A lot of people are now feeling that it's time to get back to some sort of normality. Whether you have dealt with everything appropriately or not, it's important to pat yourself on the back and realize that you have navigated a crisis of an almighty proportion. But for all the anxieties you may have felt throughout the pandemic, they may not have gone just yet. A lot of people are feeling the anxiety of going back to life, and interacting with people again. You could start to feel what is known as social anxiety disorder or social phobia. Symptoms include intense worry before a social situation, fear of being judged, as well as physical signs such as an upset stomach or shortness of breath. But how can we calm these social anxieties?
Adopt an “Anti-Anxiety” Lifestyle
It is so important to remember that the mind and body are linked. If we treat our bodies well, this could have a significant difference in our anxiety levels. There are supplements that you can take, such as CBD gummies, but you could also benefit from adding more omega-3 to your diet as this supports brain health and could improve your outlook, helping you to manage your anxieties. Additionally, think about limiting caffeine and alcohol before any social situation. And of course, make sure you have good quality sleep. People who are burning the candle at both ends are more vulnerable to anxiety. If you stay well-rested, this will make a big difference.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
You may have a number of thoughts and beliefs to contribute to your anxieties. Challenging these thoughts is a great way to reduce the symptoms. Firstly you need to identify those negative thoughts that come up automatically in your mind. Secondly, you need to challenge and analyze these thoughts by asking many questions about what you are thinking. When you start to evaluate your negative thoughts in a constructive manner, you can work on replacing them with more realistic ways of looking at the social situation.
Control Your Breathing
When we become stressed, there are many changes that happen to our bodies. Over breathing, also known as hyperventilation, will lead to more physical symptoms of anxiety because it causes an imbalance of carbon dioxide and oxygen. Learning how to slow your breathing down will bring your physical symptoms under control. It can help you in preparing for a situation, but it's also important to remember that the ongoing benefits will come from continuous practice. Get into the habit of doing breathing techniques in the morning when you first wake up and before you go to sleep.
Do Not Focus on Yourself
We all tend to get caught up in our own feelings when we are in a social situation that makes us nervous. When we are venturing out for the first time, we need to switch from an internal focus to an external one. You need to focus on other people, but not what they are thinking of you. You may have not spoken to this person properly for a long time, so do your best to make an engaging connection. When they respond, listen to what they are saying rather than your negative thoughts. Additionally, you need to resist the urge to be perfect. Being genuine is far more important. It's also important to remember that when we feel anxious, we're not necessarily giving out all of those negative physical cues. If somebody notices that you are nervous it doesn't mean that they are thinking badly of you, and it's very likely that they are feeling the same as you.
Facing Your Fears Constructively
A lot of people are used to seeing their friends through a screen, and this is where they are most comfortable. But it's important to take it one step at a time rather than jumping in. You can start slowly, and don't try to face the biggest fears straightaway. The most important rule of adapting is to do something little, take stock, and then build upon this. When we take this approach, it allows us the opportunity to go at a much slower pace and give ourselves a pat on the back when we have navigated that hurdle. Social anxiety is more commonplace because of what everybody has gone through but remember, you don't need to force yourself back into the real world right away. It's so important to go at your own pace and deal with everything at a level that suits you. There is absolutely no rush.