It’s the middle of the workday, and you can’t focus. Again. What will I say? You wonder. Will people like me? Will I make a fool of myself?
These thoughts can be so intrusive and disruptive. Lately, it seems like they are popping up more frequently just before the weekly team meeting or the post-work happy hour you’ve been invited to. While the fears or questions may vary, the reason is always the same: your social anxiety might be getting the best of you.
If you’re someone who experiences social anxiety, you know that it can be debilitating and make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. You may avoid all social situations or only go to a few that are “safe.” This means everyday activities like going to the grocery store can feel overwhelming and terrifying, let alone attending a party or small get-together.
If you’ve ever wished you could feel more calm and confident in social settings, check out these dos and don’ts from our bonmente team.
DO go out for cocktails with your colleagues.
DON'T drink to feel at ease.
It can be difficult to face your fears, but your anxiety and social life will improve if you put yourself out there and face your social anxiety head-on.
This may all sound counterintuitive, but you will eventually feel more at ease in social settings the more experience you get. You will not, however, feel more at ease the more you drink to dull your worries. Instead, you may end up feeling more anxious and isolated.
Whether it’s cocktails with your colleagues or a friend date to yoga, start saying yes to more invitations to do new things and saying no to unhelpful coping mechanisms.
DO counter your fears with positive self-talk.
DON'T compare yourself to others.
When you’re feeling anxious, it’s easy to fall into a negative thought spiral where you only focus on all the ways you think you’re not good enough. When everyone else seems to be carrying on just fine, and you feel alone or rejected, combat these negative thoughts by counteracting them with positive self-talk.
For example, if you’re thinking, “I’m so shy and boring, no one is ever going to want to talk to me,” try to counter that with “I am an interesting person, and I have a lot of great stories worth hearing.“
DO get yourself out there.
DON'T hide behind your phone when you do.
In today’s world, hiding behind your phone when feeling anxious in social situations is too easy. But this will only make you feel more isolated and won’t help you build the confidence you need to face your fears.
So instead of using your phone as a crutch, put it away and focus on being present. Talk to the people around you, make eye contact, and engage in conversation.
Do reach out for professional support.
DON'T go it alone.
It can be difficult to open up about your social anxiety, but finding professional support can make all the difference.
“Anxiety is a highly treatable mental illness,”
said Mottsin Thomas, a psychiatrist at bonmente.”With the right combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes, patients can take control of their anxiety and lead better lives.”
If you’re unsure where to start, begin with an evaluation from our trusted team. We promise, getting a psychiatric evaluation is it not as scary as it sounds.
You don’t have to push through the symptoms of social anxiety alone – let’s come up with a treatment plan just for you.