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15 Smart Hacks for Dealing with Social Anxiety

Do you aspire to fully embrace life, build connections, and relish every moment, yet find social anxiety a big barrier? Or, maybe the idea of engaging in social events feels daunting, but you are resolute in facing your fears. Rest assured, you’re not alone on this journey.

Social anxiety is a disorder (not the same as being shy) that affects 7% of American adults and can be crippling. It can be managed with the right tools and techniques. Some observers believe social anxiety is on the rise in our modern society, where social media and technology dominate our interactions, and we feel less dependent on each other.

Regardless of whether you feel frozen in fear in social circles or are just on the shyer side, there are ways to navigate through the challenges of social anxiety and lead a fulfilling life. Let’s explore 14 smart hacks for dealing with social anxiety.

1. Just Do it 

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It’s understandable if the thought of going to a party or speaking in front of a group makes you want to crawl under a rock, but avoiding social situations altogether can actually make your anxiety worse. Instead, try to push out of your comfort zone and attend events or engage in activities that make you feel nervous. Facing your fears will help you build confidence and reduce the intensity of your anxiety over time.

A lot of anxiety comes from asking, “What if?” Instead, challenge yourself to face your fears head-on. It’s easier said than done, but you can do it!

2. Be Friends With Extroverts

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Friendships between introverts and extroverts are fun and benefit both in some way. For someone with social anxiety, having a friend who can help draw them out of their shell and make connections with others can be incredibly beneficial.

Extroverts are often great at initiating conversation and including others in group activities, which can ease social anxiety symptoms. They can also take the pressure off you to carry the conversation or make plans, allowing you to relax and enjoy the moment. Plus, having an extroverted friend can provide a sense of security and support in social situations.

3. Find Your People Through Music

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Music is a great and unique way for people to bond. Whether attending a concert or joining a local choir, connecting with others through music can help ease social anxiety.

Music can bring people together and create a sense of community. It can also serve as a conversation starter and provide a common interest for connecting with others who share similar tastes. Additionally, participating in musical activities can boost self-confidence and reduce anxiety symptoms.

4. Keep Practicing

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At first, you might need to force yourself to go out and talk to others. However, don’t try to do a lot at one time. Start slowly, like a quick compliment to someone in a store. The more you practice, the easier it’ll get.

It’s important to remember that building social skills takes time and effort. Just like any other skill, it requires consistent practice to improve and become comfortable in social situations. So don’t give up; keep pushing yourself to step out of your comfort zone and interact with others.

5. Shift Your Focus

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Curiosity is a powerful tool that can shift your perspective and alleviate social anxiety. Instead of focusing on yourself and your anxiety, try shifting your focus to others.

Ask questions, listen attentively, and show genuine interest in what others have to say. This will not only help you feel more comfortable, but it will also make the other person feel valued and appreciated.

6. Make Efforts to be Confident

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There are many simple hacks for boosting your confidence in social situations. For example, dressing in clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident can help ease anxiety. The same goes for taking time to feel “pretty” (whatever that means to you) with hairstyles and makeup.

Additionally, maintaining good posture, making eye contact, and speaking clearly can also convey confidence to others. Remember, even if you don’t feel particularly confident at first, acting confidently can eventually lead to feeling more self-assured.

7. Speak in Front of a Mirror

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Speaking in front of a mirror effectively allows you to practice and refine your communication skills in a safe and private environment. Over time, this practice will boost your communication skills, enabling you to express yourself confidently in social settings.

You might notice you frown more than you realize, and simply changing your expressions to smile more can help you feel more confident and approachable.

8. Fake It Till You Make It

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While it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes pretending to be confident can actually help you become more confident. By acting as if you are confident and comfortable in social situations, you are training your brain to respond positively and reduce the anxiety response.

This tactic can also help you overcome negative thought patterns and focus on the present moment instead of worrying about what might go wrong.

9. Stay Positive

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Maintaining a positive mindset is crucial when dealing with social anxiety. Negative thoughts and self-doubt can exacerbate anxiety symptoms and make it difficult to engage in social interactions. Instead, try to focus on the positive aspects of each situation and remind yourself that you can handle any challenges that may arise.

Additionally, surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can also help boost your mood and confidence in social situations.

10. Be a Volunteer

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Volunteering exposes you to inspiring stories and experiences that can spark engaging conversations. Additionally, it can give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which can boost self-confidence and reduce anxiety in social settings. It also allows you to connect with others with similar interests and values.

The same goes for finding a hobby or joining a club. Engaging in enjoyable activities can help boost your self-esteem and provide opportunities for social interaction with people with whom you have common interests.

11. Find a Job That Requires Socializing

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For some people, their jobs can be a major source of stress and anxiety. However, for others, it can be an excellent opportunity to practice social skills and build confidence.

If you’re up for the challenge, consider finding a job that involves interacting with others, such as customer service or event planning. Not only will this help improve your communication skills, but it can also provide opportunities for networking and forming new relationships.

12. Join a Speech Class

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Want to get WAY out of your comfort zone? Join a speech class or public speaking group. These settings provide a supportive and structured environment for practicing speaking in front of others and receiving feedback.

It can help improve your communication skills. Plus, facing your fears head-on can boost confidence and reduce social anxiety.

13. Stop Caring About What Others Think of You

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When anxiety starts to creep in, practice training your mind to adopt a calm and mellow attitude. Remind yourself that you cannot control what others think of you, and worrying about it will only increase your anxiety. Instead, focus on being yourself and engaging in enjoyable conversations and activities.

Remember, the most important opinion is your own. If you are comfortable with yourself, others’ opinions should not matter. Embrace your unique qualities and trust that others will appreciate them, too.

14. Don’t Worry About Small Talk

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Many of us worry about what we will say next while talking to another person or group, but this can actually cause anxiety and awkward pauses. Immersing yourself in the conversation with full presence, and you’ll be surprised how it naturally flows. Trust that the right words will come to you; don’t overthink it.

If you struggle with small talk, ask open-ended questions or share simple observations about your surroundings. This can help keep the conversation flowing and reduce anxiety about what to say next.

15. Seek Professional Help

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It’s essential to remember that social anxiety can be a crippling mental health issue, and seeking help is not a sign of weakness. If your social anxiety is significantly impacting your daily life and relationships, consider reaching out to a therapist or counselor.

Together, you can work on strategies for managing your symptoms and building confidence in social situations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help; it’s a brave step towards improving your well-being.


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