Social anxiety can make it difficult to talk to people, which can make it hard to develop a strong relationship with someone. There are some things that you can do to help reduce your social anxiety or fight the negative thoughts and feelings that it causes.
However, if your anxiety levels are too high to pursue any relationships, then you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You can actually speak with a therapist online at BetterHelp, which may also be easier on your anxiety and comfort levels.
You may even regret not being able to talk to the cute barista or fun neighbor. To put those feelings of regret and hopelessness behind you, it is important to learn how to navigate relationships without increasing your anxiety levels. Let’s look at some of the things that you can do to help.
Find a Comfortable Setting
A lot of the most popular dating spots are highly stimulating and social. This is not good for those who suffer with social anxiety, especially when it is a first date, and you are not yet comfortable around each other. It is possible to have a wonderful date in a less popular setting.
Try meeting in locations that you are more comfortable in that do not have a lot of people. You may choose a coffee shop (after the morning rush of course!) or go to the park. You may also find that small group outings ease your anxiety a little as well.
If you have a lot of anxiety during a date, try not to be shy about it. Sure, that is easier said that done, but may go a long way towards improving a relationship. If you are not comfortable and have a hard time making conversation because of your social anxiety, the other person may feel that you are not having fun or do not like them.
Instead, you can just speak up and tell them that you are nervous because of your social anxiety. You can even apologize for appearing distracted or uninterested. This releases feelings of embarrassment and shame and you may find that it reduces anxiety as well. Plus, if your date has a problem with it, they are probably not a person you want to continue to date anyways.
When we concentrate specifically on forming a relationship, our anxiety levels and frustrations are bound to rise. Instead, try lowering any expectations and practice with the goal of improving, not with the goal of finding true love. Doing this can make you more comfortable and offers practice talking to people in a flirtatious way. This may also make you find features about potential partners that you like and dislike.
Furthermore, this can help you get into a groove. Try talking to more people each day, whether they are potential romantic partners, co-workers, neighbors, or family members. Any social activity can help you feel more comfortable.
Call a Friend
Friends are important and having a solid support system can help to boost your confidence. Mix up your free time and make sure to spend some with friends or family members. You can also go to social events to spend time with your friends without the expectation that you will meet someone. Then, meeting people is a bonus that may or may not happen, which can help you improve your interactions.
Don’t Let the Anxiety Win
You may find that you have a strong urge to remove yourself from a social situation as soon as your anxiety levels get uncomfortable. It may be hard to do, but if you try to continue to keep yourself in the social situation, you may find that it helps you gain perspective on the anxiety. This may reduce the catastrophizing that runs throughout your mind. Staying also fights the idea that the social situation is to blame for the anxiety and nervousness.
Anxiety can lead to hyperventilation, or fast breathing. This can lead to a plethora of distressing symptoms like lightheadedness and dizziness, difficulty breathing, chest pain, weakness, and racing thoughts. The increase in adrenaline can also contribute to these negative thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety.
When you feel anxious, try to control your breathing. This can go a long way to reducing or eliminating these uncomfortable symptoms. Try to breathe in slowly through your nose while counting to 5 seconds. Then, hold the breath for 3 seconds. Finally, release the breath very slowly for 5 to 7 seconds. If you continue to breathe like this for a few minutes, you may find that it relaxes your body and mind and can even stop a panic attack in its tracks.
Stay Busy After the Date
People with social anxiety can tend to think negative thoughts about the dating experience after the end of the date itself. Once the date is over, staying busy can help you to reduce negative thoughts about the experience. Instead of focusing on all of the things that you think you could have done better or differently, try to focus on positive aspects of your life that are unrelated to the date.
You can also try to foster positivity. Whenever you feel any negative thoughts or feelings springing to the forefront of your mind, try to think about all the positives in your life. You can even look at the positives of the date. Try to shift your perspective. For example, instead of thinking that you should have acted differently, think about the way that you did not think about it in the moment because you were having fun or caught up in an interesting conversation.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, taking good care of yourself can help to reduce the social anxiety and can also make you feel better about your appearance. You can exercise to improve mood and relax the muscles, thereby improving some of the symptoms associated with anxiety. Eating healthy foods can make you feel better both physically and mentally as well. Finally, getting enough sleep can help you feel better about going forward with a date or speaking to someone new.
Social anxiety can definitely make it more difficult to find love and form new relationships, but it should not hinder your efforts to meet new people. Instead of getting down on yourself, try to practice dating and be honest with yourself and others. You may also find that it helps a lot to learn breathing exercises and plan dates in less crowded areas. You may find that you meet someone before too long!