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How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Cool It

By Sandy Schroeder

Everybody has a few painful memories when things went radically wrong on the job, at home or out in the world. Very few people manage to sail through life without ever taking a tumble, but knowing what to do to avoid stumbling can be invaluable. steps up to give us some wise ways to cool all of that anxiety. They say 40 percent of the population experiences sweaty palms, pounding heart, and serious feelings of unease when they desperately want to be calm, confident and cool. Here are some ways to turn the tables.

How to Cool It

Clinical psychologist and author of How to Be Yourself, Ellen Hendricksen, PhD, tells people how to “quiet the inner critic and rise above social anxiety.”

Dr. Hendricksen says whenever you become anxious, focus on your surroundings. When we are nervous we all tend to monitor ourselves, feeling our wobbly legs or pounding heart, but if we look around and listen to what’s going on we might calm down naturally and be drawn into the situation.

Here are Hendricksen’s takes on two typical situations that most of us encounter.

Leading a meeting or giving a presentation - You may do your level best to sound calm and assured, but Hendricksen says most people respond best to more natural presentations that seem more personal and real. Instead of worrying about how smart you sound, concentrate on what you are saying. When you really believe it, you may be caught up in the message and forget all about your nervousness. At the same time, the audience will recognize you as someone who is real and worth their time.

Going to a networking event or cocktail party - If you truly dread going into one of these things alone you might rope a friend, or spouse, into going along. Either way, Hendriksen says, “Go in with a plan.” Research shows even people who are socially nervous do fairly well when they go into an event with a task, such as meeting three new people. Now they have to focus on that instead of wondering what to say and where to start. If they are going to meet three new people they just have to start moving and keep moving. Given a task like this, most of them do much better than they would ordinarily.

Wherever social anxiety crops up for you, focus on the situation more than yourself, concentrate on who you are and what you want to communicate, and if you need to give yourself tasks to stay involved and shut down all of those nervous doubts. The more you use these tips, the smoother it should go.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Seal Beach, Calif.

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