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How to Overcome Social Phobia in 6 Easy Ways
How to overcome social phobia is a major concern for many people. For them, meeting others in a social, unregulated context can be associated with nervousness, awkwardness, even a deep sense of panic. The first tip you hear from well-meaning friends is to stay relaxed. Of course, it’s so easy to say “learn to relax,” but how does anyone actually do it? The following ways can help you manage this irrational fear as easy and quickly as possible.
1. Relax by meditation
As mentioned previously, trying to learn how to relax is the first best step in overcoming your social phobia. However, it’s not enough to simply “know” what to do—you also must know how to do it. And the most effective way to achieve a level of manageable relaxation is by meditation. Spending at least five minutes each day meditating on your weaknesses and on your aspirations (specifically your concerns regarding being able to act and behave comfortably in social settings) can work wonders in removing your fear. Meditation has been scientifically proven to eliminate anxiety as it boosts your body and brain’s production of “feel-good” hormones—from DHEA, to GABA to melatonin. It also helps you focus on your fear and act on it through a positive approach.
2. Keep in mind that no one’s out to judge you
People with social phobia almost always assume that whatever they do—and this worsens in social settings—other people are going to judge them. In fact, another step in how to overcome social phobia is realizing that most people don’t care about what you do—you’re just imagining it. Inculcate this perspective and hold on to it.
3. Understand the nature of large groups
Let’s say you’re at a party and people mill around and gravitate to form groups. Know this: the spot light is not on you. Just relax and get comfortable—nobody’s pressuring you to say something. When you see an opening—a point in the group conversation when you have something to say—anything, no matter how trivial—just toss it in there. Just a few words would be fine.
4. Seek the thing that you avoid most
Those who have social phobia avoid social situations. The head-on solution is that you must actually seek out to be in more social situations as much as possible. The simple truth is that the more you avoid something, the more it becomes frightening because you are basically feeding your subconscious mind with the irresistible message of: “you are avoiding this because this is extremely frightening.” Hence, your whole being responds by making your fears become truth. So if you start treating it as normal, you begin in the process of allaying your fear. The more you do it, the more you erode the thick, calloused edifice of your social phobia.
5. Focus on other people
At the heart of all social phobia is the persistent worrying about what other people think of us—would they regard you as uninteresting, bumbling, even stupid? The logical solution, therefore, is focusing your attention not on yourself but on other people. Ask them questions. An effective way of how to overcome social phobia, asking open-ended questions (those that do not necessarily require a mere yes or no answer) wonderfully allows you to accomplish two tasks: take away attention from yourself and to establish a deeper, better bond with others.
6. It is OK to be “stupid” or “weird”
What makes people so afraid of social situations is their anal fear of committing a social blunder. They think that being tense, or saying something stupid or weird or inappropriate is absolutely not allowed in social situations. That’s why they keep on drumming their heads with self-defeating questions like, “What if I say a stupid thing?” or “What if they think I’m a total buffoon?” Relax. Stop caring too much about what others think. If you’re looking for solid ways of how to overcome social phobia, you must start with the way you do your internal monologue, and realize that it does not reflect reality. We are not perfect robots; we are humans. We’re allowed to be less than perfect.