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If you struggle with social anxiety, read this

According to the Social Anxiety Institute, social anxiety is the fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people leading to feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, self-consciousness, embarrassment, humiliation and depression. People struggling with a social anxiety disorder experience emotional distress while being introduced to other people, being teased or simply going around the room in a circle and having to say something.  If you relate to this definition, read these five tips to help you manage your social anxiety.

1. Schedule time by yourself
Understand your limits. If you are making yourself go to a party one night, spend 1-2 hours beforehand by yourself to relax and mentally prepare. You want to push yourself to do things, but not to the point where you feel like your loosing your nerve.

2. Leave your comfort zone
If you left it up to your social anxiety, you would stay indoors at all times-only leaving the house to grab some food from the closet fast food restaurant. Don’t let it control you. You control it. Ninety percent of the time you probably won’t feel like going over to your bestie’s house for a sleepover, but you should make yourself go. Don’t let social anxiety keep you from having fun.

3. Don’t avoid the things that make you anxious  
It only fuels your anxiety. You may feel a brief moment of relief when you cancel plans with your friends, but you’ll continue to feel anxious about it when the next group hang out happens. If you go, you will probably have a good time and won’t be as anxious the next time.

4. Understand the problem 
If you need to do a little research on social anxiety, do that. Make sure you understand this mental disorder so you set realistic goals and expectations during your journey of overcoming anxiety. Social anxiety doesn’t just go away like being nervous does. It’s a disorder and should be treated with therapy or in some cases medication.

5. Try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT helps you learn new ways to manage your anxiety and/or depression. According to the Social Anxiety Institute, it’s the most effective way to overcome social anxiety. So, it’s worth a shot. Of course there are medications that help alleviate anxiety. If you want to explore the different medications, talk to your doctor.

BONUS: Here are a couple mantras to repeat to yourself when you start to feel anxious: 

+ Nobody is perfect
+ I can’t please everyone
+ I’m not responsible for this entire conversation
+ Do I have any evidence to support these thoughts?

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by Joy Cato | 6/7/2018
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