If you want to know how to overcome social anxiety, you have probably already read an extensive number of articles on the subject but still feel that you cannot find help.
There are many techniques for treating social anxiety , but they don’t work for everyone. Some are too complex, others are too challenging, like forcing yourself to talk to strangers. Today, you will learn how to overcome social anxiety by answering a seemingly silly question .
Irrational fear of social interaction
A socially anxious person tends to overthink the smallest social situations. Interaction with strangers or even being in a crowded place can leave them uncomfortable and worried. This is accompanied by a whole plethora of intrusive thoughts. “They were looking at me, weren’t they? “” Do I look weird? I shouldn’t have worn this silly dress. “” What did he think when I said that stupid thing? “Etc.
A person suffering from a severe social phobia may find themselves ruminating for hours after a simple conversation with a neighbor or salesperson. ” Why did I say that? She must have thought I’m a freak. I should have said this instead. ”If you have social anxiety disorder, you are probably familiar with these kinds of thoughts.
There’s a technique for dealing with these anxious thoughts that doesn’t involve throwing yourself into the hell of awkward social interaction. So, it is a much safer way to face your irrational fears.
How to overcome social anxiety: a simple trick
The technique is very simple and comes in three steps.
- The first step is to be aware of your anxious thoughts . Listen carefully to what your anxious mind has to say. Let yourself speak and express all the fears and worries that overwhelm you.
- The second step is to let your anxiety expand on the situation to the point of exaggeration. So basically you need to imagine all the terrifying consequences of the stressful situation you find yourself in until you reach the worst possible outcome.
- The third step is when the silly question we mentioned in the title of this note comes into play. So you have imagined the worst outcome of a social situation. Your irrational anxious mind is literally shaking in fear and shame. Now, let your sober rational mind take over by asking yourself:
To demonstrate the effectiveness of this technique, we are going to give an example of a simple situation in which each socially anxious person has surely been at some time or several times:
Let’s say you were at an office party and you were trying to be friendly with your colleagues or colleagues. At some point, that busybody from the marketing department started asking personal questions and you gave an awkward answer, revealing something about yourself that you now regret.
This is a common situation that a socially anxious person can find themselves in. Sometimes when you’re trying to socialize, anxiety makes you say really bland, embarrassing, and uncomfortable things. It’s like some demon is whispering in your ear, making sure to make the worst possible impression on others. So of course after that, you spend hours remembering every detail, blaming yourself, and wondering why you said this, which is known as rumination.
So let’s start exaggerating now
First of all, this colleague certainly fully understood what you said and how uncomfortable you felt. He probably thought that the situation you told him was really stupid and you must be an idiot if you dared to tell him. And the most terrible thing is that he or she is a gossip and will tell this story to everyone. So when you go to work tomorrow, everyone will look at you and laugh at you.
Now ask the question
Now, put your anxious mind to rest and let your rational mind speak. Ask yourself: “So what?” Everyone in the office will know this story tomorrow. And that? Everyone will laugh at you and think you are stupid. And that? Will you die? No. Will you be fired? No. Will your boss cut your payment? Not.
The truth is, this colleague can’t even find his story significant enough to share with others. Or even if you do, most people won’t find it interesting enough to listen to or make a difference. It may also be that a couple of colleagues discuss it and then forget about it. The only certain thing is that nothing terrible is going to happen.
How to overcome social anxiety by facing and overcoming your fears
No matter how far you’ve gone by exaggerating your fears, the question “So what?” It will show you the uplifting truth about your social anxiety. You will instantly see how small and absurd your fears are. And this is a key moment in discovering how to overcome social anxiety.