How to overcome social anxiety

By: Victor F. Racek

Are you always worried that other people are judging you when you’re out in public? It’s normal to feel anxious and nervous when you’re hanging out with friends, or people you have never met. But when your anxiousness starts becoming overwhelming and out of control to the point where you’d rather stay home and not socialize at all, then you might have social anxiety.  First, we need to understand what is social anxiety. Social anxiety disorder is described by the feeling of worry and fear in a social environment. It can affect every day activities such as; self-confidence, relationships, and work, even school. Severe social anxiety can cause you to avoid social interaction, so to help you, here are some ways for you to overcome social anxiety.

Ask for help
Don’t wait until the next time you’re in crisis. Act now and get help or talk to someone you trust. Your friends, your parents, and your therapist are here for you to talk to, even if you don’t feel as if they’re not available, all you need is to open up and don’t keep your feelings to yourself, give them a chance and talk. If you feel like asking for help is a sign of weakness, it’s not. Your choice of trying to get help is never a burden to anyone. It simply means you’re stronger than you realized. Just remember, it takes time for your anxiety to heal, so you don’t have to force yourself to get help. Take it one step at a time.

Exercising is a great way to help cope with your anxiety, as it can release all the negative energy in you and boost your self confidence. Exercise can even help you stay relaxed and change your mood. Carol Welch who earned her associates degree in dietetics once said, “Movement is a medicine for creating in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states. Exercise isn’t just going to the gym and lifting weights or running. Any kind of movement not only exercises your body but your brain too. Feel free to do what you love that makes you want to get up and be you.

Journal to yourself
Journaling to yourself is a great stress-managing tool. Having a journal with you can help reduce anxiety, and increase your well-being. If you’re a teenager, you probably have a private journal/diary with you. Having a journal is a place to express your feelings to understand them more clearly rather it’s a statement or a poem. It  feels good to get those feelings out. Even some who have aged well into their adulthood still use journaling to cope with emotions and emotional well-being. If you have a journal with you it can be a good idea to help control your emotions.

Congratulate yourself
Take a look at yourself on how far you’ve come in life. Be proud of yourself and that you are doing well and know that things will be okay no matter what stands in your way. Author Jen Wilde once said “You are not weak. People like us, we’re brave. We’re the ones who get up and face our worst fears every day. We keep fighting.” Keep the mindset that you are worthy, you are strong, you can fight and get through anything. Never look at your journey as a setback but an improvement of your well-being. Remember one thing to know about social anxiety, you are not alone and there’s always going to be hard moments to get through but never forget what drives you to get up and go. From the words from Noam Shpancer; “Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”

If you or someone you know is struggling through a mental crisis, call or text 988 or chat 988 lifeline.org. Don’t forget to reach out to the school’s, Mental Health Counselors (Lindsay Craig and Andrea Elmore) Their emails are lesdany@dadeschools.net and 336545@dadeschools.net

Stay Strong.

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