How to Overcome Social Anxiety

Social anxiety can be a debilitating and shameful feeling. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety of crowds, groups and even paying at counters in stores or restaurants. This disorder is not something that people have to live with, and there are some basic fundamentals that can help overcome social anxiety.


1 Ask a trusted person to accompany you in a social situation which you feel uncomfortable. You could ask a therapist or a spouse, anyone who would help you feel safe.

2 Survey the situation and become familiar with the surroundings when you find yourself in the situation. Note that there aren't any palpable dangers nearby and feel your body reactions (i.e. heavy breathing, pulse racing, sweaty palms, shaking, etc.). Know that your body reacting to your fear and you are not dying.

3 Enter the situation or place with your trusted person. Look to your trusted person to help guide and reassure you. Everything will be okay and that there is nothing to fear.

4 Know that you can cope with the situation whatever happens, if you are embarrassed or frightened you will deal with and and life will go on. Realize that short of death, you are resilient and remember that people are just people.
5 Stay in the situation for at least five minutes at first. If you feel yourself getting too anxious, leave the situation and only return once you have calmed down. This step helps you become accustomed to the anxiety and integrated slowly into the experience.

6 Remember these steps and repeat them as necessary for every situation that causes the anxious feelings to arise. Remember to practice relaxation techniques and positive, comforting self talk to help you endure the experience(s).

Relaxation techniques are extremely helpful in calming social anxiety; breathing exercises and meditation can be used in absence of the situation to prepare you for the actual social situations that cause the anxiety.