When you have social anxiety, everyday interactions may feel like a minefield. Anything from speaking in front of others to attending an after-work happy hour can trigger those all-too-familiar feelings of stress and fear. But it’s important not to let these moments stand in the way of your happiness.
The key is identifying what triggers your social anxiety so that you can take small steps towards conquering it. Whether it’s the presence of strangers, specific people, or a particular situation that makes you anxious, identifying your triggers will help you tackle them one by one.
Write Down your Social Anxiety Triggers
Before you can begin addressing your triggers, you must first understand what they are. Recording your social anxiety triggers will not only help you identify them more easily in the future, but it will also help you track your progress over time. If you don’t track your anxiety triggers, it’s easy to mistake minor improvements for no improvement at all.
To record your triggers, try keeping a journal or writing them down in a note on your phone. There are a few ways you can do this. You could write down each time you felt anxious or afraid in a social situation. You could also list situations that make you feel anxious, regardless of whether or not you felt it then and there.
Be honest with yourself about your Social Anxiety Triggers
When you’re honest with yourself about your triggers, you can begin to identify what it is, exactly, that causes you to feel anxious. Understanding why you feel the way you do is the first step toward reducing your anxiety.
To help you identify your triggers, try asking yourself some questions. What types of situations make you anxious? Who are the specific people who make you feel that way? What is it about a particular setting that triggers your anxiety? What about a specific topic makes you feel anxious?
Learn More about your Social Anxiety Triggers
Once you’ve identified your triggers, you can learn more about why these situations cause you to feel anxious. Social anxiety is a complex disorder with many different causes. Knowing what triggers your anxiety will help you create a targeted plan for reducing your anxiety in these situations.
If you want to learn more about your specific triggers, there are a few ways to do this. You could speak to a therapist about your triggers and what causes social anxiety. Also, you could read up on social anxiety and review common triggers.
Commit to Small Changes that will make you Feel More Comfortable
Now that you’ve identified your triggers, you can begin making minor changes to how you go about your day—even small changes can make a big difference overall in managing your anxiety. Small changes can be as simple as taking a few extra minutes to prepare for a social situation or choosing a seat at the bar away from the crowd.
If you want to tackle your triggers head-on, start by making a list of small changes to feel more comfortable in a social situation. You can then revisit this list to be reminded of the changes you want to make.