Many people in the world experience some level of social anxiety at various points in their lives. However, there are those who suffer from it to such an extent that it prevents them from living their lives to the fullest and seizing opportunities. If you have noticed that your inability to feel comfortable in social situations has started to impact your quality of life, take a look at some of the healthy ways you can manage your social anxiety and feel more confident around other people.
Test Your Comfort Zone Gradually
Everyone has a comfort zone, but they are all different and can change over time. You may feel absolutely relaxed with one or two people but cannot stand being in a large group, or maybe you are happy talking to a crowd but find it hard to make small talk with a stranger. Work out the lines that determine your comfort zone but also be patient about testing them – you may not know immediately. Gradually push your limits by putting yourself in situations that might cause a flare-up of your social anxiety. This gentle form of exposure therapy can, over time, help your subconscious mind learn that being around people is safe and that anxiety is unnecessary.
Remember Your Own Boundaries
While it is important to test yourself and find ways to adjust your anxiety levels, this doesn’t mean that you must compromise your own personal boundaries. Try to figure out which boundaries are in place due to anxiety and which are worth holding onto. For example, if you don’t tend to drink alcohol, then don’t force yourself to do so just to ease social anxiety. There are other and healthier forms of social lubricant that won’t impede your sense of self. It can take a bit of self-reflection to find out what your social boundaries are, and you may need to practice upholding them. Although this takes time, it is worth it in the end.
Reward Yourself For Taking Social Risks
While being sociable might come easily to other people, that doesn’t mean you haven’t earned a reward for the hard work of overcoming social anxiety. If you find it difficult to spend time in a group, but you have taken the step to attend a night out with friends, reward yourself afterward with a small treat that reinforces the positivity of the situation. Eventually, your mind will associate these social wins with pleasure rather than fear. It might seem simplistic at first, but you can condition yourself to feel less anxious.
Find People You Can Relax With
Overcoming social anxiety doesn’t mean you have to suddenly become extremely extroverted. Rather than attempting to transform into a social butterfly, surround yourself with people you trust and enjoy spending time with. This will help you to regularly feel more relaxed in social situations since the majority of your social time is spent with people you want to be around. You should find, in time, the feelings of anxiety will be much more manageable.