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Social Anxiety


If I were a witch and you came to me, I’d gather these 4 ingredients to cure you of social anxiety.

We’re going to concoct a potion to get rid of social anxiety. That’s why you’re here, right?

But first, you better be a Harry Potter fan; otherwise, no potion for you!

Tell me you wouldn’t like to have the potion Draught of Peace handy at all times for when you find yourself in a social-anxiety-inducing situation. We won’t get carried away too far because you’re probably asking, “what does the Draught of Peace potion have to do with social anxiety?” 

While it’s not directly associated with it (but quite handy on its own), I decided it was time to develop my potion to get rid of social anxiety. Figuratively speaking, of course!

You’re looking for a magic solution. A hack. A quick fix.

While I can’t give you that (psst there’s no such thing), I can tap into my fountain of knowledge and give you the exact ingredients you need to be well on your way. Consider me your go-to witch for a moment, and you’re coming to me with a request to vanquish social anxiety (let’s go along with the medieval language).

I love the word vanquish because its definition beautifully suits the cause: to gain mastery over (emotion, passion, or temptation).

Because let’s face it, we’re the ones that bring social anxiety to life (through our experiences, worldviews, and thought errors), and now we’re stuck dealing with the havoc it leaves behind.

We need to gain mastery over it before it’s too late and swallows us whole.

Now, as your witch, I’ve had ample time to dissect (ha!) what it takes to get rid of social anxiety. I’ve been handing out potions left and right (writing and speaking about this topic) for the past 4 years.

Once you have the potion, watch out for these 6 signs to know that you got rid of social anxiety:

  1. You no longer have your words on repeat at the end of the day (you’re able to say things and remove yourself from them)
  2. The first thought that pops up isn’t something along the lines of (I can’t believe I said that…they’re going to think x, y, z of me)
  3. You won’t forget your name or title when you introduce yourself (and sweat profusely while doing it)
  4. Your biggest wish isn’t for a canceled/rescinded event or invitation (because you dread having to talk to people)
  5. Your first reaction to a group activity isn’t to run and hide in Zimbabwe (Madagascar, Australia, or…)
  6. You can freely ask a question in front of people, specifically strangers (even if it might be a “dumb” question)

Of course, there are
other signs that social anxiety has a stronghold on you, but these are the main ones that play out the most frequently.

social anxiety workbook cover

35-Task Social Anxiety Challenge Workbook

Want to test your social anxiety? With this workbook, based on progressive exposure therapy, you’ll get 35 tasks with 3 difficulty levels to get started. Complete the tasks by reflecting on them with the fillable sheets!

5 ingredients to get rid of social anxiety:

I’m going to potion these right up, and then it’s up to you to drink it.

1. Courage

You need the courage ingredient to keep showing up no matter how uncomfortable you might feel or what external responses you’re receiving.

With courage, you gain the confidence to show up every time, even if social anxiety beat you the day before (man, I can’t keep up with the number of beatings I’ve received). 

You’ll get knocked down, but if you keep showing up, you’ll get hurt less in the long run.⁠

Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes confident.

And as a potent reminder (I’m getting good at this witchy language), this ingredient is the most powerful. As a society, we have to face much more difficult situations these days (#pandemiclife), which translates to more opportunities to be courageous.

Unfortunately, if you’re not willing to choose courage or bravery in the face of resistance (in this case, social anxiety’s nonsense), then you’re automatically choosing retreat and abandonment.

This, in turn, leads to zero growth and, unfortunately, more disappointment in the long run.

 Disappointment that you’re letting social anxiety dictate what you can and cannot do.

You might even think things aren’t “working out for you” when they would with just a bit of courage.

So, adding this one to the potion.

2. Humour

You need the humour ingredient to laugh at yourself when you get embarrassed, or things don’t go the way you expect them to (if you have social anxiety, you know that’s a frequent occurrence).

If you can’t laugh about it, you’ll have a more challenging time moving on from a “failed” social interaction. But you can learn this skill. Don’t take yourself too seriously; remember that no one cares about you

I promise that’s a good thing in this context.

