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How To Overcome Social Anxiety

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Ever worried about a certain event?

It could be a job interview, a first date, a night out with mates or even a family outing.

Ever worried what people might think of you?

Worried someone is judging you?

You see social anxiety exists at different levels and it’s something that affects every man at some point in their life.

However extreme your social anxiety might be, whether it’s on the low end of the scale feeling anxious around certain people or in certain places to the extreme of not being able to order a coffee or leave your house in the morning this post aims to help you overcome social anxiety.

Overcoming Social Anxiety

Before diving into some very specific tips to help you overcome social anxiety I want to make one thing clear…

Avoiding it will only make it worse.

The more you avoid social situations and the more you avoid dealing with it the stronger the anxiety will become.

Increasing your confidence will help you overcome your social anxiety and confidence is developed through action.

Think about the first time you sat behind a steering wheel… was you confident?

After driving for a while you soon jump behind the steering wheel without any worrying thoughts or anxiety around driving.

Confidence comes from action and facing up to your anxiety rather than ignoring it will help you resolve it.

Here are 4 tips to help you overcome social anxiety.

1. Worrying What People Think

One of the biggest reasons we feel anxious in social situations is the fear of judgement.

What are people saying about me? What are they thinking? Am I being judged?

All of these self limiting thoughts are, well, just that… Thoughts. These are thoughts, stories and scenarios created by you which in reality don’t exist.

Worrying what people think of you is the biggest limitation you can put on yourself. Why let someone else’s opinion of you, in most cases a complete stranger affect your stress levels, your happiness and your behaviours?

Worrying what people think and having the belief that people are judging you will create more anxiety around social situations.

fear-of-judgement

Personally it’s something that held me back for a long time, trying to please others and always fearing I was being judged.

I had a big realisation…

I’m really not that important.

The average person has 70,000 thoughts a day, am I that important that they’ll be thinking of me? They’ll be judging me? Let’s say I embarrassed myself in front of a stranger, I would ‘believe’ they’d be laughing about it for weeks to come but in reality they’ll forget it even happened within a few minutes.

Everybody has their own insecurities, their own worries, their own anxiety to deal with. No one will ever judge you as much as you think they do.

If judgement does happen it often comes as a reflection on them rather than a reflection on you. If someone feels the need to judge another or say/do something hurtful it’s often to make up for their own insecurities and issues.

Don’t let someone have such control over your thoughts and emotions.

In this video I met up with Josh Morris and we went through some ‘judgement’ exercises. I pushed my comfort zones on a few of them and walk you through each one.

Want to take this deeper and really cure your fear of judgement? Read this post here on Worrying What People Think.

2. Feel The Fear & Do It Anyway

As I’ve mentioned anxiety in social situations will typically stem from a lack of confidence.

If you’re confident to order a coffee, you’ll feel no anxiety around ordering a coffee. If you’re confident walking into a room full of people and starting a conversation, you’ll have little or no anxiety to do so.

On the other hand a lack of confidence will lead to fear.

The best way to overcome fear is to simply face it. Get anxious approaching and talking to girls? Go and approach and talk to girls.

I’m not saying it’s easy and you’ll have to push through the anxiety, the fear of judgement, the feeling of your stomach churning and your palms sweating but after every time you face that fear it will get better.

I remember the first time I got asked to speak in public, presenting on the Future of Menswear to around 100 people. I think I practiced the presentation so much I presented robotically and to this day I can’t remember a word I said. The second time I did it that fear still existed but it wasn’t as strong as it was the first time round. The third time it got easier, the same with the fourth, the fifth, the sixth time. The more you do the thing you fear the less anxiety you’ll feel around it.

It’s also important to remember that the stories and the scenarios you create in your head before facing that fear will never happen. How many times have you worried about something happen and it never did? Worry comes from your own imagination.

comfort-zones

3. Get Someone To Push You

How many people wouldn’t jump out of an aeroplane without someone strapped to their back?

Without others watching on?

Without knowing that you’re going to let yourself down or others down after you’ve paid or raised money to get 70,000 feet in the air ready to jump?

Accountability is key to help you achieve or overcome anything in life.

jumping out a plane

In the video above where I discuss overcoming social anxiety a lot of the exercises I wouldn’t have done if I wasn’t with Josh or on camera. Because Josh was there to push me to do them (and hold me accountable) it helped me push through fear.

Get friends to hold you to the things you say you’re going to do, get them to go with you and push you through exercises.

You can also go to meet up groups with other people suffering with social anxiety. These are often led by people who have overcome the fear of judgement and they’ll put you through certain exercises to help.

Of course there’s going to be anxiety and fear around even asking a friend or going to a meet up group but it’s going to be hugely valuable if you do.

4. Celebrate Your Wins (However Small They May Be)

Manage to order a coffee today? Start a conversation with someone? Leave the house? However small the act, congratulate yourself.

Being socially anxious will lead to negativity and low self esteem. Therefore any fear you face or anything you try… celebrate.

Simply saying ‘well done’ to yourself or playing your favourite music and standing in power pose (fists clenched, arms above your head like you’ve won a race) will help.

The more positivity you can create and the more you can build your self esteem the easier it’s going to be to face the fear.

freedom-750x450_c

Always Break Comfort Zones

These 4 tips combined will help you overcome your social anxiety, but going outside of your comfort zone and facing fear is truly the only way to deal with it.

The more you resist, the more you ignore the fact and ignore your anxiety the worst it’s going to get.

Always break comfort zones.

Here’s an interview I did with Josh Morris on my Podcast. He went from not being able to order a coffee to travelling the world and removing all fear of judgement.

If you enjoyed this post don’t forget to comment and share with someone who might benefit from it.

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Paul McGregor
Paul McGregor

Founder of MFM, and short course lecturer at The London College of Fashion teaching all things marketing. Read my personal blog here.

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