5 Tools I Use to Overcome Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is something that I’ve always had. I’ve always been more of the “wall-flower” types and I’ve always felt comfortable blending into the background. I often feel like I want to barricade myself in my house and not ever come out. I don’t feel like talking to people, I don’t even feel like being in the vicinity of other people. Being around and socializing with people peaks my anxiety through the roof.
Anxiety wasn’t ever something that my family talked about so I never really knew what it was. I didn’t think that I had anxiety at all. I just thought that I needed more self-confidence. I tried to tell myself that if I just believed in myself more I would stop being uncomfortable around people and be less awkward. I had absolutely no idea…
A few years ago I decided that I would talk to my doctor about the sadness I was feeling all the time. I wasn’t feeling up to doing the things I used to love and I found it hard to even get out of bed every morning. Worst of all, that social nervousness that I had experienced my entire life had gotten almost unmanageable. I was literally scared out of my mind to be around people. I couldn’t even go grocery shopping.
My doctor prescribed me antidepressants and told me that it is very common for people who have depression to have anxiety. They often go hand-in-hand. He told me the medicine should help with the anxiety as well. I started taking the antidepressants and while they seemed to help with my mood, I didn’t see as much improvement in isolating myself from others. When I talked to my doctor about this in a later appointment he told me that it would take some time but also effort on my part to see significant improvement.
With what my doctor told me in mind, I set out to find ways to help me feel better about being around people. I was determined to learn how to cope with being around people. I wanted to want to be around my family and friends again.
I was able to find 5 ways to help me cope with my anxiety of being around people:
I know that some people view having an earbud in one ear and listening to people with the other ear as rude or inconsiderate, but it honestly helps calm my anxiety in stressful social settings. When I feel a flare of panic, I focus on the music and control my breathing. I love having music as a kind of distraction in social settings. Quite a few times it has helped me to forget to be anxious at all!
I’ve heard many times that anxiety and depression go hand in hand. After experiencing both I totally agree with that. When I am taking my anti-depressants, my anxiety is not as bad as it usually is. I find that I can actually think around my anxiety instead of only being able to focus on what is causing my anxiety.
I find that I am a lot more tolerant and relaxed when I meditate regularly. I am able to stop thinking about everything that is going on in my life and focus becoming more in tune with my body. My favorite way to meditate is by guided meditation. I love to use an app called Stop, Breathe & Think. They have amazing meditations, and the best part is there are a ton of free ones!
For me, putting myself out there was incredibly scary. I knew that the more I was around people, the easier it would become. This is definitely not the easiest thing to do. I have found that it does work for me. The more I go out, the easier it gets.
5. Essential Oils
I love essential oils. If I can find any reason to use them I will. In this particular situation, I feel that essential oils have helped me out a whole lot. If I start to feel uncomfortable or sense my anxiety rising when I’m in a public place I’ll put some lavender or chamomile (mixed with a carrier oil) right behind my ear and down to my jaw. When I put either lavender or chamomile oil on, I start to feel better almost immediately. Aromatherapy is a wonderful thing!
So now you know the 5 tools I use to overcome my social anxiety. They aren’t all easy and they aren’t all instantaneous. I feel that being around people might always be something that I struggle with. I just want to be able to make it less of a struggle for myself. I’ve found that if I put in the work, I am able to make life so much easier for myself.
Thanks so much for reading. I hope this post helped you! If you have different ways that help you in overcoming social anxiety, I’d love to hear them!
Lots of love,