Last updated on December 30th, 2023 at 07:35 pm

“I hate social anxiety” – a feeling many of us can relate to. Feeling nervous around people is a bad feeling when you walk into a room with lots of people, worrying about saying something wrong, or being really scared of what others think.

Many of us know this feeling well because of social anxiety.

But, instead of letting this dislike make our worries worse, let’s use it to push us to change.

By learning and taking action, we can turn our struggles into steps toward a life without the worry of social anxiety.

Keep reading as we explore real ways to beat social anxiety and get back the calm and freedom you want.

What is Social Anxiety Compared

what is social anxiety

15 ways & action to overcome social anxiety

1. Know What Social Anxiety Is & How It Affects You

Social anxiety isn’t just being shy. It’s a real issue that affects about 12 out of every 100 people in the U.S at some point in their lives. It’s that strong fear you feel in social settings where you think others might judge you. When you say, “I hate social anxiety,” you’re really saying you can’t stand how it makes you feel in these situations. [National Institute of Mental Health].

Understanding Your Social Anxiety: It’s important to know that social anxiety is more than just feeling a bit nervous. Dr. Ellen Hendriksen, a well-known psychologist, says it’s like believing you could mess up at any moment and be left all alone. When you say, “I hate social anxiety,” you’re really talking about hating this fear.

Finding Out What Sets It Off: To tackle social anxiety, start by figuring out what makes it worse for you. It could be talking in front of people, meeting new folks, or going to parties. Knowing what triggers your anxiety is the first step to dealing with it better.

Remember: Knowing more about your social anxiety is a big step toward handling it. Understanding what you’re dealing with can help you come up with ways to manage it.

Action Step: Start a diary where you write down when you feel anxious, where you are, and what you think might be causing it. This can help you see patterns and get ready for tough times.

risk factors of social anxiety

2.  Challenge Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts often make us believe we’re not good enough. You might think, “I hate feeling nervous around people because it makes me feel weak.”

Changing Your Thinking: There’s a method called cognitive restructuring that helps you spot and change these negative thoughts. It’s about swapping out the bad thoughts for more realistic, positive ones. Dr. Alice Boyes says this method helps you think in a healthier way.

Seeing Things Differently: Reframing is when you look at a situation in a new way. For example, instead of seeing a party as scary, you might see it as a chance to get better at talking to people. This can make you feel less anxious.

Remember: Like Wayne Dyer said, “If you change how you see things, the things you see change.” Looking at things differently can make you feel better about social situations.

What to Do: When you notice yourself thinking something negative, stop and write it down. Ask yourself if it’s really true. Then, try to come up with a more positive way to look at it. This can help you feel better and more confident.


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3. Practice Deep Breathing and Relaxation Techniques

Deep breathing and relaxation exercises can help calm the physical signs of social anxiety, like a fast heartbeat or breathing too quickly.

Deep Breathing: Focusing on your breath can help you feel calm and in control. Research in the journal Frontiers in Psychology shows that slow, controlled breathing can lower anxiety and help your body relax.

Relaxation Techniques: There’s a method called progressive muscle relaxation where you tighten and then relax different muscles. This can help ease anxiety. Also, imagining a peaceful place or moment, known as guided imagery, can make you feel more relaxed.

Remember: Using these techniques regularly can make them work better, especially when you’re feeling really stressed.

What to Do: Try deep breathing for 5 minutes every day to start. Then, slowly add other relaxation methods to your daily routine.

4. Gradual Exposure Therapy

You might say “I hate social anxiety” less often as you slowly get used to the things that make you nervous.

Understanding Gradual Exposure: This therapy means you start facing the things that scare you bit by bit. Dr. David Burns, a well-known psychologist, says it’s better to face your fears than to avoid them.

Remember: It might take time, but it’s about getting a little better each time. Every time you face a fear without getting too anxious, you’re moving closer to feeling okay.

What to Do: Pick a small social situation that’s a bit uncomfortable but you can handle. Try doing it more often until you feel less anxious about it.

5. Seek Support from Loved Ones

Having a support system is essential for managing social anxiety. Often when we’re able to share our feelings, including thoughts like “I hate having social anxiety” it becomes easier to cope.

Building a Support System: Confide in a trusted friend or family member about your social anxiety. You could also consider joining a support group, where you can connect with others who are facing similar challenges.

Remember: You don’t have to fight social anxiety alone. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can provide emotional relief and practical solutions. Having someone to talk to can help reduce the frequency of negative thoughts and feeling burnt out.

Action Step: Reach out to a trusted friend or family member and share your experiences with them. If you’re comfortable, consider joining a support group for social anxiety.

6. Professional Help Can Reduce Anxiety

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we might need professional help. “I hate social anxiety,” you might express to your therapist, who can provide effective strategies tailored to your unique experiences.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is one of the most effective treatments for social anxiety. It involves identifying negative thought patterns and learning how to challenge them.

Medication: In some cases, medication may be recommended as part of treatment. It’s important to have an open discussion with your healthcare provider about the potential benefits and risks.

Remember: Seeking professional help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It’s an important step towards reducing the feelings of “I hate social anxiety.”

