Bro, let's just cancel? Image: YouTube/ Bindass
If you cancel more night outs than Ubers and get a mini heart attack when your phone dies at a party, you are not alone. We repeat: You are not alone. Social anxiety is as real as it gets, but that does not mean the thought of a house party should give you palpitations.
According to Joyable, an online mental health service, 70% of people between the ages of 18 and 29 experience social anxiety. Psychotherapist Dr Mansi Poddar, who is also the founder of Mansitherapy- A Center for Psychological Wellbeing, says social anxiety is a very common psychological condition that effects millions.
If you avoid hanging out in groups or feel overwhelmed at the thought of large gatherings, you might have social anxiety, and it is okay to deal with it in your own way. We talked to Dr Poddar, and here are 5 things every socially anxious millennial must know before socialising.
Not everybody is there to judge you
Social anxiety is caused by the fear of being judged and most people are probably as anxious as you are. Nobody wants to be judged by strangers, but not everybody is there to judge you. Quick tip: At a gathering or even an intimate bash, try to compliment at least three people to put them at ease and build rapport.
Smile > Resting bitch face
A smile makes you seem approachable and warm, and also encourages similarly anxious people to talk to you. Maybe, just maybe, use the resting bitch face only at work? Oh, and with your nosy landlord.
Identify one person in the room who you feel is quiet or has made eye contact with you. Stand near them and say "Hi. I'm XYZ, and you are?" Having that one person to talk to can make it easier to get through the night.
Deep, deep breaths
They help take the edge off and make you feel more in control of the physical symptoms of anxiety. In the worst case scenario where anxiety seems to overtake you, go to the bathroom, wash your face and take a few deep breaths. If you have make-up on, dab with a wet tissue. Water relaxes the nervous system, so splashing some or drinking mindfully can help.
Know when to ask for help
Social anxiety is actually a whole bunch of unrealistic and self critical thoughts that aren't true. They are purely fear based. Talk to family or friends and focus on how unrealistic they are. When you find yourself getting all negative, say STOP. Then pull up someone's voice who calms you and have a self-talk negating anxieties of the fear-based voice.
Dr Poddar also wants you to remember that social situations are tough for most of us, but avoiding them consistently increases anxiety. If you feel it's debilitating, talk to a professional and get help.