Have you ever felt Self-Conscious in social situations?
Have you ever worried excessively about going to new places?
Have you ever felt embarrassed to speak your mind freely in front of others, for fear of being judged?
If so, you’re not alone.
Social Anxiety (Social Phobia) is a common form of anxiety that can have a long-lasting and damaging effect on your social life, career, schooling and even within your relationships.
There are a number of different situations that can cause anxiety to raise its ugly head:
- Public speaking
- Speaking on the phone
- Starting conversations
- Meeting strangers
- Being in unfamiliar surroundings
- Public Performances
- Group conversations
- Social events (parties, gatherings etc)
Basically, any time that you feel you are being watched, judged or criticised you can find yourself in an Anxiety triggering situation: feeling sick, cold sweats, heart palpitations, breakout in red blotches and hyperventilating.
For so many people, the overwhelming ‘perceived’ fear is enough to prevent them from truly becoming the person that they want to be. Instead of taking on new challenges and experiencing life to its fullest, they end up retreating to a place of comfort and safety. They end up living a life half lived.
The truth is, no matter how bad your anxiety gets, you have the power to overcome it, you have the power to take back control over your emotions so that you can live a life free from worry, self-doubt and fear!
Now, I know this can be hard to accept, especially if you’ve been struggling with social anxiety for a long time, however, as soon as you accept this truth, you can transcend it!
HOW TO OVERCOME SOCIAL ANXIETY:
I’m going to share with you some simple steps that you can follow to overcome Social Anxiety. However, before we go on, IF you are struggling with social anxiety, then please reach out to the people around you. Having a support network around you and getting expert advice from your local GP or CBT therapist can help you get back on track and breakthrough your fear once and for all. There is NO SHAME in asking for help - we all need it.
1. AWARENESS - Understand your anxiety
- What triggers it?
- Is it a specific thought?
- Is a specific situation?
- Is it a certain word, or conversation?
- How does it make you feel?
- Do you get red flushes?
- Do you have low blood pressure?
- Do you need to go to the loo?
Getting to know your anxiety will give you a clearer idea of how to tackle the problems.
Once you understand the words/story/situations that are likely to trigger your anxiety, you need to reframe the conversation in your head from a negative conversation to a positive conversation.
From - I’m so nervous about presenting on stage
To - I’m so excited about sharing my message with so many people
From - I’m so nervous about wearing these clothes to that party… what if I’m laughed at?
To - I can’t wait to show off my new outfit, I’m going to OWN my new look with confidence.
When saying the positive reframed words to yourself, believe the words to be true. Push out the self-doubt and negative voices. The more you believe your words to be true, the more empowering they will become.
Say it loud, say it proud! OWN IT!
Start doing the activity that you want to avoid. This can be hard at first, which is why it’s advised to start small. The more you face your fears head on, stand your ground and become confident in that moment, you will begin to desensitise yourself to the negative stimulus.
This in essence, is Exposure therapy; systematically desensitising yourself to your fears.
Finally, once you are in the moment (the situation causing anxiety) focus outwards. Anxiety comes from excessively worrying about a negative outcome. Over analysing your thoughts will cause Anxiety to surface. Instead, become extremely curious about everything outside of yourself.
- I wonder what shade of yellow the wallpaper is?
- I wonder where they purchased their clothes?
- I wonder who wrote this song?
- I wonder, I wonder, I wonder…
Focused curiosity will stop us from becoming self-absorbed and help to calm any remaining nerves.
SO... IN SUMMARY:
Little by little, step by step. Face your fear!
Be bold, brave and take action towards becoming the confident person that you know you can be.
The longer you remain in the shadows, the longer you’ll remain in fear.
Step out of the shadow and into the light.
And finally, don’t fear the unknown, embrace It!
Last year we launched our very first With Self Love programme, which features our popular CONFIDENCE COURSE. We give you even more step-by-step guidance, tips & tricks on overcoming your anxiety & building your confidence. The course helps to:
- Master public speaking and performance anxiety
- Build self-esteem and learn to love yourself
- Tackle life's struggles
- Be confident at social and network events
-Free yourself from other people judgments
The confidence course is available as part of our Fitness, Food & Mindset membership (£19.99 a month, starting with a 10 day free trial with access to 1000+ workout videos PLUS 600+ recipes), or as part of the with With Self Love package (£7.99 a month with access to the Motivation course).
If you're looking for more step-by-step guidance on overcoming your anxiety then click here to get started with a 10 day free trial to our Fitness & Food membership...
Or sign up to our With Self Love package here!
Written by: Jeff Spires (Performance Coach) @jeff_spires