Social anxiety disorder comes with a number of mental symptoms that can be reduced (sometimes eliminated) with some simple techniques.
These 7 tips are for use when NOT in anxiety-provoking situations.
They’re things you can do in day-to-day life that will give your mind a break from anxiety. This is stuff to relieve social phobia, but not cure it.
Do Anything That Gets You Away
From The Rest of Your Life
For A While
Relaxation is anything that diverts you away from your life’s worries and stresses. If it gets you away from “the daily grind”, then it is relaxing and helps you in everyday life.
I sometimes go to soccer matches, because they get me away from the rest of my life. That’s not to say that my life is bad. It’s just that, as we all do, I need a break from what I do most of the time.
A break from what you normally do, is a form of relaxation.
Take up a sport
If there’s a sport you like, playing it will give you more than just physical benefits. Of course, sport is exercise, and so it’ll be great for your body, but the mental benefits are at least as positive as the physical ones.
By playing a sport, you give your mind a break from anxious thoughts and anxieties.
In those moments where you’re chasing a ball, hitting a ball etc, there’s no thought of the anxiety at all. Just pure relief for your mind.
The more you fill your life with stimulating activity such as sports and other physical activities that occupy your mind, the less space for negative thinking and worrying!
Attend something interesting
Just like me with my football, you can attend an event that you’d find interesting. Be it a sports match, the cinema, the theatre…whatever – there’s a sense of escapism in there that will give your mind the rest it needs.
With this tip, I’ve assumed that going somewhere with someone you know well, doesn’t trigger your anxiety too bad. If it does, skip this point, and read the overcoming social anxiety article and follow the steps.
Planning to attend stuff also gives you something to look forward to. People are happier when they’ve found something to be enthusiastic about.
TV, books, movies and games
These things involve not thinking about anything related to your life, so they’re worthwhile social anxiety management techniques.
Perhaps ironic, but a good horror movie can be, in a sense, very relaxing! Yes, it has you frightened out of your wits, but it also has you focusing on something totally external – which is the effect we’re after.
Essentially, any activity that can get you outside of your own head, thinking about something unrelated to your life, is a good way of coping with the “mental clutter” that often comes hand in hand with social anxiety disorder.
Start a meditation program
There are also some much less active ways to relax, which can also help with this disorder. Meditation is one of the best of them.
Meditation allows your mind to chill out right to it’s core. This practice is good, because it builds a habit in your mind not to think so much. We humans are creatures of habit, and a relaxed mind is something that can definitely become habitual.
The downside of meditation
It takes so much patience to practice! You have to sit so still, and it takes a few practices before your mind starts to stay quiet.
Meditation takes patience and persistence, but is quite doable. It tends to feel as if you’re never going to shut your mind up, but you will if you stick at it. This is great for reducing social anxiety because it encourages a state of inner calm.
My meditation technique; ideal for
dealing with social anxiety
- Situate yourself in a quiet, comfortable location – on your bed is ideal
- Dim or switch off the lights
- Cross your legs and sit up right. Hands lightly on your stomach.
- Breath so that your chest stays still, yet your stomach moves in and out. 2 or 3 seconds breathing IN, 4 or 5 seconds breathing OUT.
- Focus your mind entirely on your breathing. Listen to the sounds, and feel your stomach move in and out. Don’t think anything about these things, just notice them.
- If a thought comes into your head, about anything at all, stop that thought in it’s tracks. For example “Tomorrow, I’ll go shopping in the morn…” STOP.
As soon as you acknowledge that you’re not supposed to think, stop – even in the middle of a word, like in that example.
Listen to Binaural Beats
Binaural Beats are 30-minute-long sound frequencies that calm and sooth the mind.
You wear earphones to listen to them. They produce sound waves at very slightly different rates, in each ear. The difference in frequency between the two earphones, creates a binaural beat in your mind that has a relaxing effect.
I don’t understand the science of it, particularly. What I do understand, is that Binaurals have made me feel a lot mentally “lighter” in the evenings.
On past nights when I’ve been coping with anxiety “aftershocks”, I’ve listened to Binaurals and they’ve made me feel really chilled.
I noticed that it is much easier to sleep after using Binaural Beats. They offer a calming, soothing effect, and in my experience they allow those ‘aftershocks’ of social anxiety the chance to disappear.
They helped me in coping with social phobia, and I believe they can do the same for you.
Eat/drink foods that help you relax
Some foods/drinks are better for anxiety sufferers than others. Whilst some products stimulate you and promote anxiety, others encourage relaxation.
Eating/drinking right helps a lot.
I won’t be going into specifics right here, yet there is a lot of information on this site about eating a healthy diet that feeds the body.
Master a good night’s sleep
The better you sleep, the less challenge you’ll have in coping with any social anxiety that might come up for you the next day. This won’t work miracles, but it will help a little – just as the other tips on this page will.
What should we consider “good sleep”?
Seven hours per night is good enough – eight hours is ideal.
How can you get this much sleep?
Here are the 5 rules for mastering good sleep:
- Only go to bed when tired. Don’t stick to a specific time. If you ain’t tired, you certainly ain’t sleepin’, so forget it, until you really feel sleepy.
- Always get up at the same time, without fail. This means that you can know when you should become tired (around 16 hours after getting up)
- Get some exercise during the day. If there’s lots of energy in you, you’ll feel it in your limbs. That energy won’t let you sleep until either you’re way overtired, or you’ve used it up.
- Don’t go to bed within 3 hours of finishing exercise. ‘Feelgood’ chemicals called Endorphins will be racing through you, and they’ll keep you awake.
- Relax your mind at night, before bed. I recommend Binaural Beats for this.