3 Ways To Deal With Social Anxiety

It seems to happen to the best of us. That constant worrying. That annoying voice inside your head that just won’t shut up. That voice reminding you to be careful what you say, be careful what you do and be careful how you act because people may judge you for it. That horrible nagging feeling can control your every move, preventing you from freely living your life the way you choose.

“What if he thinks I’m weird?”

“She probably thinks I’m acting too clingy.”

“But what if they don’t like me?”

This awful voice inside your head is called social anxiety. Social anxiety, by definition, is the discomfort or fear you feel in a social interaction that involves a concern of being judged or evaluated by others.

It seems like every single one of us suffers from social anxiety every now and then. It could be as simple as being nervous before a first date, or it can be as extreme as being terrified to order food from a waiter at a restaurant. But despite how much social anxiety you have, almost everyone wishes they could simply get rid of it and stop caring what people think of them. So here are some helpful tips and tricks I use to stop worrying what others think:

1. Embrace your individuality

Accept who you are and don’t let anybody make you second guess yourself! You know yourself better than anybody else; you know your strengths, your weaknesses, your passions and your fears. So if somebody else decides to judge you, why should you listen to their opinions when you already know yourself better than anyone? Individuality is a beautiful gift. Instead of caring what others think, worry about the standards you set for yourself. Your own morals, your own values and your own opinions matter more than anybody else’s thoughts on how you should live your life. You are a strong individual. Once you accept yourself, it won’t matter what anybody else thinks.

2. Put things into perspective

Remember the bigger picture! If someone doesn’t like you, if you screw up a date (hell, even if you become the laughing stock of the entire school!) in the big picture, none of it matters. Sure, in college we’re all living in one little bubble and everything seems to matter so much. But remember that there are nearly 20,000 people at Cal Poly! You can ALWAYS reinvent yourself. If someone thinks you’re weird, screw them! You can move on to bigger and better things; once you graduate, you can take control of your life all over again! You can move to a new city, get a job you love, and embrace your new life. One person not liking you, one bad date, or one embarrassing moment won’t change anything in the big picture.

3. Take control of your imagination

I know from experience that when you let your anxiety get the best of you, your imagination runs wild. When you’re worrying about what others will think of you, your imagination tends to come up with every single way that something could possibly go wrong. Who knew that imaginations could be so negative? So instead of giving in to your imagination, take control of it! Challenge those awful thoughts that your imagination sends your way.

“They’re all going to hate me!”

This is your imagination sending you irrational worries. Challenge that voice inside your head with, “Hold on…but how do I know that? Some people will like me, some people won’t, but there’s no way to know unless I go out there and try.”

It’s easy to give in to the negative voices inside your head, but it’s so much healthier to challenge those voices and realize that most of your worries are irrational. Once you take control of your imagination, you’ll be free to enjoy living in the moment without worrying. I recognize that overcoming social anxiety is much easier said than done, but I really hope these tips will help you see the bigger picture and live life without worrying so much! Life is so much more pleasant when you can simply do your own thing and make your own decisions without concern for what others think.