Looking for some self help for social anxiety? This post will help you find the most useful tools to get you feeling comfortable in social situations.
Sometimes, the only thing keeping you from being around people and feeling comfortable is the right tool. Obviously, you’re going to experience situations where this will never be true.
But, why don’t we give it a try? This list of methods, tools, and strategies will give you the confidence you need to handle social anxiety in the moment without letting it handle you.
Keep in mind that every action you take to work through your social anxiety is making you healthier and every action is progress. And, spoiler alert, reading this list of methods is one of those actions. If no one else has said it yet, you’ve got this!
This post is all about self help for social anxiety.
SELF HELP FOR SOCIAL ANXIETY:
1. Practice ways of calming yourself
From box breathing to the 5-4-3-2-1 method, you want to start out your social anxiety toolbox with ways to calm your social anxiety. That way, you’ll be prepared for the moment you need to try and overcome it.
When you approach ways to quiet the anxious voices and calm down your physical symptoms, you want to give yourself some grace. Go into it knowing it’s like any skill or hobby. You need to practice.
The key to this method is giving the method time and energy before you need it in the emergency moment. This means you won’t be able to use it for the first time when you’re in a moment of anxiety, but you will be doing your future self a favor by practicing it bit by bit.
2. Monitor your symptoms with a journal
Often, when we talk about journaling on Knockoff Therapy, we talk about it in relation to talking out your feelings and thoughts because your brain is tired of hearing all of the same thoughts over and over.
Journaling is a great tool to ease some of that tension and pressure. In this case, however, journaling also needs to be acknowledged as a method by which people can monitor their symptoms of anxiety.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re not making any progress when you’re dealing day by day. Plus, it’s usually the toughest when you’re actively doing the work—and that sucks.
But, that’s also why we have journals as a record of how we’re actually improving, so keep one as a way to relieve the tension while also monitoring your nonlinear improvement.
3. Challenge your thoughts
Challenging your thoughts can be as simple as—and by simple, I don’t mean easy because it takes work and practice—checking the thoughts floating around in your head.
Maybe you notice yourself catastrophizing like “I’m never going to be able to go to a party” or “I don’t deserve any friends because I never respond to their texts.” First, you want to get in the habit of noticing these negative thought patterns commonly associated with anxiety.
Then, once you get into the habit of noticing them, you can start telling yourself that they’re negative thought patterns. “No, I do deserve friends and it’s okay if I forget to reach out because they probably don’t mind and I can always reach out to them when I feel less anxious.”
You want to make space between you and your thoughts because you are not your thoughts—and you’re definitely not your anxiety.
Visualizing pretty much means you go to your happy place. And, before you inevitably ask “where’s my happy place?” and “what if I don’t know where my happy place is?” you’re doing fine.
You can find your happy place by closing your eyes and listening to relaxing music. It’s likely that when you’re enjoying this music, your mind will automatically transport you somewhere that you find pleasing. That’s your happy place.
This is the place you want to access when you’re struggling with your anxiety in the moment. You might be at a social function that’s taking a bigger toll on you than you expected.
At that moment, you want to visualize your happy place detail by detail. This won’t change the external stimuli you’re dealing with, but it will help take you out of an anxious mindset by reminding you that you’re probably safe even if you’re anxious.
5. Nap with a weighted blanket
Can we all collectively go back to those times when we were swaddled in blankets so tightly that we felt secure? Maybe we can’t revert to the size of babies and be treated as such, but we can have the next best thing as far as swaddling is concerned.
Weighted blankets are a great way to comfort you with a deep pressure touch that is proven to calm you and break the cycle of worry. When you sleep with one, it will help wash away the mental and physical strain of the day, leaving you better rested.
For those of you who like tight hugs, this is a must-have.
6. Get a purse organizer
For those of you wondering why a purse organizer is on the list, all you need to do is think back to the last time you were sweating when you were trying to find something in your purse at the checkout.
We’ve all been there: you think you have your payment in hand, but you have the wrong card out or you don’t have enough cash. So, you dig and you start to wish you had a purse organizer.
This is a lifesaver for people who want to do their best and eliminate the most common sources of social anxiety. The grocery store—or any store—is a good example of something you both can’t avoid and might hate with the passion of a thousand suns. So, get yourself an organizer.
7. Create space for worry
Contrary to the way you probably feel about your worry, it’s not inherently bad. Worry is a part our natural response to the world around us and it’s designed (thanks, evolution) to help us survive by sensing the potentially dangerous things in our environment.
Nowadays, it has spiraled out of control, but that doesn’t mean it’s still all bad. Worry can remind us that we need to pay that bill by the due date or that we need to turn in that assignment in like two minutes.
So, let’s make space for it in a journal, planner, or our Notes app. Make note of what’s got you worrying because it might be there for a reason and it might trying to help.
8. Use a fidget ring
A fidget ring is the single best conversation tip for people with anxiety. If you have social anxiety, your mind is racing a million miles a minute during a conversation with someone.
The racing only gets worse depending on how well you know the person and how many people are involved. And that’s where the fidget ring comes in. It gives you somewhere to work out that anxious energy without letting it affect the flow of conversation.
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with expressing your anxiety in other ways that makes people feel uncomfortable. But, generally, when you make people feel uncomfortable, you also make yourself, the social anxiety sufferer, uncomfortable too.
9. Move your body
Moving your body is another fantastic way to work out the nervous energy. Sure, you’re not going to go for a run when you’re in the middle of a conversation or party. But, you can still go to the bathroom and do ten jumping jacks or wait until after to exercise.
Your heart is probably beating fast, you’re sweating, and your breathing is shallow. So, you might as well get a workout in since you have all of the symptoms. Move your body to so you can continue on your journal of self help for social anxiety.
10. Approach your symptoms differently
We already discussed how anxiety is doing its best to help you even if it’s a little too reactive. When our bodies start getting jazzed up because of anxiety or stress, it’s our body’s way of helping us out.
Our bodies are getting jazzed to prepare us for taking on the situation that’s causing stress. Now, it’s not always helpful or appreciated, but you’d be surprised how much better you feel when you let your body do its thing and accept its help.
Then, instead of fighting the symptoms, you can focus on how your brain is handling the situation and cope from there.
11. Challenge yourself with social situations
Be careful. Challenge your limits, but growth is slow and nonlinear. So, be kind to yourself and push your limits without sending yourself into an uncontrollable spiral.
Go for that meal or drink with a friend to catch up. Or attend that party you would’ve probably chosen to skip. No matter how you choose to challenge yourself, remember you’re doing this for you.
No, social anxiety doesn’t deserve to control your life. If it does, that’s when you need to push yourself so that you can take back you life. But, if someone is pressuring you into challenging yourself, you should evaluate how beneficial that really is for you.
12. Give yourself credit
You’re here. You either read this far or skimmed. Either way, you made it to the bottom of a post about social anxiety and you deserve to proud of yourself.
Now, bookmark this post and come back it whenever you need some tools that will get you feeling like the person you want to be. Social anxiety isn’t the end of the world, it’s normal, and it’s okay if it makes you want to stay in and watch Netflix on occasion. You’ve got this.