If you’re here then you want answers; you want to take a stand; you want to start the journey to overcoming social anxiety which is holding you back in life.
My respects to you for that, for it takes massive balls to recognize a problem within yourself, and then looking for help.
Overcoming social anxiety I’d say is one of my greatest accomplishments up to this day. For it was so extremely difficult!
But what was even harder than that was going through it and believing that there wasn’t a solution to this problem. I felt stuck in a dark cold place.
I mean how could you have a happy fulfilling life if you can’t:
- talk to women
- talk without blushing
- look people in the eyes
- express your opinions or feeling
- talk in front of a group
- control your shaking/fidgeting
- control the voice of insecurity inside your head
The lack of control over my social anxiety left me in a constant state of fear of being shamed. And this fear didn’t let me get ahead in work, love, or any other area of my life. I knew I had so much more to give and this was holding me back.
So after 10 yrs (from 13-23), I decided to take a stand and make overcoming social anxiety my main priority.
In this article, I want to give you all the knowledge I accumulated as I researched and tried different things to deal with my social anxiety.
I narrowed it down to 5 tips. I realized these 5 tips were the main tools that helped me get over my social anxiety all by myself, to the point that today I am able to control it and not let it affect my life.
In order for these tips to work, you will need to think about and repeat these tips every single day. It will be very difficult, but definitely worth it in the end when you feel free! Let’s roll!
DISCLAIMER: Even though I do have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, I am no Clinical psychologist. Therefore, realize that these tips are all based on experience and what worked for me. They are not based on actual medical advice. Please contact a clinical psychologist if you’re suffering from severe anxiety.
- 1. Show Everyone The 100% Authentic You
- 2. Overcoming Social Anxiety Requires You To Take Control Of The Interaction
- 3. When Overcoming Social Anxiety Do Not Fight Or Resist Your Flare-ups
- 4. Overcoming Social Anxiety Requires Practice
1. Show Everyone The 100% Authentic You
There is nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide!
This tip right here is what allowed me to put a complete beatdown on my social anxiety, and here’s why…
Most socially anxious people have the bad habit of changing their persona (the way they present themselves and behave) depending on who they are interacting with. It’s kinda weird but it’s true!
Why do you do this?
Probably the same reason why I did it, I was subconsciously seeking approval.
You see, this is the main reason for your anxiety, you are afraid to show the real you. I’m talking about the part of you that has flaws, that has problems, that is insecure, and that doesn’t have it all figured out yet.
Then what you actually try to show is the person that you think other people might like, and when you feel that your facade is falling apart, BAM! Your social anxiety kicks in.
You don’t have to please everyone!
If you’re still not convinced, think about why is it that you don’t get the same symptoms of anxiety with your little brother or little cousin?
They are also people, so why?
It’s because you are not afraid of them judging you, they are only kids after all. If they don’t like you or disapprove of you for being yourself it doesn’t bother you.
So for the first time in your life start being yourself in front of EVERYONE!
Be proud of how unique you are. Show your interests, show your hobbies, show your sense of humor, show your flaws and laugh at them.
Don’t be afraid of disapproval, not everyone has to like you and you don’t have to like everyone. Realize that no one is superior to you and everyone is dealing with some shit.
Make it a priority to drop all the fake personas, you don’t have to be anybody but yourself.
You will be amazed at how free you’ll feel, like if you just served 20 years in prison and got released. And oddly enough, people will be more drawn to you for being you, they will be able to sense how free you are and will envy it.
Plus we don’t need uniform personalities, variety is fun, we need people that stand out and provide their own unique personalities to the world.
2. Overcoming Social Anxiety Requires You To Take Control Of The Interaction
Once you come to the realization that awkward interactions only occur when there is a lack of control, then your view on social interactions will forever change.
whenever there is an interaction occurring between two people there is always one person that has more control over the conversation than the other. This phenomenon is also called having the strongest frame.
The person in control is the leader of this conversation, this person will decide where the conversation is going and when it will end.
Kind of like an interviewer.
It is your job to aim to be the leader of every conversation, especially if you don’t want to have an awkward one.
Take a look at the following clip from the Youtube channel That Was Epic. Notice the frame control he exudes. Can you spot what he’s doing right?
So I understand this is a prank video and not your regular typical conversation, but the difference from a regular conversation isn’t much. There are 3 things we can learn from this video that he did right.
1. He had intent
How is it that the prankster could talk so smoothly and transition from one topic to the next without awkwardness?
Well, this is because in his head he had a clear agenda of what he wanted to get out of the conversation. Which in his case it’s to talk to the girls and get their number.
Having a clear agenda or intent is like having a GPS, you know how to get to your destination so all you have to worry about is the obstacles on the way.
This sense of knowing your intent will give you the confidence to ask the right questions and lead in a relaxed casual manner.
Even in the case that the conversation is random and you don’t have an intent, then just make one up! You could make it your intent to befriend the person, or maybe just find out information about them.
