Social anxiety: what can you do about it yourself?
Social anxiety: what can you do about it yourself?

When you suffer from social anxiety, you often feel nervous or tense in situations with other people. Social anxiety is a normal feeling, more than 90% of the people sometimes feel uncomfortable or nervous when others are there. The moment you start to suffer from this or it starts to control your life (and you avoid doing your daily things) it is important to take action. It can happen that you get panic attacks due to the tension.

Exciting situations and your thoughts

If you are in a situation that is exciting for you, then thoughts play a major role. In such a situation thoughts are usually about possible disasters that can happen (“they will find me stupid, boring or not normal”, “I will stutter or forget my text”).

These ugly thoughts trigger the following processes:

  • They cause anxiety complaints: you start shaking, sweating, having a dry mouth, having an increased heart rate and a slight sense of panic.
  • Nasty thoughts direct your attention to your own anxious behavior: you pay attention to your physical symptoms and all your negative aspects are magnified. This self-focused attention is a big part of the problem. A large part of the energy goes to this self-assessment.
  • The thoughts that you have ensure that you use safety behavior. This can for example consist of: avoidance of social situations, avoiding eye contact, being on your phone and breaking off contact quickly.

What can you do about social anxiety? And how can you use NiceDay for this?

  • Start writing down what you are exactly afraid of in the NiceDay app by using the journal registration. What is the worst thing that can happen to you in a social situation? Have you ever experienced this? How did that affect your mood?
  • Do short presentations and record yourself on your phone to see how you come across. Is what you think correct? Test it out. In this way you are already practicing how to act in an exciting situation.
  • Do attention exercises. Move the self-focus to the focus on the story. Be yourself and focus on the story you are telling without censoring. Do not be strict with yourself: your social environment often don’t see your social awkwardness!
  • Practice omitting safety behavior: try to make eye contact, make sure your phone stays in your bag and confront yourself with situations that you find exciting. In this way your body learns to get used to social situations and the process starts when tension decreases.
  • Do relaxation exercises: check your breathing and your muscle tension.

Contact with others in social situations

When talking to someone else, try to discover shared interests. This makes the conversation more active because you are both talking. Because you find it a fun and interesting subject, you feel more comfortable talking about it. And because you have shared interests, you always have a topic to talk about.

Do not forget

Last but not least: how bad is it to be socially awkward? Could it also mean that you have an extremely good radar for social relationships? And are you actually socially very skilled? Food for thought!

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Sarah Goslinga

My name is Sarah Goslinga, psychologist and coach at NiceDay. It's important to me that you have a real connection with your coach and that you feel you can discuss anything. There are many different things I like to do, such as making music, roller skating or dancing!

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