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13 millennials share how they overcome social anxiety (and how you can too)

Do you get excited when plans get canceled?

Have you ever wondered to yourself if you’re introverted or just an extrovert with social anxiety?

Do you find yourself over-analyzing your social interactions?

You’re not alone in your social anxiety and it’s something that can be overcome. Take the advice from these 13 guys/girls who did it themselves.

These are 13 ways to overcome social anxiety and step into your full self.

1. Force yourself to talk to others.

I talked to people a lot. The only way to get good at something you’re bad at is to do it poorly for a long time until you become good at it. (u/StomachUlcers)

2. Face it head on.

The only real way to get over anxiety about something is… you just have to push yourself to do it. If you can’t do that, then just thinking about it for 40 mins until you don’t feel anxious anymore does help, then work your way up to more.

Anxiety is a very primitive, basic response. Fish do it. It’s a non-thinking survival response to keep you alive. Don’t try and out-reason it, it just doesn’t work like that. The only way past it is to show the part of the brain that runs anxiety that the situation isn’t dangerous. That requires repeated exposure.

I wish more people knew this.(u/PennyLisa)

3. Make friends with extroverts.

I became best friends with a very charming extrovert and followed her to all the parties she was invited to! Being with a close friend helped a lot because I knew she was a safe space for me to retreat to if things became too much. And I pretty much just watched and learned from her socialization style until I was able to mimic it well enough to do good on my own. I never told her how much she meant to me, gotta do that soon (u/pinkiepie_notabrony)

4. Start over.

To get over that really huge first hurdle, I did something silly… I moved away from all my family and friends and attempted to start anew. As in hundreds of miles away. It worked out, thankfully. But that first few weeks of being completely alone with no support group at all was a very dark period. (u/throwmyselfaway0)

5. Take care of yourself.

Take care of myself. I hated being in public because I think people would stare at me and judge. I dressed better, worked out, got a decent haircut, now I’m much more confident. (u/thehurricane490)

6. Be independent.

I think one of the biggest influences is independence. You can easily hide behind others. When you rely on others to overcome your anxiety you never really overcome it, you just hide behind them one way or another. When you’re forced to act independently and act on your own and look after yourself, that’s where you learn to overcome social anxiety. (u/GreyInkling)

7. Stop being self-centered.

I stopped being a self centered narcissist when it comes to my self image. People don’t care about what I look like or what I’m doing in public. I’m not the focus of their attention. My anxiety came from viewing myself from the lens of other people. But they didn’t view me at all. (u/CaptnCarl85)

8. Force yourself to do things (even when you don’t want to).

I generally just FORCED myself to do thinks. For example, until recently I was terrified of buying things. Like, going up to a counter and handing over money. I stuck to self service. But one day I took a deep breath, walked right up to the counter and there was no turning back. Now, this time I actually had 30p less than I needed to buy the jumper I wanted and was turned away… but I didn’t let this deter me! That’s important, too. Not being deterred. (u/seawaif)

9.  Be more open with others.

I try to be as open as possible with other people. That is, if someone says hi to me I don’t assume they’re being sarcastic or wanting to embarrass me. I say hi back. I don’t turn away. Sometimes people mistake shyness for aloofness and asking people questions can stop this. (u/seawaif)

10. Go out on your own.

Every time you do something alone and on your own you tame the anxiety a little more. It’s a too easy to shy away from something because there’s no one you know, or to make sure someone you know is nearby you can hide behind. Just going out and doing everyday tasks and errands alone, day by day, will build up your confidence more.

When you’re familiar with an environment that helps to. Going for walks just to explore, or just going for runs regularly and trying different routes, walking into strange restaurants for lunch, or exploring shops on your own, or even walking into university campus buildings or hallways you don’t have classes, you familiarize yourself with your environment and it builds up confidence in your control and ability to perform in that environment. (u/GreyInkling)

11. Make yourself uncomfortable.

The hard truth is you have to force yourself into situations that make you uncomfortable/trigger your anxiety. You don’t have to jump right in, that could just make things worse. But ease yourself in. Take baby steps.

The more you avoid things that make you anxious, the more anxious it will make you.

I used to hate phone calls. They would always trigger my anxiety. Last summer I ended up getting a job at the front desk of a hotel. I was forced to answer the phone all day. Some days I’d have 10 back to back calls. I was terrified at first, I felt sick, I wanted so badly to quit. I replace my anxious thoughts with the thought that I needed that job. I needed the money so I could go to Calgary this September. It helped me push my way through and I was able to over come that part of my anxiety.

Also look into Cognitive Behavioual Therapy. I’ve been going to therapy for a couple months and I’m blown away by how much it’s been helping. It’s really an eye opener to my anxiety and really realizing it better and knowing how to counteract it. (u/FanWh*re)

12. Embrace it.

You don’t lose it, you live with it. I was just honest about why I’m weird with the people I know don’t give a crap. Most people I know have some sort of mental thing going on. I’d be more surprised to find someone who claims a full mental state of health. (u/WorldsGreatestP**p)

13. Stop caring.

Realize that everyone has some level of social anxiety and awkwardness. Making the first move in social situations usually lets other people relax and in turn lets you relax a bit. In simpler terms, DGAF about what other people think. (u/MeowSayDingDong)