3 Tips to Overcome Social Anxiety
Not everyone is a social butterfly and for many of us, the prospect of being in a social situation where we have to meet new people is daunting. If you’re one of these people, then make this the year you free yourself from social anxiety and wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to engage with different people. To help you get there, here are three key ways to help you improve your self confidence in social situations.
Work on your self esteem and create a positive outlook
Human beings are universally attracted to confident people, but having a healthy sense of self worth is a hard won skill that many people struggle with into adulthood. If you cannot value, respect and believe in yourself, then it becomes difficult for other people to do the same and means they are less likely to engage with you.
Building up a positive outlook and becoming confident in your skills as a social and compassionate being are key to becoming comfortable in social situations. Make a daily practice of reflecting on your strengths, and work on your negative self-talk, if you find that you’re beating yourself up, reframe yourself talk to how you would speak a to a good friend, kindly and compassionately. If you make an effort to do this, it will become easier to come across as positive, engaging, and genuine in social situations.
Hone your social skills
If you take the time to observe socially confident people, you’ll notice that they do certain things which facilitate great conversation by making someone feel valued and heard. A lot of the social skills they exhibit can be learned and are well worth reading up on as they are not necessarily things we do instinctively. Some of the key social skills which will help you feel confident and have positive interactions can include:
- Body language: If you’re anxious, your body language signals how you’re feeling to the other people in the room before you even say a word and this tends to mean people are less willing to engage with you. Send a message of confidence by standing tall with your shoulders back, arms in an open psoture and making frequent eye contact when speaking with someone to indicate you are listening and interested in what they have to say.
- Articulation: If people find it hard to hear you or understand what you’re saying, then they’re less willing to keep the conversation going. Make sure you speak clearly and at a reasonable pace so that the other person can understand what you’re saying and really get involved in the conversation. If you notice yourself speaking too fast just take a breath and slow down.
- Listening and taking an interest: people love to talk about themselves and appreciate it when they feel that their voice is being heard and considered. One of the biggest anxieties many people experience in social situations is a fear of having to carry a conversation, or having nothing to say, but in reality all you need to do is be an active listener and ask considered questions based on what they have said to effectively engage with the other person.
Put yourself out there
The best way to become more confident and comfortable in social situations is to take up social opportunities as they arise and set yourself the challenge of starting a conversation with someone. Practice different conversational approaches at home with your family or friends and if you’re still feeling uncomfortable about starting a conversation with a stranger, having a friend introduce you can make it feel less confronting.
Everyone suffers from bouts of nerves in social situations from time to time, but if you find yourself curbing your activities or unable to participate in social situations due to your social anxiety, then you may benefit from professional help. I offer a range of strategies to help people overcome social anxiety. Book in a free 15 minute chat if you’d like to know more.