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How to Cope with Social Anxiety

1. Realize that you’re not alone. The reality is that most of us worry about the same kinds of things – like whether others like us, are bored by others, or the kind of impression we’re making.

2. Try to uncover the roots of your anxiety. There may be a variety of reasons for feeling self-conscious, such as having had a bad experience in the past, feeling that you’re with people who are very different from you, or feeling you’re with people who don’t understand you. Also, it may simply be that you’re more introverted so social situations are stressful for you. Understanding the reasons behind the feelings can help you address them in a more appropriate way.

3. Acknowledge the feelings as soon as they arise. That will enable you to start targeting them through positive self talk. For example, remind yourself that: “I always feel like this in these kinds of situations. I’m going to be okay. I usually cope – and don’t fall apart.”

4. Fake looking and acting calm, relaxed, and self confident. In time, you’ll find your feelings will change to match the way you appear on the outside.

5. Act warm and friendly. Being friendly helps to put other people at ease, and encourages them to open up and feel relaxed with you.

6. Try not to worry about what other people think. In reality, other people will often feel as nervous as you do. It’s just that they’ve learned how to cover it up. Also, some people think negatively about everyone. You’re never going to change this kind of person – and you don’t need their approval anyway!

7. Be kind to yourself. Praise, affirm and reward yourself for deciding to do something that’s difficult for you.