We’ve all experienced some symptoms of anxiety at certain points in our life; face goes bright red, palms are sweaty, hands shaking, legs like jelly, butterflies in our stomach and the racing heart. It can feel terrifying!
When you have social anxiety, these symptoms are magnified to such an extent that they can lead to panic attacks, irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia and even lead to feeling all of the above symptoms during EVERY social interaction.
This can often result in avoiding more and more social events, making up excuses for why you can’t get to that family wedding or attend your graduation. In extreme cases it can also lead to agoraphobia. A fear of leaving the house.
If this is you, please know that you are not alone. Support is available and there are a few tools and tips that you can do yourself to help you cope better with social anxiety and eventually learn to live without it.
“Where’s the magic wand?” You ask. Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic wand, it takes hard work, determination and passion to get to where you want to be, but it IS possible. We just need to know where to begin.
Recognising negative self-talk
Recognise when you’re having the unhelpful thoughts. Maybe these thoughts are self-deprecating? Maybe it feels like you have the thoughts ALL the time?
First of all, let’s begin to notice times when you are not being cruel to yourself with your negative self-talk. Maybe when you are sleeping? Perhaps when you are watching a film or reading a good book? When else?
We can use the exception to the rule and grow upon it and begin to change the language we use when we talk about our social anxiety and how it affects us.
So, we can challenge that first assumption we had; “I have self-deprecating thoughts all of the time”… to….”sometimes I have self-deprecating thoughts”. Already, you are changing your mindset and your inner belief systems which will help immensely.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be focusing on all kinds of tips, coping strategies and exercises you can use to help you cope better with Social Anxiety. They’ll all be posted on my Facebook Page here.