Action Step: If your social anxiety is significantly impacting your life, consider seeking help from a mental health professional. They can provide a range of treatments and strategies to help you manage your symptoms.

therapy for social anxiety

7. Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle can be instrumental in managing your social anxiety. Every time you think, “I hate social anxiety,” remember that small, healthy changes can make a big difference.

Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet not only nourishes your body but also your mind. Certain foods like those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B, and antioxidants can contribute to better mental health.

Exercise: Regular physical activity can reduce symptoms of anxiety by boosting your mood and acting as a natural stress reliever. Next time you think, “I hate social anxiety,” consider going for a run or practicing yoga.

Quality Sleep: Sleep deprivation can exacerbate feelings of anxiety. Ensuring you have good sleep hygiene can help manage your social anxiety symptoms.

Remember: A healthy lifestyle is a vital part of managing social anxiety. Small changes can help reduce thoughts like, “I hate social anxiety.”

Action Step: Make a commitment to adopting one healthy habit this week, such as incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet or establishing a regular sleep schedule.

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Subscribe to our community and get a HUGE discount on our course, Next Level Conversation

8. Self-Compassion

Being kind to yourself is crucial in your journey to manage social anxiety. When you catch yourself thinking, “I hate social anxiety,” it’s also important to remember not to hate yourself for experiencing it.

Understanding Self-Compassion: It’s about being gentle with yourself when you’re suffering or feeling inadequate, rather than being critical.

Practicing Self-Compassion: Dr. Kristin Neff, a leading researcher in the field, suggests several exercises, like writing a letter to yourself from the perspective of a compassionate friend, or practicing mindfulness to confront negative thoughts without judgment.

Remember: When you catch yourself thinking, “I hate social anxiety,” redirect some of that compassion toward yourself. It’s not your fault you’re dealing with this, and it’s okay to be kind to yourself.

Action Step: Practice one self-compassion exercise daily. When you catch yourself saying, “I hate social anxiety,” remind yourself it’s okay to struggle and everyone does at times.


9. Keep Learning and Growing

Remember, overcoming social anxiety is a journey, not a destination. It’s normal to have moments where you say, “I hate social anxiety,” but remember that every day is an opportunity for growth.

Continuous Learning: Keep informed about the latest research and strategies for managing social anxiety. Knowledge is power, and the more you know, the better equipped you are to deal with your social anxiety.

Celebrate Progress: No matter how small, celebrate your progress. Maybe you were able to attend a social gathering or speak up in a meeting. These victories matter.

Remember: Growth takes time. Even if you still find yourself thinking, “I hate social anxiety,” recognize the progress you’ve made and the growth that’s yet to come.

Action Step: Write down one thing you learned about social anxiety this week, and one success, no matter how small. Celebrate your continuous learning and progress.

10. Develop Coping Strategies

Coping strategies are the methods we use to deal with stressful or difficult situations. They can be particularly helpful in managing moments of intense social anxiety.

Effective Coping Strategies: These can include grounding exercises, which help you stay focused on the present, visualization techniques, and distraction methods, like listening to music or reading a book.

Remember: What works best will be individual to you, so it’s crucial to try different strategies and see which ones help most.

Action Step: Create a ‘coping toolbox,’ a collection of physical activities, relaxation techniques, and mental strategies that you can turn to when feeling anxious.

cope with social anxiety

Bonus Tips: Unique Ways to Feel Less Anxious

Reality Role-Play: Harnessing the Power of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) therapy isn’t just for gaming; it’s a powerful tool for practicing social skills. Imagine putting on a headset and suddenly being at a party or a meeting. You can talk to virtual people and get used to social cues in a place where there’s no real risk. Over time, this can make real-life situations feel more manageable.

Reverse Social Engineering: Shifting the Focus

Reverse social engineering is about turning the tables and becoming an observer. Instead of worrying about how you’re seen, watch how others handle social stress. Notice their nervous habits, their laughter, or how they start conversations. Realizing that everyone has moments of insecurity can make you feel less alone and more prepared.

Comedy Therapy: Laughter as a Catalyst for Growth

Comedy therapy through improvisation or stand-up classes is a unique way to tackle social anxiety. These classes aren’t just about being funny; they’re about finding comfort in expressing yourself and dealing with unexpected situations. In a group of people who understand your fears, you’ll find laughter and support, helping you grow more confident.

Nature Immersion: Harnessing the Healing Power of the Outdoors

Nature immersion combines the therapeutic effects of nature with social interaction. Activities like group hikes or outdoor team-building exercises provide a dual benefit. The calming environment of nature eases anxiety, while the group setting offers a low-pressure opportunity to interact and connect with others.

Therapeutic Gaming: Utilizing Technology for Social Growth

Therapeutic gaming uses the engaging world of video games to address social anxiety. These aren’t your typical games; they’re designed to simulate social interactions and provide practical exercises for improving social skills. From starting conversations to understanding body language, these games offer a fun and interactive way to practice and grow.

Get 8 Free Tools to Become Socially Confident

Subscribe to our community and get a HUGE discount on our course, Next Level Conversation

What you can do right now

Download our Tool Kit for free (mini-course, social blueprint, and more) Prepare more when you go out to socialize.

We think if you join our community or read a few more blog posts, you won’t be saying, “I hate social anxiety!” But, you’ll feel more confident, and prepared and you’ll know what to do next, especially, when it comes to socializing.

Steve Anthony

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