Social anxiety affects millions of Americans, and is one of the most common human experiences. People who suffer from social anxiety typically have an overly excited amygdala (the part of the brain that is used for emotion). So, this is both a good thing and a bad thing, depending on the situation, but it needs to be managed properly.
Developing social connections and learning how to sell yourself are becoming increasingly important in both business and social spheres. In previous decades, social systems were in place that facilitated marriage, business connections, the transition from school to the workplace, and all other important milestones in life. But nowadays, it’s more like we’re left to fend for ourselves. Those who aren’t able to put themselves out there will be at a disadvantage as a result.
Fortunately, you do not have to be born as a social butterfly to become assertive and outgoing. Even introverted people can be outgoing at times, but the difference is that they will need time to recharge and reflect periodically. Introverted people tend to be purpose-driven, and the skills needed for networking can be learned and practiced as necessary parts of achieving one’s goals in life. And once you start to have some success, that behavior gets reinforced and becomes part of your identity.
Understand Your Shyness
In order to overcome social anxiety, we need to first understand the reasons for it. The three primary components of social anxiety are excessive self-consciousness, negative self-evaluation, and negative self-preoccupation. Which of these apply to you, what situations trigger them, and how can you change these thinking habits?
Turn Self Consciousness into Self Awareness
Most of the time people are not paying attention to us, because they are too preoccupied with themselves. Instead of worrying about what others are thinking, watch yourself from within and watch your thoughts in and around social situations. The first step toward change is self-awareness.
Find Your Strengths
Find the things you are good at and focus on those. This will increase your confidence and carry over into other situations. Learn your unique strengths that can give you advantages in certain situations.
Focus on Other People
Instead of being preoccupied with what others will think of us, focus on other people and what they have to say. This is actually an advanced social skill. Neurological studies have shown that people get pleasure from talking about themselves. So get someone to talk about themselves, make them feel listened to, and they will feel like they have made a friend for life!
Rejection is part of life, although it’s never easy. Rejection is harder for sensitive personality types. But in order to pursue our goals in life, it is necessary to cope with some amount of rejection. Do not take it personally. Learn what you can from it, and carry on when sufficient time has passed.
Practice Social Skills
Contrary to popular belief, social skills can be learned. The more we place ourselves in challenging situations, the less anxiety-inducing they will become. And the reverse is also true. The more we shield ourselves from anxiety-inducing situations, the harder they will be to cope with.
What is Comfortable for You?
While becoming more social and breaking out of constricted behavioral patterns is a laudable goal, not everyone is meant to be a social butterfly. Some people prefer quiet dinner parties to bars and clubs. You can be just as social in settings that you connect with on a personal level, as in the popular social settings. While going outside of your comfort zone is a useful exercise, there is also power in knowing where your energy lies and following that energy