Do you feel anxious while having small talk? Is there a sense of discomfort when you’re around people you haven't met? Do you fear speaking in public?
Many people do. That’s how social anxiety looks like in daily life. We are all be prisoners of our doubts, insecurities and irrational fears until we do something about it to break this irrational fear.
Here are 7 ways to take control of your social life and overcome shyness.
1. Define your self-limiting beliefs.
It’s the barriers we’ve created ourselves that prevent us from having a good social life.
We build mental barriers. They include our fears, our doubts, our the need for attention and our anxiety that leads to us constantly trying to guess what others are thinking because we are seeking their approval.
It’s time to destroy these limiting beliefs by thinking rationally. Realize that your mind is imagining your anxiety, and that the fear is irrational.
First understand that we are conditioned to feel being caste out of our social circle because ages ago, being cast out of a tribe meant almost certain death. Today, we can find another tribe almost with no effort.
- What do you feel when the anxieties come up?
- Which thoughts race through your mind when you're about to meet somebody new?
Try to figure out the answers to these questions. The first step is to define the exact limiting beliefs that are holidng you back. Then you can move on to solving the problem.
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2. You’re not alone.
Keep in mind the fact that the person in front of you might be feeling the same way. It's hard to tell if someone is feeling socially anxious just by lookin at them.
Even the most confident public speakers at conferences have restless nights the day before speaking at a big event. You're certainly not alone, although it may seem so sometimes - many people feel anxious in social situation
. Actually, I'd wager everybody does, at least occasionally, and that's ok.
Read also: 7 Ways to Have Great Friendships.
3. Repeat positive affirmations for confidence.
Mantras are simple positive statements that you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. And especially right before you speak with someone.
Doing something as little as saying to yourself:
- I’m confident in my social skills and can easily approach anyone!
- I am full of energy and enthusiasm.
- I love to meet new people.
- I always feel at ease with myself around others.
- Everything is possible and life is amazing.
Repeating these affirmations on a daily basis can make a big difference in the long run. Give it a try!
4. Try the mirror technique.
This is a powerful exercise many successful people swear by. It can significantly improve your self-esteem and make you feel comfortable in your skin.
All you need to do is stand in front of the mirror and repeat to yourself the confidence affirmations we just talked about.
Look yourself in the eyes. Mind your posture and let your body language speak for itself - hold a powerful posture and speak with an self assured voice while holding a big smile.
You can repeat this exercise two times a day - every morning and every evening. Even a couple minutes a day can give you results in no time.
5. Practice whenever possible.
With practice comes confidence.
- Talk with people as often as you can.
- Make it a habit of yours to approach a new person at least once a day.
Soon you will feel more comfortable doing that. With every new person you meet, you’ll gain experience and will improve your social skills.
Start with the salespeople. Ask them about various products you might be interested in. They are easy to approach and it is their job to talk to you and help you out. It's a great way to make that step - one that isn't too intimidating.
6. Act without thinking.
When you’re around people, don’t think too much before speaking to them. Your mind shouldn’t have any time to come up with excuses or play a scenario of “what if I say something stupid”.
Simply say “Hi!” to the person next to you. Ask something. Be around them. The point is to be comfortable with yourself when you’re not alone, and you can only get comfortable when you know you'll survive any encounter, no matter how "stupid" or anxious you felt during it.
People focus on themselves and will forget pretty much anything you've done (even if they notice it) within minutes.
7. Accept failure as an opportunity.
You will make many mistakes in the beginning.
- You will ruin conversations.
- You will put people off at times.
- Maybe you won’t come up with anything interesting to say.
- You will be afraid to look the person you've just met in the eyes.
- There’s also the chance of forgetting everything you had to say.
- You could even catch yourself blushing.
Be okay with that. No one was born a master. Some of us are more social than others and can adapt more easily. But we all improve by failing and trying again.
And you know what? Even the most social savy people make the same exact mistakes at times. They're just ok with making those mistakes, and move on momentarily.
Every time you make a mistake, simply keep going – each time it gets a bit easier.
Think positively: even if you make a mistake, the next time you have a conversation with someone you will know exactly what not to say or not to do.
Some people choose to focus on failure and relive the embarrassing situations over and over. They feel disappointed and defeated.
You shouldn't! It may be cliche, but reall - the only true defeat is giving up. As long as you get out there and talk to someone else today, you’re still on the right track, no matter the outcome.
Mistakes are our biggest opportunities. They give us the experience and knowledge we need to get better in social settings.
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Give these 7 techniques a try and social anxiety won’t be a problem to you anymore.
How do you handle social anxiety? Do you have any tips to add that we've missed? Help us and our readers out - share your thoughts in the comments. We love to read them!