How to Help Social Anxiety in 8 Easy Steps

Two girls socialising and supporting each other. Feeling connected and comfortable. No anxiety.

 What is Social Anxiety?

Anxiety affects over 8 million people within the UK alone. This highlights a real concern that many people are struggling with each day. There are various types of anxiety but for the purpose of this article we are going to focus on ‘How to Help Social Anxiety in 8 Easy Steps

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Define Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety is defined as a long term and overwhelming fear of social situations. Negative past experiences and trauma are generally associated with this disorder. These can be the result of bullying, family conflict and abuse.

Social Anxiety typically starts in your early years although it is possible for this to develop in your later years as a result of your environment and experiences.

Signs of Social Anxiety

Here are some of the signs to look out for.

Physically   

Shaky voice, lump in your throat, sweating, racing heart, upset stomach and blushing.

Emotionally

Overly worrying about how other people perceive you, very apprehensive particularly in new situations & around new people, fear of being judged, feeling anxious when having to socially interact with people.

Avoidance

This is typical because of a fear of embarrassment or humiliation. Seeking solitude provides a temporary relief but the feelings sometimes do come back.

Avoid the Negative Nancie’s

Make sure that you are not surrounding yourself with the wrong people.

The people you spend time with could be toxic and not in alignment with you and your values. If that is the case I would limit the amount of time that you spend with them for your own wellbeing.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty!

 Your Tribe

If you have a support network utilise it. Anyone in your life who cares about you will be happy to listen to you and they will be understanding. Reach out to those people who you know you can rely on.

Invite friends and family round if you don’t feel up to leaving the house. You are not a burden on anyone.

Arrange a night in with your favourite movie or comedy. Laughter is the best medicine and it is known to release endorphins that give you the ‘feel good factor’

Even by staying in and seeing people if it makes you feel more positive and less anxious then it’s a forward step. As you feel more relaxed over time you may find yourself coping better in social situations.

Hug the people you care about and gain some comfort in return as It helps  to lower Cortisol levels, which is a hormone that causes stress.

As Neil Diamond perfectly put it;

“Hands, touching handsReaching out, touching me, touching you”

( Sweet Caroline)

This may be way before your time ha, ha! It’s an iconic song 😉

Team Work Hands Together

How to Help Social Anxiety in 8 Easy Steps

Hungover Man

1. Reduce or Limit Alcohol/Drugs & Caffeine

Doing this will help regulate your emotions. Alcohol can make you feel relaxed and uninhibited at first but then as the effects wear off it can leave you feeling anxious.

If you are going to drink alcohol, then red wine may be a better option as it contains Resveratrol which is a plant compound that has antioxidant qualities with an anti-stress benefit.

Prescribed drugs such as stimulants, antidepressants and thyroid medications could also be affecting your anxiety. Talk with your Healthcare Provider if you feel they could be affecting you.

Caffeine stimulates your fight or flight response and can make you feel jittery. Instead, you could try Ginger, Matcha or Maca root Powdered drinks.

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2. Exercise 

Exercise helps to release endorphins that make you feel good.

Running is a great way to clear your mind but, if you happen to be in work, it might not be that simple. For a quick fix explain you need a break and take a short walk outside.

You would be surprised how effective going for a walk is when you want to burn off some negative energy. It takes you away from the immediate situation and gives you a moment to yourself.

On a side note, Swimming, jogging and hiking are all excellent forms of exercise to help reduce social anxiety.

3. Do Breathwork

You will notice that your breathing can become erratic, leaving you feeling breathless. We want to try and control this to make you feel more relaxed.

TIP If you take in a deep breath through your nose until you can feel your tummy inflate, hold it for a few moments, then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Do this at least 3-4 times.

If you cannot manage this in your workspace because you feel too self-conscious you could always go to the toilet and take a few moments to control your breathing. This will help calm your central nervous system.

If you wanted to practice other forms of breathwork in your own time then you may like to try; Yoga, Tai Chi and Meditation as they help to reduce stress.

4. Get More Sleep

Social Anxiety can keep you awake at night, here are some actions you can take that might help your sleep routine.

Go to bed at the same time every night to help your Circadian Rhythm.

Avoid Caffeine and alcohol before bed.

Limit Screen time – Read a book or listen to Audible. It saves your eyes when you’re tired.

Audible Check Price on Amazon there are membership options to suit your reading requirements. whether you want to read one book a month or multiple.

Avoid Naps.

Don’t eat too late – Food takes three hours to digest and this helps prevent acid reflux and indigestion.

Try to avoid spicy foods and sugary snacks.

Meditate – There are free videos on YouTube that just require you to press play. Get some headphones and listen with your eyes closed on a low volume.  Find a comfortable position and focus on all the muscles in your body relaxing as you sit or lay there.

5. Stay Hydrated

The brain is made up of approximately 85% water, so it is so important to stay hydrated. Try to avoid sweet, sugary drinks and drinks that dehydrate you.

Did you know that water has natural calming properties? it can create feelings of relaxation. So, if you needed a little pep talk here it is.

Having a water bottle to hand is a really good way of reminding yourself to drink more and stay hydrated. I’ve found the best water bottles are the insulated and thermal ones. You can use them to keep your drinks hotter for longer in the cold weather and tasting fresher and cooler when its warm outside. Either way its a win win.

Thermal Water Bottle

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6. Be present in the moment 

Mindfulness makes you consciously aware of everything. This helps to still the mind to prevent future or past fears popping into your mind.

  • Try to focus on right now by observing your thoughts
  • Step out of autopilot – No Multitasking
  • Become aware of your surroundings
  • Check your breathing
  • Move at a steady pace – Take your time

7. Seek Advice from your Local GP / Healthcare Professional

Your GP will be able to assess your situation and make suggestions of support. This is not always in the form of medication there are counselling and CBT services available which can be highly beneficial. You decide on the course of action that suits you best.

8. Positive Affirmations

The mind is very powerful, and we want to reinforce positive thoughts to make us feel good and remove doubts. Affirmations take a negative thought and turn it into a positive one.

Whenever you feel your mind begin to worry and irrational thoughts creep in be mindful of this and repeat your affirmation to yourself ‘in your head’ at least three times. Make a list of fears and replace them all with how you would ideally like to feel.

Examples of growth Mindset Affirmations

  • I am capable of making new friends and meeting new people.
  • People do like me, and they are interested in what I have to say.
  • What I have to share is important.
  • People will enjoy spending time with me outside of work.
  • People are not judging me they are asking questions because they want to get to know me.

 You’ve got this!

We hope you found this article ” How to Help Anxiety in 8 Easy Steps Useful”

Sometimes the very thing you want to avoid is the one thing you need to face and it’s easier said than done.

Break the steps down if that works better for you and work through them all one by one, until you find your flow.

You could invest in a diary or journal to log your daily actions and how you feel to help you identify any changes and the triggers.

Ultimately the smaller steps you take towards the end goal the higher the likelihood of feeling better.

Consistency is key!

GOOD LUCK