5 Ways to cope with social anxiety
Social anxiety can creep up on the best of us. While many of us have the occasional bout of self-doubt, social anxiety can stick like an ugly glue. It can start redefining who we are, the choices we make, and how we percieve the very world around us.
Therefore, if you’re suffering from social anxiety, it’s important to fight back with everything you’ve got. The conversation around mental health is growing at university and beyond, and resources are coming to light that can help you.
Consequently, here’s 5 ways to cope with social anxiety.
Keep your friends close…
It might seem like a generic point to start with, but it’s importance cannot be understated. Anxiety can mess with your mind; it can make you feel that your friends are enemies in disguise and that the whole world is against you. It’s times like these when you need to picture the reality of your situation more strongly.
Sometimes, just remembering that your friends and family care deeply about you can be enough to make you value yourself. For this reason, you should keep your friends close to you. It doesn’t need to be literally either. Just knowing they’re a phone call or text message away might help, rather than going dark and shutting yourself off from the world. You’ll feel less alone, and more like you belong.
Moreover, you might find yourself building up an awful interaction in your head, only to be surprised by how it goes down in reality. In the end, the distinction between what might happen and will happen needs to be realised with every passing day, and your friends will help you figure that out through their compassion.
…And your enemies far away
Social anxiety can be made worse when the wrong people are around, such as bullies or any other people you just don’t get on with. These people need to be eliminated from your life as cleanly and quickly as possible. No mess, no fuss and more importantly, no drama.
If you can’t do this (such as if you attend the same classes or work together), then simply mute them as much as possible. Keep them out of your phonebook and away from your social media accounts. This will help stop their negativity spreading into your personal life, especially when you’re at home unwinding or calming down.
All in all, you know who is good for you and who isn’t. It’s a really deep, primal feeling. The people who only add negativity and problems to your life need to vanish, preferably as quietly as possible. Don’t stir hatred or start trading insults, just stay away from them.
It’s a common fact that the environment can influence how a person interprets the world around them. Whether it’s architectural influence or just the layout of a room, it can all contribute to what you think and feel. Consequently, you should use this notion to your advantage.
If you often find yourself sat in your room when social anxiety strikes, it can be easy to feel lonely and miserable. Try to fight this feeling by asking yourself; does this room really represent who I am? Is it a prison I make do with, or is it the place that is most me? The answers could possibly have a quite an impact!
Slap your favourite colours across the walls and add some new quirks to the space. ‘Invisible’ bookshelves, for example, can make it look as if your books are floating in the air against the wall! It might seem irrelevant and pointless, but sometimes the little nuances of a room can really take your mood a long way. If you’re in a space you truly adore, you may just find it easier to adore yourself too!
Take a moment
In your lowest moments, it can be tough to remember what you enjoy about life. Social anxiety does a great job at taking over your thoughts and turning them into less than helpful actions; turning your phone off for long periods, shutting yourself off away from the world, etc. While quick breaks from social situations can be useful, prolonged periods of isolation generally aren’t.
To counter this sense of disconnect, take a moment for yourself. Whether it’s closing your eyes and calmly counting to ten, meditating or writing a list of all the things you’re thankful for, having a few moments to slow down and reflect can really help. Think of them as little rest stops to break up your day that can replace long withdrawal periods. This way, you get your ‘me time’ in little chunks without jeapordising a productive routine too much.
Moreover, you could go for a walk by yourself. Fresh air will help you clear your mind and may ease you into a state of being more relaxed. If you’re feeling cramped, confined and stuck with your anxiety, then some exploration can remind you how big and wonderful the world really is.
Film, television, literature; they all help us to get lost in fictional worlds. Whether it’s fantasy fiction, science fiction, crime, thrillers, horror texts and movies, each genre will transport you to a place and time that’s not your own.
It’s a cheesy point to make, but when you’re suffering from social anxiety, stories can put you back in touch with what matters in the world. The strength of a protagonist can inspire you, and an evil villain can remind you that you’re not such a bad person after all! In the end, certain characters can be the friends we all wished we had in the real world, and stories can be a real comfort.
Furthermore, you could get lost in the real world and go travelling. Sometimes, the best results are revealed from stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Learning new languages and meeting not only new people but new kinds of people might just give you that jolt to move past your anxiety. Are you discovering a new life, or taking a break from your usual one? There’s a rewarding sense of liberty either way; if you can travel, you can do anything!