Anxiety is much more common than you might realize. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly a third of American adults will deal with an anxiety disorder at some point. This is a significant enough portion of the nation that it cannot be ignored.
Feelings of anxiety can be triggered by a number of scenarios. Some people feel anxiety about upcoming deadlines or events in the distant future. Many have what is known as social anxiety, which is brought on by the thought of and participation in social events.
Living with social anxiety is equal parts challenging and exhausting. As social creatures, humans need to interact with one another. However, socializing while anxious can cause distress and lonely feelings. If you’re struggling with social anxiety, know you’re not alone. There are also some ways you can address your social anxiety so that it no longer has such control over you.
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1. Try Online Mental Health Treatment
The first thing you must realize is that struggling with anxiety does not mean you are a weak or incomplete person. This may just be a weakness you have to work on, and that’s OK. What isn’t OK is giving up and letting your anxiety control you. You have the power to challenge the way you respond to social situations.
There could be a legitimate physical or chemical reason why you experience anxiety in social situations. And if this is the case, seeking out medical assistance can completely change your life for the better. The tricky part is knowing where to start and how you can start receiving the help you need.
You may not know that mental health and anxiety treatment can be found online. This is a great option for those with social anxiety since you can seek help from the comfort of your own home. After a quick consultation, you can get prescriptions shipped directly to your door that help with mild to moderate symptoms.
2. Sign Up for Counseling
While medication can help, sometimes extra measures are needed. Signing up for professional counseling can help you overcome your social anxiety more quickly and with greater effectiveness. You’ll have a trusted and trained guide to help work through your anxiety in ways that wouldn’t be possible on your own.
A counselor is a trusted source for divulging your struggles. They can provide guidance, direction, and resources in return. Their education and experience will prove to be invaluable to you. They will understand what you’re going through and lay out the steps you can take to feel better.
You can even find counselors that work from home. Instead of driving to a new location, you can browse through national resources to find someone who you can talk to from the comfort of your home. This gives you a wider range of options and allows you to begin counseling in a place where you’re most comfortable.
3. Use the Buddy System
Anxiety in any of its many forms is almost always more difficult to manage when you’re alone. A good support network is a key aspect of improving your mental health. If your main struggle is social anxiety, then using the buddy system can help you navigate through your toughest scenarios.
Let’s say the biggest trigger of your social anxiety is public speaking. A lot of people get extra nervous when they’re asked to give a presentation or lead a meeting. Try having a close friend sit in the front row, so you can maintain eye contact with them. This can help you hyperfixate on your speaking without getting psyched out by all of the other people in the room.
A good friend can help you navigate through crowds, find success at a busy career fair, or even enjoy a concert. You might not be ready to jump into the mosh pit on your own anytime soon, but you will slowly get more comfortable in these types of situations.
4. Incentivize Yourself
Who doesn’t respond well to a good incentive? If you struggle with social anxiety, you likely find it difficult to find the motivation to get out and confront it. If you need to sweeten the pot by promising yourself a reward for completing a successful outing, go for it.
The weekend is rolling around and all you want to do is stay in the comfort of your home and watch Netflix all day. As enjoyable as that may sound, there are a lot of benefits that can come from spending part of your Saturday on the lake with some friends. If the promise of sunshine and company aren’t alluring enough, add a personal incentive.
This incentive could be treating yourself to your favorite meal or planning a movie night to look forward to when you get back. Incentives should be personal. Think about what you value. Find something that motivates you to get out there and tackle your social anxiety.
Anxiety is no joke. It can be debilitating and discouraging, especially when left untreated. If you feel significant feelings of anxiety that are affecting your mood, relationships, and behavior, contact someone who can help you right away. You shouldn’t let anxiety keep you from enjoying everything you deserve in life.