How Can I Become More Social With Social Anxiety And Shyness
For people who struggle with social anxiety or shyness, trying to figure out ways to be less socially anxious around others can become an all-consuming enterprise. The more you try to be less shy, the more self-aware you become. That only leads to more anxiety.
The first thing to know is that such feelings are normal. However, the feelings cannot be allowed to rule one's life if the goal is to overcome social anxiety. Overcoming is all about learning to work through negative thoughts and feelings so that you eventually control them.
So, how can you be less socially anxious around people? By committing to a few key strategies described below. Note that not all the strategies will work for every person. Try them, commit yourself to the ones that do work, and see what happens.
Commit to Regular Socialising
Social anxiety can become a vicious cycle if it is not nipped in the bud. The cycle begins by avoiding social interaction. Later, you feel bad about yourself and your avoidance. The next event comes up and, because you dwell on what happened the last time, you avoid participating yet again.
The way to break the cycle is by committing to regular socialising. Put events on your calendar and ask people to hold you accountable. Don't allow yourself to be among the nearly half of all Brits who get together with friends and family no more than once per month.
Limit Your Screen Time
Research data released in the summer of 2019 revealed that 88% of young adults report experiencing some degree of loneliness. This, despite the fact that the younger generation is more connected than ever before through social media. Perhaps the detached nature of the screen is fuelling their feelings of loneliness.
Help yourself by committing to less screen time. The less time you spend on social media should translate to more time spent with people in person. Spending less time on your phone also means you are less likely to compare yourself to others as often. You'll have less of a tendency to believe everyone else's life is perfect while yours is not.
Participate in Every Setting
Overcoming social anxiety is a lot like learning to ride a bike. You have to get on and start pedalling. If you fall off, you have to pick yourself up and try again. You do this by making a commitment to participate in every social setting.
Participation often involves sharing your thoughts with others. It involves speaking up, letting your opinions be known, and giving feedback to others through conversation. This can be the toughest part of being socially anxious and will seem impossible until your goals are achieved. Overcoming it often yields the best results.
Eat Fewer Meals Alone
There is something about eating that lends itself well to social interaction. As such, it used to be that eating meals together was more about socialisation than nutrition. People would spend hours around the dinner table enjoying good food and conversation.
Unfortunately, the pressures of the modern world have far too many people eating on the go or dining alone at home. You can change that dynamic and give yourself more opportunities to practice being social by making a commitment to eat fewer meals alone. Plan to have meals with friends as often as you can. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, either. Remember, it is about getting together to enjoy one another's company more than anything else.
The underlying component in all of these strategies is practice. The more often you practice being social, the less socially anxious you should be. Time is your friend here. Practising should, in the long term, help you completely overcome your anxiety.