5 Strategies to Manage Your Social Anxiety

Explore some simple ways to cope with social anxiety, like speaking to a therapist in MD or setting small social goals for yourself

Social anxiety is not an uncommon form of anxiety, many people experience some anxiety when it comes to large social gatherings. Whether it is a friend’s wedding or a party where you only know a few people, it is often difficult to comfortably adjust to large crowds and unfamiliar settings. Some people may even have anxiety about speaking about important issues with their close friends or to their therapist in MD. If you are someone who experiences high levels of anxiety in most social situations, you may be experiencing social anxiety.

Social anxiety is a condition that affects millions of adults in the United States and is defined by an overwhelming sense of fear related to social gatherings. Often the source of fear for social anxiety is embarrassment or perceived negative reactions from other people. For example, a person with social anxiety may feel that everyone is judging them based on their physical appearance or that everyone they speak to is secretly bored with their conversation. In this article, we’ll go over some of the best strategies to combat social anxiety and stay calm even in potentially triggering situations.

Speak To A Therapist in Maryland

A therapist in MD will be able to work through your negative thought patterns that lead to social anxiety

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Teletherapy is an excellent idea for those who are anxious about meeting their therapist in person.

If you are someone who suffers from social anxiety, it is often hard to open up to others out of fear of judgement. However, a therapist in MD is someone you can trust to listen, empathize, and provide an individualized care plan to help you get back out there. Despite the benefits of therapy, many with social anxiety may still be concerned about judgement from their therapist. If you have anxiety about confiding in a therapist, remember it is their job to help you overcome negative feelings, no to reinforce them. If you are uncomfortable confessing your feelings face to face, you can consider online therapy. Online therapy can help you ease into talking about your feelings without the pressure of an in person interaction. Eventually, after you have gotten to know your therapist, you can make the jump from online to in person therapy.

Set Small Social Goals for Yourself

You and your therapist can create a list of achievable goals to build up your social confidence

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Start small, then set more advanced social goals for yourself.

After you have consulted with your therapist, it is time to set some goals for yourself to begin to feel more comfortable in social settings. This may be the most difficult step in overcoming social anxiety. However, there are many small steps you can take to get more comfortable around crowds. Not only that, but the thrill of achievement after you have reached your goal is also reassuring. We’ve compiled a list of a few goals that you can set for yourself to start tackling your social anxiety in the real world. 

  • Think of a funny story and tell it to a group of people you don’t know
  • Start a conversation by telling people your opinions about a movie, book or TV show
  • Go to a party with a trusted friend
  • Make a toast
  • Practice social skills in everyday situations, like making small talk with the cashier at the grocery store
  • Go to a movie or get something to eat by yourself to get used to being in a large crowd
  • Invite a few friends over to your house
  • Say “yes” to plans that involve being out in public and make sure you follow through

If these situations seem intimidating to you, good! It is important to set goals that will challenge you and ultimately help you build confidence in social situations.

Challenge Negative Thought Patterns

People are not as critical as your anxiety will tell you they are

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Creating new thought patterns sometimes feels like an uphill battle.

When you are in a social situation that makes you uncomfortable, whether it be overstimulating or downright awkward, anxious thoughts can begin to start up. Many who experience social anxiety feel as though those around them are constantly judging them. It is important to challenge these negative thoughts as they can amplify non threatening situations and lead to high levels of social anxiety. When thoughts like “Everyone must think I am so stupid for that comment” or “Everyone is being nice because they feel bad for me” it is important to take note of what they mean and when they come up. By training yourself to question and dispel these negative thoughts, you will be able to work through your anxiety as it bubbles up and maintain calm through stressful social situations.

Try Writing Down Your Anxious Thoughts

Keeping a journal will give you some perspective

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Keeping a journal is important for self reflection.

In the previous section, we discussed taking stock of the negative thoughts that interfere with having a positive social experience. Something you can do to combat these thoughts after they occur is to write them down. If there are certain situations that trigger anxious thoughts, write them down after you get home. You may notice some patterns and can identify what causes your social anxiety. By writing down your thoughts and keeping track of them, you are able to anticipate and reject negative thought patterns in the future.

Breathe Deeply

Therapeutic breathing exercises will help you stay calm in the moment

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Deep breathing exercises help center you and distract from anxious thoughts.

Sometimes social anxiety can be so gripping that we can literally forget to breathe regularly. It may sound impossible, but the fear associated with social anxiety can be extremely powerful. However, if you remember the way anxiety affects your breathing, you can start using breathing exercises to slow down anxious thoughts. Start by counting how long you inhale and exhale. Try your hardest to take deeper breaths each time you inhale to make sure you are getting a good amount of oxygen and not hyperventilating. Pay close attention to the sound of your breathing, which is often very calming. It can also be beneficial to count seconds on a watch or on a clock to time your inhales and exhales.

Next time you are feeling stressed out in a public setting, remember our tips to work through social anxiety. Soon, you’ll be on your way to enjoying social settings and making lasting connections with new people. If you are experiencing high levels of social anxiety, it is best to consult with your therapist in MD and discuss different treatment options. If you are interested in pursuing therapy or other psychiatric care for social anxiety, you can contact The Psych Associates of Maryland and schedule an appointment with a licensed professional.


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