Plus, as a bonus, people love being around light-hearted individuals who can laugh at themselves. It makes for better conversation and less anxiety.

Imagine talking to someone who gets frustrated at themselves every time they slip up and ruminate over what they said. You’ll stand there, worried about the next time they shut down.

Now, imagine the opposite.

Imagine someone saying the silliest thing ever, realizing they did so, and then correcting themselves by saying, “ha! How silly of me; that’s not how I wanted that to come out!“. 

Wouldn’t you be more inclined to want that person’s company than the previous one?

Yeah, I thought so.

3. Self-reflection

You need the self-reflection ingredient to understand the root cause of your social anxiety and how to minimize it when it appears.

Still, above all else, self-reflection brings to light established mental boundaries. It tells you when they’re prodded and pushes them further out. 

Do not, I REPEAT, do not shove your feelings in the deepest and darkest corner of your soul.

They’ll fester and make their way out through internal crevices you didn’t even know you had.

Instead, allow yourself to feel what you feel and then analyse where these feelings come from. This is the quick-acting ingredient in your potion to get rid of social anxiety. 

The potion won’t have the same effect if you ignore the truth (the root cause of your social anxiety).⁠

I would also like to point out that self-reflection requires courage. 

Too many people hide their emotions away because they’re too scared and unwilling to face them. 

They’re wildly aware that that’s what they’re doing instead of using the skill (ahem, I mean the ingredient) of self-reflection to face the harsh truth.

4. Self-compassion

This is the ingredient that activates the other ones.

Without self-compassion, you’ll discard yourself the moment things go awry. You’ll forgo humour, courage, and even self-awareness because your anger and resentment towards yourself will consume you.

And that’s not a safe place to find yourself in.

Honestly, self-compassion is the ingredient that binds them all together because chances are that you won’t succeed at every social interaction you find yourself in. 

If you just so happen to flail, self-compassion should be there to catch you. That’s its purpose. To help you leap forward instead of stepping backward.

5. Curiosity (an added topping)

What if you could simply be curious? Curious about how you’ll react in a situation, how you’ll feel, and what people’s reactions will be. 

The benefit of walking into a situation with the lens of curiosity is that you get to analyse yourself as if you were a third party.

Think of yourself as participating in a “social experiment,” and the other you analysing how you’re doing. You’re removing yourself from the situation and letting curiosity take lead.

This mode of thinking can reduce your anxiety significantly because how will you be anxious if you’re trying to observe your reactions? Interesting twist, right?

Here’s the recipe for the highest potency:

  • First, pour in the courage to help you through a conversation or an ice-breaker. You know you can do it because you’ve done it before.
  • Secondly, dump in the humour to laugh off whatever goes wrong. Maybe you said good morning instead of good afternoon. Correct yourself, call it a silly slip-up, and use it as a self-deprecating joke the next time.
  • Thirdly, slowly pour the self-reflection to assess how it all unfolds, why you have the feelings and thoughts, and course-correct for the future.
  • Fourthly, heat the self-compassion and blend it well with the other ingredients to give yourself a warm hug when things don’t go as planned.
  • Fifthly, top it off with curiosity to remove yourself from the situation so you can have an eagle’s eye view of what’s happening.

d package this potion up and become a millionaire. Or, at least, keep a vial in every pocket.

But, since that’s not possible, and I’m not a witch, all I can do is empower you to use these ingredients together whenever social anxiety is present.

It’s your best chance at getting rid of it.

I’m pretending to be a witch and you’ve come to me to help you get rid of social anxiety.

Here are the 5 ingredients that are going to go into your potion:

  1. Courage
  2. Humor
  3. Self-reflection
  4. Self-compassion
  5. Curiosity

Go back up and read why each ingredient is important on its own.

I'm Roxana

I went from being scared to ask a question out loud to hosting summits online. I love coffee, french crepes, and working from home. My mission? Help others build their social confidence to make friends, have conversations, and be comfortable around people!

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As a social anxiety expert I share my best strategies and tips that I’ve learned on my journey to help you manage your social anxiety.

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