11 Things to Do When You Have Social Anxiety Disorder

Actions You Can Take to Help Get Better

A daily walk can help boost health and reduce social anxiety.
Walk daily to boost your mental resilience and reduce social anxiety. stockstudioX / Getty Images
  1. Get Yourself Out There. Although it can be tempting to avoid social and performance situations if you suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD), it is important to get yourself out there. That means accepting invitations and going places that make you uncomfortable. At the same time, you need to prepare yourself to properly handle being out there.
  2. Get Help. Don't wait until tomorrow or next week or the next time you are in crisis. Make an appointment today to see someone. If you are too embarrassed to call your doctor, consider contacting a mental health helpline such as the one offered by the National Alliance on Mental Illness to get you started. You might find talking to an anonymous stranger less intimidating and it could eventually lead to receiving the help you need. Just take the first step.
  1. Develop Healthy Habits. Do everything in your power to ensure that poor physical health is not contributing to your problems with anxiety. Exercise on a regular basis (including cardiovascular exercise and weight training) and eat a healthy, balanced diet. Do your best to stay away from caffeine and alcohol. Drink chamomile tea to soothe your nerves.
  2. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on about social anxiety and how to improve. Read true stories about other people who have been there and done that. Read motivational books about life in general. Educating yourself will never hurt you, and it might give you the insight or inspiration that you need to make changes in your life.
  3. Keep a Journal. Keep a daily journal so that you can see how much you have improved. Writing about your thoughts and experiences will also help you recognize when you are falling back into old habits and negative-thinking patterns.
  1. Congratulate Yourself. You might not be a confident public speaker, but there are a lot of things in your life to be proud of. Recognize that you face more challenges than others and that you should feel good about the small accomplishments in your life. Some days you can even feel proud that you made it out of the house. Build on small achievements and you will feel better about yourself.
  1. Write Down Your Goals. It isn't enough to have vague goals about what you want to achieve. Whether you want to overcome symptoms of social anxiety or become an Academy Award-winning actress, it is important to put your goals down on paper. This makes them real and measurable.
  2. Become Your Own Best Advocate. Nobody else is going to look out for you the way you can look out for yourself. Gather knowledge about SAD so that you can make better decisions. Ask for accommodations at work and school if you feel they will help you. Guide others toward better understanding of the struggles you face. Take time out at parties if you feel the need. Nobody else knows what it is like to be you.
  3. Practice Social Skills. You may not have been born with the gift of gab, but you can improve on the skills that you have. Practice how to make introductions, make better eye contact, remember names and learn how to give compliments. If you want to improve your public-speaking skills, join a group like Toastmasters International.
  4. Practice Being Assertive. Social anxiety and lack of assertiveness tend to go hand-in-hand. The problem with not being assertive is that you don't give other people the chance to meet your needs. Assertiveness is not about aggressively going after what you want; it is being clear about what you need from others in order to be satisfied.
  1. Share Your Experiences. Whether you have conquered social anxiety or you are right in the midst of it, your experiences are valuable and should be shared with others. Sharing your story will help others realize that they are not alone, and will also bring more awareness to a problem that is mostly kept behind closed doors.