If you’re like many adults, you may struggle with social anxiety. This can be an incredibly stressful experience and can directly impact many parts of your life. For example, you might find that social anxiety makes it difficult to interact with people you meet on a regular basis. Perhaps your anxiety even makes normal activities, such as going to the grocery store or getting through a workday, incredibly difficult. If you’re experiencing trouble with feeling anxious, you aren’t alone. Many people struggle just to get through each social interaction. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help you begin to feel more comfortable in social situations.
Identify your triggers
First off, try to identify your triggers. Is there something specific that makes you feel uncomfortable when you’re in public? Do you feel okay in small groups, but get nervous when you’re in a crowd? Are you okay with soft words spoken in public, but have a hard time when people are speaking loudly or yelling? If you can identify the things that most make you feel anxious, you can begin to avoid those triggers while you aim to become more comfortable in social situations. Eventually, you’ll be able to overcome many of your social triggers, but when you first start facing social anxiety, make sure you avoid anything that makes you more uncomfortable than you usually feel.
Learn to express yourself
It’s also important that you talk about how you’re feeling with other people. This could be something as simple as confiding in a friend you know from the Internet. Maybe you frequent chatting sites like Flirtfair and have made some online buddies. Perhaps you have a friend you meet with in real life. This is fine, too. What matters is that you have someone you can discuss your feelings and emotions with. Talking with someone will help you become more comfortable and open when it comes to being in social situations. Some people who struggle with social anxiety choose to see a therapist or counselor. Is this you? You may find that talking with a healthcare professional trained in social anxiety problems can be incredibly comforting to talk to. Your health insurance may even cover the cost of these visits, so consider reaching out to someone today.
Learning to develop your social skills to the point where social anxiety is no longer an issue can and will take time. Try to be patient and understanding with yourself. Although you’re going to focus hard and do your best to minimize the level of anxiety you feel, there will be times when you have flare-ups or times when you simply feel like you can’t handle any more social activity. Understand that these feelings are normal. There is simply no way you can instantly stop feeling anxious in social situations. This is why it’s incredibly important that you give yourself room to grow and change. Although you’re going to try hard, there will be days when things feel too difficult. Make sure you stop, take several deep breaths, and encourage yourself to try again.
Set small goals
Finally, make sure you set small, regular, reasonable goals. Many adults want to stop feeling anxious in social situations, but they set completely unobtainable goals for themselves. If you set high goals that are difficult to obtain, you may fail and become discouraged. Once you begin to feel discouraged, continuing to try to move forward will become more difficult. Aim to avoid disappointment and frustration by setting goals that are reasonable. You should still set regular goals that you have to work toward, but don’t make them impossibly hard. With reasonable goals, you’ll be more likely to see success as you move forward in learning how to feel more socially confident. Once you have a small taste of success, you’ll feel inspired to try more, try harder, and try again.
No matter how old you are, feeling socially anxious or nervous is a normal thing. Make sure you understand that many people struggle socially, so you are not alone. What’s most important is that you continue moving forward and trying your best, no matter how you might be feeling about your progress.
By John Mason