2. He was at the cause and not the effect
VERY IMPORTANT! As the leader of the conversation, you have to be the one at the cause and the other person will be the one reacting to you.
As we can see in the video THAT WAS EPIC does this perfectly by being the one putting in most of the effort.
He does this by keeping the strong eye contact, being the one to ask the questions, initiating the physicality, and being the one to end the conversation.
In order for you to be at the cause like THAT WAS EPIC, you will have to establish yourself as the leader and take complete control early on.
Once you have complete control of the convo, any awkwardness or anxiety that happens will be completely up to you.
You can avoid awkward silences by filling them in with questions. You can keep the conversation from going flat by adding some more energy and enthusiasm into it.
Hell, you can even decide when to have a moment of silence, and it won’t be an awkward one because you are in control!
3. Confident and relaxed body language
Strong eye contact, back straight, head up high, and of course open body language. These are all body language gestures being displayed by THAT WAS EPIC that you also need to display.
Now of course to display these body language gestures it is going to require practice.
At first, you will have to consciously force yourself to make your body do this, but once you do master these gestures you will feel confident and comfortable.
Therefore, making the person you’re talking to also comfortable leading to a smooth and anxiety-free interaction.
Once you master how to control the interaction even fuck ups that may occur won’t be awkward, this is because you can just pretend it was all part of your plan. Then you can proceed to change the person’s focus to something else. It’s quite magical how well this works, so give it a try!
3. When Overcoming Social Anxiety Do Not Fight Or Resist Your Flare-ups
One of the worst things I would do when I felt my social anxiety creeping up was trying to fight it, this would actually work against me and made my physical reactions even worse.
The crazy thing is that deep inside I actually knew this but I couldn’t help it. I didn’t want to show my anxiety and risk being shamed…
Well, take me for example. My thing was blushing, whenever I felt uncomfortable in an interaction I would begin to blush.
Actually, seconds before it would happen I would feel myself about to blush; my body would get warmer, and in my head I would tell myself “OH NO, NOT NOW, THIS CAN’T HAPPEN NOW, STOP STOP!”
I would focus so much on the reaction I was having that instead of making it go away I would actually make it more obvious and blush uncontrollably.
It wasn’t until later that I realized one of the keys to controlling my blushing was to accept it. By accepting the flare-up and letting it happen without judging myself, I wouldn’t put so much focus into it, leading to me slowly being able to control it.
I must say this wasn’t easy. It meant that I had to come at peace with people possibly judging me and thinking I was weird, but with time you learn to let go.
Accepting Yourself Entirely
Again, overcoming social anxiety comes down to tip #1. I had to accept my blushing as part of me and learn to love it too. And I did learn to love it. So much that after a while I would challenge myself to blush on purpose just so I could become comfortable. LOL
So next time you feel one of your social anxiety flare-ups about to occur, just relax and accept it. Believe that this reaction is also part of you, and it doesn’t make you any more or less valuable.
And who cares if people may judge, or look at you weird, after all, they don’t pay your bills and you sure ain’t gonna die from it. Life goes on. And it is with this mentality that your social anxiety will slowly disappear.
4. Overcoming Social Anxiety Requires Practice
One of my favorite fighters said it best
“The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will become comfortable”Conor McGregor
This basically means you need to tackle your social anxiety head on and do those things that scare you. Now, I know just thinking about it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, and that’s fine.
Hear me out,
I’m not saying you have to go out there and deliver a public speech in front of hundreds of people. You can start small and build your way up.
Here are some of the challenges I would give to myself that slowly aided me in overcoming social anxiety. You can try these yourself.
- Force yourself to hold eye contact
- Talk to strangers
- Force yourself to hold a conversation with someone
- Take a customer service or sales job
- Voice your opinions in class or work
- Join a public speaking group
Taking a sales job and talking to strangers was especially powerful and helped me the most in overcoming social anxiety, public speaking I left for last, but It really helped me put the nail on the coffin.
I know the thought of doing these can be very nerve wrecking for you, as they were for me.
At first, you will be super reactive and just plain embarrassed. But if you push through and force yourself to do them, then after a couple of times it will get easier and eventually become manageable.
So go out and try them! As cliche as it is, remember, Practice makes perfect.
Overcoming social anxiety won’t happen overnight, in fact, it will be a long journey. But I do promise you that if you follow and repeat daily the tips I have given you, then you will make progress. And that’s all we want now, progress, to be a little better than you were before.
- Don’t be afraid to show people your flaws, fears, humor, interest, and everything else that makes you, YOU!
- Take control of the interaction, be the leader. This will allow you to guide your subject through a smooth anxiety free interaction.
- Do not fight your anxiety, overcoming social anxiety is learning to accept it as part of you. And in return, you will become free from it.
- Practice and learn to become comfortable in the uncomfortable. After enough exposure, nothing will faze you.