As the pandemic comes to a close, many people feel as though they are out of practice when it comes to socializing. If you are one of these people who feels more anxious than usual when it’s time to go out and socialize, you’re not alone. However, if you’re feeling as though your anxiety is getting the best of you when it’s time to go out, then this might mean you have a social anxiety disorder.

There are many kinds of social anxiety disorders, each with its own level of severity. Social anxiety can negatively affect your relationship with friends and family, and it can also have negative impacts on your dating life. But what are some ways to overcome your social anxiety? Read on to learn some tips and tricks that can help you feel more comfortable in social situations.

Practice Public Speaking

As we previously stated, social anxiety disorders can come in different levels of severity. If your social anxiety is at more of a mild or moderate level (for example, your social anxiety doesn’t give you panic attacks) then practicing public speaking is a good first step. There are a number of apps and groups available to anyone that can help improve public speaking, and it can help you feel more comfortable when talking in social settings.

tips for overcoming social anxiety

Gradually Introduce Yourself to Anxiety-Inducing Situations

It can be hard, but gradually exposing yourself to anxiety-inducing situations can be very beneficial. You can start by identifying certain situations that make you anxious and work your way from easier settings to harder settings. For example, if you have a fear of large groups, you can start by going out with a friend one-on-one. Do this with multiple friends, and then graduate to a small group of friends. Once you get comfortable enough, then you can try going to a club or a restaurant where there would be more people. These kinds of techniques are done in exposure therapy which can be provided by trained psychologists just like CBT can.

Ask Your Support System For Help

Although you may feel embarrassed to ask your support system for help, telling a friend or family member about what you’re going through can provide you with a significant boost. Having someone you know around in a social setting can help you feel more comfortable too, especially if you’ve been isolated for a long time.

The important thing about finding support is helping an anxious person become more independent as time goes on. If social anxiety continues, it can worsen to a point where someone is uncomfortable shopping or ordering food by themselves. There should be a balance between supporting a loved one with social anxiety and encouraging them to do things for themselves. Include them in conversations, and try to do your best to respectfully break them out of their shell.

tips for overcoming social anxiety

Check On Yourself

If you’re in public and your start feeling nervous, it’s easy to fixate on what you think is going wrong and spiral into a dark place. When this begins to happen, try thinking outside of yourself and remind yourself that you’re just feeling anxious, and you can’t read people’s minds. Of course, this is easier said than done, so you can try using the “five senses” technique to check in with yourself and get more externally focused. This will help distract you from any unpleasant feelings that you may feel while also helping you refocus on what is going on around you. Ask yourself things like, “What are these people really saying to me? What can I see? What can I feel? What can I hear?” By taking your focus away from your negative feelings, you’ll begin to feel more calm and present in social settings.