Reclaim your life.
Did you know that public speaking is the #1 fear? If you have social anxiety, it can help to know that it's a feeling that many people have experienced. But you probably also know it goes deeper than that. With social anxiety, the fear of negative evaluation, embarrassment, or rejection is intense, and you might try to avoid these situations at all costs.
Even though it can feel insurmountable, you can overcome social anxiety. Start with these tips.
BABY STEPS BUILD CONFIDENCE
We build confidence by gaining experience, building our skills, and changing our self-perception. This doesn't have to happen in big leaps. Taking baby steps can shift the way you see yourself.
BIT BY BIT, TRY SOMETHING NEW
Confidence comes from the direct lived experiences that teach us new skills and show us what we're capable of. Find small ways to try something new and watch your self-perception change.
GIVE YOURSELF ENCOURAGEMENT
Be kind to yourself as you take whatever small steps you can. Criticizing your fear only adds to the cycle of anxiety and frustration. Even when your social fears seem irrational or get in the way of you living your life, it's more helpful in the long-run to view them with acceptance and speak to yourself with compassion.
AND STAY WILLING TO BE UNCOMFORTABLE
Even baby steps toward facing your fears can be uncomfortable. So, don't judge the discomfort. Instead, remind yourself of what's so important that you're willing to do it anxious or not. You'd be amazed at how much fear you can withstand when you stop fighting it.
4 tips to get you started
- Focus on what you want rather than what you don't want.
- Let it be awkward while you're practicing new skills.
- Focus outside of yourself.
GIVE YOUR FEARS A CALM, RATIONAL RESPONSE
So much fear is driven by the thoughts we have about ourselves, other people, and the feared situation. These stories are usually exaggerated, focused on threat and danger, and critical. Practice noticing anxious and self-critical thoughts when they show up and redirecting them to more constructive thoughts.
Listen for the "what if"...
If you're having trouble recognizing anxious thoughts, just listen for the "what if" and "what will they think" thoughts.
...and look for the bigger truth.
Anxious thoughts feel true because they trigger big changes in our bodies and emotions. But feeling true doesn't make it true. Even when there's a kernel of truth to your anxious thought, it's probably not the whole truth. Look for the evidence that contradicts your anxious thoughts.
Questions to ask when you're feeling anxious
Is this really true? And how do I know?
Do I have any evidence that this fear isn't true or isn't the whole truth?
What feels threatened? Is the danger real?
How do I feel when I consider other ways this could go or other things this could mean?
What would I tell a friend who was worried about this? A small child?
What are 3 other ways I could look at this?
Let's say the worst DOES happen or IS true? How would I deal with it?
LOOK FOR WHAT YOU LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF
GET TO KNOW YOUR STRENGTHS
Pay attention to your unique method of solving problems, helping others, and taking action in tough situations.
FOLLOW YOUR OWN PATH
When you get lost in comparison or self-criticism, turn your attention back to your path and what you want/need in your life journey.
LET YOUR VALUES LEAD
When in doubt, remember what matters most to you. To uncover your values, consider your personal vision for your life and the beliefs or ideals that make you who you are.
try it now
Finish these statements:
- I am…
- I am a... person
- It is easy for me to…
- I am completely free to…
- My life is an example that…
- For me, being great means…
- The best possible version of me is…