It’s believed that, in most cases, social anxiety is driven by mindset, rather than a chemical imbalance. It tends to go hand in hand with negative thinking, and interpreting situations as being much worse than they really are. As such, it’s a good idea to work on improving your mental processes if you want to overcome social anxiety for good.
Abraham Lincoln once said that “most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So if you are already feeling depressed, settling for feeling down won’t fix the problem. Why not choose to be happy instead? You won’t lose a single thing if you chose to smile.
I know this is easier said than done, but learning how to maintain a happy state of mind is key to being able to overcome social anxiety for good through correcting the negative thoughts that drive it. Cognitive behavioural therapy is one way, and there are many other healthy habits you can adopt that will improve your mood and reduce your social anxiety as a result.
Here are six habits for improving the way you think, feel and behave in social situations:
1. Waking up early
Early risers are generally happier and healthier than those who prefer the night life, this is according to a study by the researchers from the University of Toronto. “Society’s expectations are far more organized around a morning-type person’s schedule.” says Renee Biss, a graduate student research at the University of Toronto.
I always consider myself as an early riser. I love the fresh atmosphere in the morning, I notice that I am more enthusiastic to face the day whenever I wake up early. I accomplish more and everything seems to be easy. I don’t like to rush myself to office or scramble myself to catch a meeting.
2. Daily Exercise
Maintaining a moderate exercise everyday will not only help you sleep better, keep your heart healthy and keep your body in shape but also helps to lighten up your mood the entire day. When you are physically active you will have a sense of accomplishment in attaining your fitness goals and most likely inspired to accomplish more during the day.
According to a study conducted at Penn State, people who are more physically active have also shown greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than people who are less active physically. “David Conroy, a professor of kinesiology also suggest that it is more effective to set short term goals in exercising to stay motivated, to be able to keep up with the program that they started.
3. Make a habit of Disengaging yourself
Giving yourself a time to regain your strength back after a long day of exhaustion at work is important to be equally happy when you return home at night. There are times that stress gets you and people who are often stressed out during the day have difficulty sleeping at night. It’s because they did not give themselves a time to disengage themselves from their stressors.
The book entitled “The Power of Full Engagement” by Loehr and Schwarz talked about how to disengage yourself periodically and seek renewal to fully achieve happiness and prosperity in life.
4. Help Others
A survey conducted by Do Good Live Well Survey in 2010 has found out that most of those who volunteered have shown a positive impact on their lives. Most of the volunteer feel that their participation made them physically healthier, lowered their stress levels and improved their sense of well-being.
I can speak from my own experience that unbelievable feeling of happiness whenever I participate with the feeding program of my church. It increases my satisfaction for a moment, it gives me a sense of meaning and purpose.
5. Learn new skills
A key to happiness is when you don’t lack enthusiasm to tackle each day with eagerness and excitement. Maintaining that level of enthusiasm is hard, but by learning some new stuff and a new skill perhaps will give you a new goal to fill.
6. Have multiple ways to “WIN” each day
Challenging yourself to achieve your short term goals would give you a complete boost on your ego and would feel accomplished at the end of the day. Of course there are always blunders that would make it more difficult for you. But instead of feeling disappointed and giving up, why not challenge yourself to win them over.
Overcoming social anxiety disorder comes from adopting healthy ways of thinking and making small changes that raise your self esteem. It can be a long process,but through adopting habits, like those listed above, you can learn how to improve your mood and reduce your social anxiety for good.
N.B. Remember, if social anxiety disorder is adversely affecting your life and making you feel depressed then you should always consult a medical professional, like a doctor or psychologist for professional advice. The severity of social anxiety can vary tremendously between individuals and what helps some people overcome it might not be as effective for others.