Many people suffer from social anxiety. The thought of going out and interacting with others is terrifying. These people stay home most of the time and have few friends. If they are in a relationship with kids, they live in a bubble, only interacting with their immediate family. At one point my anxiety was so bad that I never left the house and I developed agoraphobia. If I left the house, I would get a panic attack. Social anxiety can be debilitating. I have a few suggestions here of ways to combat social anxiety (or any anxiety for that matter).
1.) Create a God box
On an ongoing basis, one thing that is helpful is to have a “God box.” What is a God box? A God box is literally a box where you write down all your worries and put them in the box. The idea is that God (or whom/whatever you believe in) will take care of whatever is bothering you once you put your worry in the box. Every once in a while go through your box and see what things you have let go of completely and throw those pieces of paper out.
2.) Reframe Your Internal Story
Another stumbling block for those that suffer from (social) anxiety is the negative story that they tell themselves. If you suffer from panic attacks, your story may be that you don’t want to embarrass yourself by having a panic attack in public. You may tell yourself that you are boring and won’t have anything to say to anyone. What is the story that you tell yourself that prevents you from going out and socializing? The idea is to rewrite your narrative to something more positive. If you tell yourself that you are boring and don’t have anything to say, try telling yourself, “I am a very interesting person and I have a lot to say.”
3.) Repeat a mantra over and over
Before you go out and when you are out, repeat a mantra that helps calm you down. What you tell yourself is up to you. Make sure it is something that speaks to you. I like to say to myself, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This gives me the courage to do the things that I am afraid of. Another good mantra is to just tell yourself, “I am ok. I can do this.”
4.) Visualize a successful outing
5.) Exercise before you go out
Finally, before you go out, do a bit of exercise. This will help your body release any nervous energy that you may have. You can go for a quick walk around the block, do some push-ups or jumping jacks, or whatever you feel like doing. If you exercise on a regular basis, you won’t have as much anxiety in general.
What is holding you back?
What is holding you back from going out and being sociable? Getting out can be nerve-racking, but once you do it, you may just have some fun. Try these suggestions and let me know if any of them helped.