You’re reading How to Beat Your Social Anxiety in 2020, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.
Bidding farewell to the past year and welcoming the next can be incredibly exciting and promising. If the thought of attending a New Year’s Eve bash leaves you with sweaty palms and heart palpitations, however, you’re not alone. About 15 million people in America, including myself, struggle with social anxiety. This disorder can make the new year an extremely stressful event.
Luckily, if you’ve resolved to beat your social anxiety in 2020, there is hope! Discover a few ways you can overcome your fears and reach your goals this coming year.
1. Keep a Journal
The simplest way to begin your journey to a less anxious social life is by keeping a journal. Write down your thoughts and feelings and regularly reflect on past entries to discover patterns. This technique will help you track your progress and realize when you’re falling back into old habits and negative thought patterns.
Journaling will also encourage you to work through anxious feelings. When left unchecked, these emotions can lead to stress and rumination, which create a downward spiral. However, you can minimize the roots of anxiety through focused examination, jotting down self-discoveries as you go. Try writing for at least five minutes each day.
You may consider penning your goals for the coming year. Take a self-assessment quiz to set a benchmark of where you are now. Then, create goals to improve your score. Try to make them as specific as possible, so you can accurately and consistently measure progress. As you accomplish each goal, retake the quiz and compare your results to previous scores.
2. Develop Healthy Habits
As you continue your journey of conquering social anxiety, it’s wise to create healthy habits, such as eating nutritious foods and getting plenty of exercise. Personally, these tasks reassure me that I’m doing everything in my power to ensure poor health doesn’t contribute to my anxiety. When I fill up on junk food and lock myself inside all day, I commit self-sabotage. These actions only make me feel worse about myself and my social life or, rather, lack thereof.
I heartily suggest creating a dietary and physical exercise routine and holding yourself accountable. Exercise is proven to help people living with social anxiety by reducing fatigue, improving concentration and boosting cognitive function. Physical activity also triggers the release of endorphins within your body, which improves your mood. The combined benefits are worth the effort of integrating exercise into your daily routine. When you feel better about yourself, you’ll feel more confident in social settings.
Diet also has a significant role in regulating your social anxiety symptoms. Caffeine, for instance, mimics the body’s fear response by inducing a faster heart rate and triggering anxiety. Dehydration can have the same effects. The brain’s thirst receptors tap into evolutionary instincts that compel us to find water, prompting anxiety and fear. As a result, it’s best to stay hydrated and refrain from drinking caffeine.
3. Get Help
About 36% of people report experiencing symptoms of social anxiety disorder for 10 years before finally seeking help. Of those who participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, 85% drastically improve or recover from their disorder. If you’re experiencing symptoms, don’t wait to get help. Many treatment programs, therapies and support groups exist to help you overcome your fears.
Many people who struggle with this mental illness develop a dependency on alcohol or drugs to alleviate symptoms. Self-medication can lead to addiction or abuse, as is the case with about 20% of social anxiety sufferers. Although alcohol indeed has the ability to make you more comfortable in social situations temporarily, it can also exacerbate feelings of irritability, depression and anxiety.
Medication may also be useful for some, though it works best alongside therapy or a treatment program. Ask your doctor if antidepressants are right for you. Additionally, you can use herbal supplements, such as Valerian root and melatonin, as a holistic approach to conquering social anxiety.
4. Put Yourself Out There
The most effective way to beat social anxiety is to get out there and mingle. Scary, right? It doesn’t have to be. Start slowly by saying hello to your neighbor or joining a local club. Doing something you enjoy or practicing small talk will allow you to interact with others and work on your social skills.
If you struggle with initiating conversations, try complimenting a stranger or friend on their outfit. You can also watch the nightly news to keep up on current events and gather small talk topics.
How to Become a Social Butterfly in 2020
Remember, beating social anxiety is a marathon, not a sprint. You can choose to be brave, even for one minute. Resist the urge to avoid social settings and commit yourself to stepping out of your comfort zone in small ways. One day soon, you’ll find yourself toasting the new year with friends by your side and a happy heart.
Jennifer Landis is a mom, wife, passionate freelance writer, and the blogger behind Mindfulness Mama. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.
You’ve read How to Beat Your Social Anxiety in 2020, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.