Social Anxiety, How to Overcome It?


    After two years of spending most of our time doing things at home and maintaining a physical distance to keep ourselves safe, now we begin to connect physically with others. All activities are starting to be done in the normal way almost like pre-pandemic. Some people might find joy as they are excited to meet up and socialize with their friends again after a long quarantine. However, others might feel anxious and tired even to think that they will be involved in a social situation with other people. Which one are you?

Well, it is actually okay if you think that you are included in the second group of people. After a lot of online meetings and conversations behind a face mask, you are not alone when you feel like your social skills have gotten a little bit weak, or even have triggered anxiety—social anxiety.

What is social anxiety? Social anxiety is more than just nervousness. You might have a social anxiety disorder if you experience extreme fear when you socialize in everyday situations. You are afraid that people will judge your look, your words, or that people will notice that you are nervous, blushing, or sweating. You are even worried that you will humiliate or embarrass yourself in front of people. Social anxiety causes embarrassment and self-consciousness. But, do not worry, there are some ways to help you reduce your anxiety. Here are three ways you can do this: take small steps, challenge negative thoughts, and challenge yourself.

The first is to do it step by step. Every little change is crucial and precious. You do not have to start with the super impressive thing like being a volunteer to lead your friend's birthday party. You can start small. Maybe you can try to be brave by answering the lecturer's question in an online class, begin to look up forward instead of looking at your shoes when walking in a mall, say "Hi!" or just nod your head to a neighbour you meet in the street. When you have done it, do not hesitate to congratulate yourself. It is good to feel happy about it.

Next, replace your negative thoughts with a positive affirmation. If you suffer from social anxiety, you are worried about many things about yourself and what other people think about you. You may be afraid of saying something wrong or rude, laughing in the wrong place and time, even perhaps if people think you are weird and they notice that you are sweating even if you are not. Those things may happen sometimes, but even if those happen, bear in mind that does not mean that people will humiliate you or that people think that you are awkward. People do not notice your small blunder, or if they do, they do not really care about it and will forget it quickly. Actually, some people will understand your position and offer empathy, because they have had the same experience in the past.

Last, dare yourself to step out of your comfort zone. This can be done by exploring many things, such as exposing yourself to certain conditions that trigger your anxiety. For example, present your work in front of the class, join organizations that require you to meet a lot of people, or maybe confess your feelings to your crush. This can help you to be more aware of your weaknesses and find solutions to conquer your anxiety. Exploring your neighbourhood, spending your time in nature, or finding new places are also exciting activities that could give you new interesting experiences, and probably peaceful feelings. Do not forget to always keep your body healthy by eating a good diet. Too much caffeine and sugar can increase feelings of anxiety. However, always look at yourself first. Do not push yourself too much.

Overcoming social anxiety might not be as easy as it seems. You may experience fear or a trembling body when you try to work on that. However, it is always worth a try. Knowing that you are not alone in this might give you a little bit of courage to keep going. Do not let this pandemic limit you.

Important: this post is not meant to act as a substitute for professional advice nor clinical diagnosis by a trained professional. please seek professional help when you need it.


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“Coping With Social Anxiety After Quarantine – Cleveland Clinic.” Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials, 17 June 2021, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-deal-with-social-anxiety-after-a-year-of-social-distancing/.

“How to Get Over Social Anxiety: 9 Expert-Backed Tips.” Healthline, 25 May 2021, https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety/how-to-get-over-social-anxiety#start-small.

Medina, Eduardo. “The Pandemic Has Made Social Anxiety Worse for the Young.” The New York Times, 27 September 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/27/us/social-anxiety-pandemic.html.

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Writer: Leony Sutanto Halim 

Editor: Junanda Amriansyah