I am sure each of us have had to deal with social anxiety at one point or another, whether it be attending a party where you don't know anyone or being in social situations you don’t feel particularly comfortable in. I always tell girls about my journey and how I used to be petrified to speak in front of even a small group of people and now I’ve managed to overcome that and train thousands of girls at any one time! It really is a mental thing and I think the most important thing to remember is not to be too hard on yourself, push yourself to embrace new situations - but don’t be too disappointed if sometimes you don’t do as well as you expected. There is ALWAYS room to improve yourself and grow!
So here are my top three tips on how to overcome social anxiety:
1. Set Goals You Can Achieve
Depending on what makes you nervous in a social setting, this will change for each person. However, if you set goals you have something to work on, and if you achieve them you will feel so much better about yourself. For example, if you are always quiet in meetings you could set a goal to make at least 2 comments. Don’t focus on other people, how you feel or what you said - simply focus on the goal at hand. This is a great stepping stone for making progress, which you can always build on and eventually feel confident about your actions.
If you are at a party and don’t know anyone set yourself a goal to ask 3 people about what they do and make small talk. This is SO daunting for so many people but a lot of the time you will find that making the effort and asking questions will get people to easily open up to you - and the focus won't be on you.
2. Focus On Other People & Your Surroundings
When we are feeling shy, anxious or uncomfortable in social situations a lot of the time it is because we are so focused on ourselves and people judging us or feeling awkward. Next time you are in a social setting that makes you feel a little anxious, remember to focus on your environment and the other people in it.
Simple things such as noticing the colour of the walls, looking at what people are wearing, if there is any pictures on the walls or other small details which you would ordinarily miss can help you take the pressure off yourself - and relax a little.
If you are public speaking pick one or two people in the room and focus on them. This doesn’t mean you have to do the typical ‘picture them naked’ thing, but it will help you to keep focus and stay calm.
3. Challenge Your Thoughts & Practice, Practice, Practice
Next time you are feeling anxious, ask yourself why? If you are scared people are judging you, are they actually? If you think you are going to look silly doing or saying something, ask yourself if this is actually going to happen or are you just thinking the worst? Sometimes our mind is our own worst enemy and we think the worst, when really we need to take a step back and see the reality of the situation. Which usually is most people are too busy being focused on themselves and they probably don’t have any idea you are feeling nervous.
This brings me to my next point, practice makes perfect. Do you want to know how I overcame my fear of public speaking? I had to keep practicing it, and finding myself in situations where I had no choice but to become better at it. I am so grateful I stuck at it and kept telling myself I will be okay, because now I can speak in front of thousands of girls and feel SO much better about myself.
Remember girls, it is perfectly normal to feel anxious at times, we all do. Next time you have an event or situation you are slightly dreading, try these easy tips and remember to RELAX. It won’t be as bad as you think it is if you can learn to control your thoughts.
Love, Kayla xx