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Unlocking Social Confidence: 3 Proven Strategies to Beat Social Anxiety

social anxiety
Ever find yourself trapped in the clutches of social anxiety, where the mere thought of a social gathering sends shivers down your spine?
If so, you’re not alone.

Social anxiety isn’t confined to new and unfamiliar social situations; it’s a chameleon that can rear its head anywhere there’s a potential for perceived judgment – be it in the workplace, at home with the family, or even at the gym.

For many grappling with social anxiety, the symptoms, such as sweaty palms, chest tightness, and racing thoughts, seem to strike arbitrarily, mostly in social settings. The prevailing belief is that anxiety has control over them.

Which suggests that the issue isn’t anxiety itself but rather a matter of focus. What I’m getting at is that a significant portion of your attention is absorbed by dwelling on the problem, leaving minimal room for considering potential solutions.

Social anxiety thrives on the fear of judgment, criticism, and the haunting prospect of making a fool of oneself. At its core, social anxiety is a relentless judgment game. What will they think of me? What might they say? It’s like having a hyperactive thought factory in your mind – a phenomenon we, in the therapy world, label as ‘internal orientation.’ This means being so engrossed in our own mental chatter that we struggle to be present for others.

This internal focus becomes a barrier to expressing ourselves authentically in the moment, as our minds become over-filtered and hinder our ability to communicate effectively. It’s a vicious cycle – the more we focus on the problem, the more anxiety it breeds.

The first revelation in overcoming social anxiety is realising that it’s not a fixed entity but a dynamic process. Instead of dwelling on why it happened, we shift our focus to how it operates. Delving into the historical roots of your social anxiety might provide insights, but the real breakthrough lies in understanding your thought patterns and processes.

Social anxiety is not an external monster with control over us; it’s an internal process triggered by our responses to certain thoughts and feelings. Recognising this is crucial because our response is what we get to control. If we continue to view anxiety as an elusive beast, we relinquish our power. However, if we understand that anxiety is exacerbated by paying attention and intently focusing on certain types of thoughts, then ‘bingo’ – we have an opportunity to control that space.

This shift is pivotal, as it empowers us to take charge of our responses. Enter therapy, where modalities like hypnotherapy and strategic psychotherapy come into play. Rather than battling an external force, these therapeutic approaches guide us in understanding and redirecting our internal processes. They equip us with the tools to reshape our responses, allowing us to navigate social situations with confidence and poise.

Here are three strategies to help you overcome your social anxiety:

  1. Challenge Your Thoughts and Feelings: Retrain your relationship with your brain. Not all thoughts are valid or useful. Ask yourself: Is the thought valid? Is it useful? If not, let it go! Consider alternative thoughts that support you in the situation.
  2. Engage Self-Compassion: Cultivate a kinder relationship with yourself. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes, and others face challenges in social situations. Treat yourself with the kindness you’d offer a friend, alleviating harsh self-judgment.
  3. Social Skills Building: Enhance your social toolkit by actively working on social skills. Set small, achievable goals to initiate conversations, maintain eye contact, or navigate group dynamics. Regular practice will expand your comfort zone.

Social anxiety is a process, and changing your response gives you the ability to develop social skills. If you’re ready for change, book a free 20-minute curiosity call to explore clinical hypnosis and strategic psychotherapy for yourself.

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