Hey I am Brittani and I have social anxiety. Not necessarily a good introduction line, but true. You see me and you may not realize this immediately but that doesn’t make it any less real. Social anxiety is not just being shy, so don’t tell me “Oh but you don’t seem shy”. Social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people, leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation, and depression (social anxiety institute). I want to share with you what MY social anxiety is like and my personal tried and true tips.
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Coping with Social Anxiety is Draining
Imagine going in for a interview for a position you believe you don’t even qualify for. This is what many of my day-to-day social interaction feel like for me. So I try my best, but then afterwards i wonder about and over analyze every action for days or months. So weather it is drinks with a friend, a casual group hangout or a kickback there is pressure. Pressure to fit in, pressure to be interesting, pressure to be normal and pressure to not fail. If you are like me this can make socializing a chore or impossible.
This is what MY social anxiety does to ME. This will look and feel different for each person. Regardless, your experience is real. This is important because once you acknowledge that your experience is real it becomes possible to seek help. This leads me right into my tried and true tips.
The Best Advice for Coping with Social Anxiety Advice Tips
1. Find a Therapist
In a previous blog I shared how in college I was encouraged by a friend to start seeing a therapist for the first time. It was my best decision yet. This is why I now encourage others to find a licensed counselor/psychologist.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personal
Do NOT give the opinion of other humans as much importance as you currently do. This is not easy, but it is necessary. At first it may even be unnatural and feel forced. But don’t give up though. I still have to consciously walk myself out of certain emotional and rumination thoughts.
3. Trust in God
When the negative is flooding your mind it can be difficult to think well of yourself. Choose to believe what God believes about you based on his Word. God calls you redeemed, a bride and holy. This is not because of anything we did right or wrong, but because God sees Jesus in us. Admit how much you care and worry about what others think of you to God. Its ok and normal to feel those feelings. Then it is important to leave those feelings there safely with God to deal with.
4. Socialize on Your Terms
Socialize when most comfortable for you. Do not feel forced to say yes when you rather say no. Also experiment with different forms of socializing. You may be better with one-on-one hangouts or maybe just group chats. Find what works best for you and slowly challenge yourself to scale up, if able. This is not always as achievable in the work setting, but great for other social interactions.
Get the Help You Need to Cope
Social anxiety is overwhelming at times, but I’ve found my way to overcome. As always, this is only my personal experience and what has worked best for me. However,I truly believe there is hope for every unique situation, even yours. If you suffer from severe mental illness or thoughts of suicide I want to encourage you to seek help today. Find a local therapist or contact the National Suicide Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255 or texting “START” to 741-741. A trained therapist can provide you with a diagnosis and help you develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Before your leave, please don’t forget to comment below. Sharing your experience and what works for you may help others find a solution that works for them. Also, please share this post because you never know who in your circle may be struggling and may need to read this post for encouragement.
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