Expressing myself outwardly is, quite simply, difficult. I think this is something a lot of people can relate to these days (with all of the societal pressures leading to more and more anxiety and all). If you happen to be one of these people, take comfort that in this little space of the internet, you are not being judged. Speaking as an individual with anxiety learning to adapt to a fast paced and stressful world, I’d like to give you my tips that I use deal with the stress of social interactions/ how I remain confident even though I am uncomfortable in some social situations.
- Recognize that there is a good amount of people with social anxiety. When you are nervous talking to somebody, they are likely thinking some of the same things you are. Take comfort in the fact that you are not alone or abnormal.
- Regarding presentations for school, hardly anybody is actually paying attention to you speak anyways; they are just waiting for class to be over and to go home! This used to help me in high school. Nobody is going to go home thinking about that you said for the rest of their day anyway. They have their own lives and your mandatory school presentation is probably the least of their interests.
- Tell people right away when you meet them, that you have social anxiety or are shy. People tend to be really understanding of this. It lifts a huge weight off my chest knowing that the person I am speaking with isn’t going to wonder why I am silent for too long or not making as much eye contact as I probably should.
- Smile- it is psychologically proven that smiling makes you feel happier (and people will assume you’re friendly and might even smile back!).
- If you wear glasses or contacts, don’t wear them during a presentation. Obviously, use your own discretion on this. Wear them to the presentation but take them off/ out right before you have to speak.
- Listen to music/ dance before speaking. A good “pump up” lifts your mood and that carries into when you have to speak.
- Slow your sympathetic nervous system down. Take a deep breath.
- Look good feel good! Wear your favorite shirt and feel marvellous.
- Do something you’re good at the day you have to speak; this will make you feel accomplished and that confidence will likely carry into your speaking.
- Speak in front of people more. It will surely be uncomfortable at first, but the more you do things, the more comfortable you get with them; I promise.
- Pretend you are confident. Pretending goes farther than people realize. That is how you fall asleep after all.
- Embrace it. no matter what any extravert or naturally well spoken person tells you, you don’t have it easy. Every time you talk to somebody you are being brave and acting against all of the adrenaline in your system telling you to run away. Take fulfillment in the fact that no one else sees the world the way you do. No one else feels passion like you. You are unique. By simply being you, you are acting as a wonderful addition to the world that wasn’t there before.
Have a happy and confident Thursday! Sidney