5 Tips To Manage Social Anxiety When You’re Out Socialising

What’s your number one biggest fear?

One of the main areas in life that a lot of people experience stress and anxiety is in social situations, parties, weddings, work training sessions and of course, the dreaded…public speaking.

In fact, public speaking ranks number one in the minds of most people, even outweighing our fear of death, disease of being alone.

So it’s no surprise that an incredible number of people become extremely stressed and anxious if they have a social event to attend because it can bring up a whole host of feelings and worries centred around being rejected, ridiculed or excluded.

What causes social anxiety?

Some of the symptoms experienced by someone who is anxious about attending social functions include; sweating, shaking, blushing, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, dry mouth, stammering, pins and needles, nausea, diarrhoea, headaches or muscle aches and tensions.

All of these physical sensations however are being triggered by a string of thoughts which probably sound something like “what if + something negative”.

  • What if I fail?
  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if I make a fool of myself?… right?

So first off, let’s get clear on what’s really going on under the surface to uncover what thought process is triggering this response.

So begin by asking yourself… “what am I really worried about?”

5 Top Tips for Overcoming Social Anxiety

Once you’ve gotten a clear answer on what it is you’re really worried about, here are my 5 top tips for dealing with social anxiety so you can be light, bright and confident whenever you’re out and about in social situations.

1. Breathing exercises

Find a quiet place, get comfortable and begin by inhaling deeply. Breathe in for the count of 5 seconds whilst repeating the word “CALM” inside your mind. Hold it, then exhale and repeat 5 times

2. Visualisation

To begin:

Close your eyes and take 6 deep breaths. On the outbreath say “RELAX” . Allow your muscles to relax & drop your shoulders a little more with each outbreath – let go.

Visualise

As you sit there, relaxed and comfortable, imagine yourself walking into the party or social situation as vividly as you can.

Utilise all of your senses as you begin your journey of visualisation. What can you see? Feel? Smell? Touch? What are you wearing? Who are you with? How do you feel?

Make the picture as vivid and real as possible in your minds eye.

Now, when you are feeling nice and relaxed, repeat the word “RELAX” your mind.

Feel the floor beneath your feet. Bring your awareness to your breath and let go.

Know that you are safe, you are loved and you are secure.

Repeat to yourself some empowering statements as you visualise yourself in this social setting.

Use something powerful, personal (beginning with “I”) and said in the present tense.

For example:

  • I am confident
  • I am loved
  • I am magnificent
  • I am enough
  • I am safe
  • I am secure
  • I am doing juuuuuuust fine.

You can use the keyword “Relax” any time you find yourself with that tightening feeling to return to this relaxed state and feeling the same deep and calm state of relaxation as you do now.

Spend time in practicing this relaxing visualisation technique and you will eventually be able to relax whenever and wherever you need to.

3. Choose comfort over high fashion.

When you know you are attending a social gathering or party, wear the appropriate

comfortable clothes and shoes. There’s nothing quite like feeling constricted or physically uncomfortable to make you feel anxious.

4. Be kind to yourself

Stop beating yourself up, take it step-by-step, you can always use a bit of humour and imagine the other people standing around with no clothes on – now that would make the party go with a laugh!

5. Become the observer, not the victim

Most anxiety comes from taking to heart all of the internal dialogue that you hear and believing it’s true.

If you take a step back and become the observer of your thoughts you’ll notice that all of these negative thoughts are coming from somewhere else, not necessarily from you. They might be scripts that you’ve picked up somewhere, something your parents or carers said to you as a child perhaps or maybe it’s just your scared inner child talking.

You can choose to believe the negative thoughts, or you can choose a more empowering thought. The amount of effort is just the same, but the result is vastly different.

Need a helping hand to get into a relaxed state? Check out these Meditation CD’s:

NHS Autogenic Relaxation for Stress

NHS Wellbeing Relaxation for Stress

Maggie Irwin Portrait

Hi! I’m Maggie and as a Hypnotherapist, Master Practitioner of NLP, Mental Health and Wellbeing Professional with 35 yrs experience in the NHS and private sector, I’m here to help you release the past, recover your courage and design your most magnificent life.

Learn more about me here.