How to reduce social anxiety

cheerful group of friends having a conversation

If you have mild social anxiety you may feel uncomfortable or fearful of certain social situations, especially those you aren’t familiar with, where you won’t know many people or if you feel you’ll be judged by others. Even just the thought of mingling with others may trigger sweating, rapid breathing or an upset stomach in some people. Social anxiety can come in the way of what should be fun opportunities to meet and connect with others but there are ways to regain control and confidence including:

  • Relaxing – Try relaxation methods such as yoga, meditation, tai chi or deep breathing. You might learn some techniques that you can use in awkward social situations.
  • Finding social situations where you feel comfortable – Sometimes mixing with a small number of like‐minded people in a less intimidating situation can help you to feel more confident and able to engage with others. You could join a club or volunteer for a cause you believe in and then slowly build up to other social events.
  • Practicing – If your social interactions are few and far between, you have a low chance of facing and overcoming your fears. Say ‘yes’ to more social situations, which will help you to slowly build up your confidence. Try to stay at the event for a little while even if you feel more comfortable being on the couch at home.
  • Visualising – When you’re invited to a party or other social event, imagine seeing yourself looking relaxed and confident. Doing this repeatedly will help you believe it.
  • Having adequate sleep ‐ Being well rested helps you stay calm in social situations. Being sleep‐deprived on the other hand can make you more vulnerable to stress. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to feelings of mild anxiety, try relaxation techniques and/or a natural sleep remedy with ingredients such as zizyphus, hops and lactium.
  • Limiting caffeine intake – Caffeine in coffee, tea and some soft drinks acts as a stimulant and may exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
  • Moderating alcohol consumption – When dealing with situations that make you nervous, you might be tempted to drink to calm your nerves. At first this may take your mind off the problem, but it can in fact make your anxiety symptoms worse.
  • Focusing on the person you’re talking to – When you’re in a social situation, try to focus on the person you’re talking to instead of yourself. This will stop the negative thoughts from surfacing like ‘why did I say that?’, ‘what must they think of me?’ Appear confident, even if you don’t feel it, by standing tall, maintaining eye contact, paying attention to what the person is saying and asking open questions. If you feel too uncomfortable and wish to end the conversation you could say ‘I need to say hi to [insert name] over there but it was lovely to meet you.
  • Considering natural support – There are herbal remedies available that may help you to cope with feelings of stress and anxiety. For instance, the unique herb SensorilTM may help reduce flushing, fatigue, palpitations, dry mouth, forgetfulness and the inability to concentrate associated with stress and mild anxiety.