself
Going at your own pace, challenge yourself to take steps on pushing yourself in social situations for example taking the step to spark up a conversations. Use your journal to set up small goals for yourself and celebrate every tiny victory.
Remember You Don’t Have To Be Perfect
For me, I think about not messing up in what I say, being perfect not stumbling up or getting my words wrong. But it’s so important to remember that it’s perfectly okay to stumble on your words, to not always be perfect. If you’re worried about how others will react to you remember that people are more understanding than you think, if you mention that you’re nervous a lot of people will completely understand and possibly relate.
Use Relaxation Techniques
When you’re in an environment that you know can trigger your anxiety, using calm breathing techniques can help you to relax and control your anxiety levels. Have a look here for some techniques for you to learn – NHS
Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Anxiety can arise from your thoughts, constantly thinking “I will mess up, people will laugh at me” will make your anxiety rise and so changing these negative thoughts to positive ones will help. I’ll use my example that I mentioned earlier to show how you can challenge your negative thoughts – the initial anxiety provoking thought would be “People will not find what I’m talking about interesting, I should just avoid this and not embarrass myself”, you then analyse and logically challenge these thoughts “Will people really be bored with what I’m saying, they have joined in the same chatroom as you and obviously share the same interests as you”. You can gradually start to change the way you think in these situations and control your anxiety levels.
I hope these tips can help you with your Social Anxiety, if you need further help please have a look at the links at the beginning of the blog post for professional advice.
Thank you for reading,