How to Overcome Social Anxiety

master social anxietyOne powerful way for overcoming social anxiety is to model the behavior of people who are socially competent. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, success leaves footprints. Observe socially successful people when they’re working a room.

Pay attention to their body language. Are they standing straight or slouching? Are they leaning back and feeling relaxed in their environment, or are they demonstrating closed body language? Do they openly take up space or they shrink down to a ball?

Pay attention to how confident people speak. Do they stutter or enunciate their words clearly? Do they speak gently or do they speak with a booming and self-assured voice?

Do they stand around with drinks pressed to their chest or are they open and engaging with everyone in the room. How is their eye contact? Is steady or darting?

By paying attention you will begin to notice that people aren’t just randomly good at social situations. They are good, because they take action and behave in ways that socially anxious people do not.

Overcoming social anxiety requires you to understand the characteristics of a social confident person and begin to emulate those characteristics in your day to day life.

“Why should I work on my external qualities” you ask, “Don’t I need to focus on my inner beliefs?” You must definitely work on your inner beliefs, but the truth is you can do affirmations until you’re blue in the face and still not see results. The only way to overcome social anxiety is to take action! The fastest way to fix your inner game is to fix your outer game.

Affirmations fail because your external reality doesn’t concur with the belief you are trying to integrate into your life. For example if you repeat to yourself “I am confident, I am confident, I am confident…” but your external reality shows that you are in fact a pussy then your subconscious brain will reject that affirmation.

However, if you do something brave like speak up in class, or tell a funny joke where everyone laughs than you have a real life example to reinforce the belief that you are confident. Get this through your head: affirmations don’t mean squat without action.

At first this task may seem daunting and to a certain extent it is. That is why I recommend you start with baby steps. Take one quality of a socially confident person and try to develop that trait in yourself.

For example, if you have stuttering problems focus only on improving that for 3 weeks until you have it down.

When you have your stuttering handled, move on to fixing your body language. Learn to stand in way that conveys strength and confidence. Focus on that for another 3 weeks until you feel as if you have mastered that.

Make these challenges progressively harder. After you have your vocal projection and body language down focus on talking more comfortably with your friends, and start to make small chit chat with a waitress or cashier (they’re paid to be friendly so it makes for great practice). Raise your hand in class and ask questions. Next time you have a suggestion try letting others know.

Make sure you understand that overcoming social anxiety requires you that you take small, consistent steps and progressively challenge yourself. Right now you may feel that it’s impossible to become the socially confident person of your dreams but I assure it’s possible and I’ve known many people who have overcome that (myself included).

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Do yourself a favor and take the first step!

Here is a quick recap of the main points:

  • Observe how socially confident people behave
  • Try to emulate those traits in yourself
  • Focus on developing one trait at a time for at least 3 weeks (or until it becomes a habit)
  • Engage people and make the social situations progressively more challenging.
  • Take small, consistent action on a daily basis
  • Keep in mind there is no magic short cut, the journey may be long but it’s definitely rewarding!

Wish you all the best of luck!

Arnov Rahman


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