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Social anxiety: What is it, who does it affect, and what can you do about it?

(c) VictoryLab Inc. 2018

Social anxiety can be described as the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people, whether that be attending parties, introducing yourself to new people, or being observed by others while completing a task. This anxiety disorder is a lot more common than it may seem, as over 2 million Canadians aged 15 and older reported experiencing a social anxiety disorder.

The effects of social anxiety can be crippling, forcing those who suffer to isolate themselves from social situations, or experience very low levels of self-confidence as they always feel judged by others. But what can you do if you’re struggling with social anxiety, or you know someone who is? Here is a short list of tips that can help you manage the symptoms of social anxiety, and learn to cope with the disorder.

[CTA: Social anxiety, or anxiety in general, are common mental illnesses that affect many. Learn the signs of how to know if you’re suffering from one of today’s most common mental illnesses. Take a read here.]

1. Start saying yes - or start saying no

It’s extremely common for those who struggle with social anxiety to constantly say “no” when asked to participate in a social activity. It can almost become like a reflex. By teaching yourself to say “yes” when the opportunity to have fun and meet new people arises, you’re taking an active step towards managing the effects of social anxiety that force you to isolate yourself.

That being said, it’s also extremely common for social anxiety sufferers to say “yes” to other things that people want them to do, when they don’t want to do it themselves. Doing this only increases the timid behaviour that many individuals with social anxiety experience, and learning to say “no” when asked to do something you aren’t willing to do will help you break that barrier that can be holding you back.

[CTA: Learn to be a happier you the natural way with these 7 tips! They will have you feeling more focused, energized and relaxed so you’ll be ready and excited to meet new people.]

2. Keep a daily journal

This one is great if you want to look back on your progress, or write down your insecurities for the day to get them out of the way early on. You can choose to journal in the morning to do this, or journal at night to outline how you felt throughout the day. Either way, keeping a daily journal can help you eliminate negative thinking patterns, and focus on improving yourself as every day goes by.

3. Try public speaking

We at VictoryLab™ are well aware that this tip might sound like the scariest thing you could possibly do, but the benefits are worth it. Taking a class in public speaking not only helps you tackle your fear of being judged by others, but it also gives you an opportunity to meet new people who might be in the same boat as yourself. A public speaking course will help you in every aspect of your life, whether that be in the workplace, in school, or in everyday life, and we highly recommend taking the step and trying one out.

4. Surround yourself with positive people

It’s very common for individuals who struggle with social anxiety to be plagued with negative thoughts, often focusing only on what can go wrong instead of the things that could go right. By surrounding yourself with those who try to maintain a positive outlook, you’ll find that this will also reduce your own negative thinking as well, helping you to apply an optimistic perspective rather than a negative one and therefore minimizing one of the harmful effects of social anxiety.

Social anxiety is a mental health disorder that is very difficult to cope with, and can stop you from participating in social situations that you know could potentially be enjoyable. It’s not easy to eliminate the side-effects of social anxiety, but applying small changes to your life everyday can help you learn to manage it, and allow you to become more comfortable with yourself while around others, or even just in private.

To learn more about how VictoryLab™ can help you or your organization cope with anxiety and mental health disorders, click here.

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