In this article I will give some top social anxiety tips. I use hypnotherapy in London to help people reduce anxiety and social anxiety. For most people just a few sessions is enough to make wonderful positive shifts in thoughts and feelings. Get in touch today to discover more.
Five top social anxiety tips
Do you find social situations tough? You might fear others’ judgement, saying something silly or get nervous at work meetings, fearful of appearing anxious in front of others also. Use these tips and cope better with social anxiety. If you would like to really do well, consider a few sessions of hypnotherapy to get more into the causes and solutions to your feelings and anxious thoughts.
1. Redirect your attention elsewhere
Just like with many other forms of anxiety, it is easy to become hyper-focused with social anxiety. Another way to relate this experience is tunnel vision. When you start to feel anxious, you immediately, automatically, begin to lock-in on the source of your stress. The more you focus on it, the more your anxiety grows and it gets more and more overwhelming. The more it grows, the more attention you focus on it. It soon becomes a vicious circle, spiralling out of control. So, its good to notice that happening and step back.
And, such anxieties don’t just occur with unexpected things. It’s often something that you are expecting to happen that may trigger your social anxiety. For example, you have been invited to a party. Ad you are dreading this moment, but you can’t get out of it. Well, at least that’s what you thon. But of course you can always leave!
Instead of hyper-focusing on it, notice that your mind is doing that. Step back in your mind, take a deep breath and try distracting yourself from this anticipatory anxiety by:
Reading a book
Taking a walk
Playing a game
Practising a craft, such as woodworking or knitting
Of course, such distraction techniques won’t make the problem go away. However, in the moment, once you have diverted your focus, you will begin to feel less anxious. You can then maybe say some positive statements to yourself. Remind yourself you will be ok, that people are nice, friendly and you do have lots to share and that you are likeable. Then, you will be in a better place to address the problem and consider other ways to cope.
2. Learn breathing techniques
Mindful breathing techniques have received a lot of coverage for reducing stress and anxiety. That’s because conscious breathing is a very effective coping strategy. Mindfulness is something I often teach and will frequently give to people a short Mindfulness introductory course. There are also some really good mindfulness apps, such as Headspace. Hypnotherapy for social anxiety can also help you gain calm. When you practise focused breathing, you accomplish three things:
- You distract yourself from the anxiety by maintaining focus on your breath.
- By breathing slowly and intentionally, you lower your heart and respiratory rate.
- Slow, deep breathing sends safety signals to your body, reducing anxiety and feelings of panic.
Breathing exercises are easy to learn and can be applied just about anywhere at any time you feel anxious. One of the simplest is the 5-breath relaxation exercise. Why not give it a try?
5-breath relaxation exercise
- Sit comfortably, and bring your attention to your breath.
- Now inhale slowly, to a count of five.
- Hold the breath briefly, then breath out to a count of seven.
- Repeat for five breaths.
This exercise takes less than a minute, yet it has an immediate effect which lasts a lot longer. Practice it now, when you’re not anxious, so you have it in your toolbox for when you are.
3. Acknowledge your anxiety
It is important when you do feel anxious to acknowledge what you are feeling. Frequently, the feelings surrounding social anxiety seem overwhelming. They make you want to get as far away from the situation as possible so that they cease. Because of this, you feel out of control, but in reality you are not. Yet, you can begin to take back control by acknowledging your anxious feelings, and that that’s OK. Remember a feeling is just a feeling and can’t hurt or harm you.
The 5-breath relaxation above is a great way to stop and give yourself space to allow your feelings without them overwhelming you. I also recommend the Breathing app, which utilises the 5-breath technique. Of all social anxiety tips, this can be very calming and effective.
4. Apply new labels to your thinking
When you become anxious, you identify and label the emotions you are experiencing. We all do this throughout the day, either consciously or not. This labelling helps us to navigate not just social situations, but everything else in life. For example, if you are late for an appointment, you might feel jittery and rushed, which you recognise and label as feeling stressed.
However, many feelings are very similar to others, and anxiety is closely linked to excitement. Consider a thrill-ride at a fun-fair. Most people will approach a roller-coaster with a mixture of excitement and fear. They are two sides of the same coin, but the one you focus most upon tends to win. So, when you feel start to feel anxious, try using different a label to describe what you are experiencing. For instance, feeling “revved up” as opposed feeling “anxious.” You might be surprised how such a small change can have a big impact!
5. Be Compassionate with yourself and stay positive
A good social anxiety tip is to stop giving yourself a hard time over it. You might question why you feel this way while others do not, putting yourself down in the process. Such negative thinking often makes you feel inadequate, different, isolated, and alone.
However, it is important to be compassionate and kind to yourself. What would you say to a friend experiencing the same anxiety? Would you be so hard on them? Try to find some joy each day and keep a positive attitude. You can even give yourself permission to laugh and find the humour in having social anxiety.
It can be touch getting through life with social anxiety. That’s why it’s important to use all the coping strategies and social anxiety tips listed above. Though, perhaps the most important strategy is to delve more deeply into why you have anxiety at all. So, a few hypnotherapy sessions could be just what you need. So, let’s now talk more about hypnotherapy and how it works.
Hypnotherapy and social anxiety
Hypnotherapy is a powerful tool that trains and communicates directly with our unconscious mind. It’s the subconscious that is the place or root of our behaviours, emotions, attitudes and motivations. Anxiety is really about those movies we play in our minds about how we will feel in a social situation. So, through hypnotherapy, we can look at those social anxiety thoughts, and change those inner movies and reduce anxious thoughts and feelings.
Hypnotherapy is a gentle and effective way of attaining personal goals and making lasting changes with ease. Hypnotherapy accesses memories, changes perception and creates improvements in our lives. These amazing transformations are achieved through the use of hypnosis, or direct communication with the unconscious mind.
Although we normally regard hypnosis as a trance-like state, it is actually a normal and natural altered state of consciousness. When you are in focused concentration, deeply absorbed in a movie, a book or conversation, this is really also a hypnosis like trance state. In fact, after experiencing hypnosis sessions, many people question whether they really have been hypnotised. This is because, although people expect it to be quite strange, hypnosis is quite a normal state, but can feel very relaxing and pleasant.
As compared with traditional counselling or psychotherapy, clients can often expect rapid improvement. Change happens even at the very first session for many.
Based on a study cited by American Health Magazine, a survey of psychotherapy literature by Alfred A. Barrios, Ph.D. revealed the following recovery rates:
• Psychoanalysis 38% recovery after 600 sessions
• Behaviour Therapy 72% recovery after 22 sessions
• Hypnotherapy 93% recovery after 6 sessions
Primarily I offer one-to-one counselling through hypnotherapy to facilitate changes for people who need assistance coping with life and towards individual betterment. If you enjoyed our social anxiety tips and would like to dig deeper into reducing social anxiety, get in touch today.