Overcoming my worst enemy: Social Anxiety

When you have to deal every day with social anxiety, it’s like riding a roller coaster right before the big fall; feeling that the one thing that scares you, is the only thing that stabilizes you. It feels like running from other people glances, exposing cold sweats to clean the crystals that judge who you are as a person. When you struggle with this disorder, every step is something like this: the fear of saying hello to a stranger, standing in front of a crowd; feels like a battlefield. The terrifying moment of filling empty spaces with your presence and dealing with the doubt to even tell someone ‘’I like you’’ because the anxiety made all these excuses in your head. Because believe me, social anxiety makes you feel little, insecure, doubtful and negative. In my experience, I’ve lost so many opportunities in different moments of my life because of ‘’the comfort zone’’.  You spend time being afraid of something simple like: hugging someone or being hugged, critiquing what you do wrong after a performance in class or work, and sometimes expecting the worst from something new.

I called it my worst enemy, until a few months ago, when I started to understand one thing ‘‘there is no evil that lasts 100 years, nor body that resists’’. That’s when I realize I didn't want to spend the rest of my life in the ‘’what if’’. When you decide to overcome a difficulty because you want the best for your life, the path that you are walking starts to change. I’m not saying is going to be easy, every day becomes a choice and sometimes, what you plan doesn't work out. But that’s okay, because you need to remind yourself who you are and who you want to become. In that spirit, I’m going to tell you a few strategies that had worked for me until now, but first, you need to be conscious about certain things. First, each day is an opportunity to overcome social anxiety. Second, don’t rush into actions that you don’t feel really prepared; remember everything requires a little bit of practice to get it done. Third, if you feel that the social anxiety is affecting your functioning in your daily life, I encourage you to seek professional help.

Let’s start with overcoming social anxiety!

  1. Surround yourself by friends that support and encourage you to walk out of the comfort zone with baby steps.
  2. Practice mindfulness exercises for 5 to 10 minutes every day.
  3. Take a deep breath every time you have to make a speech, make an approach to a group or enter into a crowded space, and focus your attention in that breath.
  4. Start changing your language; the words have a big power in you. Instead of saying I’’ll try someday, change it for I’m going to start today’’.
  5. When the fear of exposing yourself out there arrives and a negative thought appear, just say this phrase ‘’thank you, mind’’ and allow that thought to go.
  6. Write quotes in your room like: you’re confident, secure and capable. Repeat every morning and every night.