You’re an extrovert that loves going out with people. But whenever you do, you know you get crippling social anxiety.
What to do, what to do…….
You can’t stay at home for sure, you will get FOMO and be unhappy all night.
Looks like going out is the only option you have!
Lucky for you, I have made a pre going out routine for everyone with social anxiety.
Follow this routine before you leave the house, to ensure that you spend the night confident, at ease and loving life.
Doing this pre going out routine will minimise the chance of social anxiety striking make sure it doesn’t ruin your night.
Pre going out routine for everyone with social anxiety
Positive affirmations can help rewire your brain and have a positive impact on your mental health.
I spend 2 minutes in front of the mirror saying these positive affirmations for confidence out loud.
Even though going out can be a frantic rush of worrying about being late and not having anything to wear, I always make sure I have time to do this before I leave.
Power poses are ESSENTIAL before going out.
They are proven to have an instant positive impact on your confidence levels and will impact your behaviour for the evening ahead.
My fav one goes like this:
Stand as tall as you can with your arms stretched high and apart. Keep your feet just over hip width apart. Reach as high as you can whilst making yourself as big as you can.
Stay like this for 2 minutes and you will be amazed at how different and empowered you feel.
You can learn more about how to do power poses and the impact they have in Amy Cuddy’s TED talk on power poses.
AVOID UNHELPFUL BEHAVIOUR
Unhelpful behaviours are habits that we have learned to help us manage our social anxiety in certain situations.
For example: I used to pull out my phone on any occasion as soon as I started to feel slightly awkward.
However, when I looked at this from someone else’s perspective, I could see this behaviour looked aloof and probably came across as quite rude. From their point of view it looked like I wasn’t interested in anything they were saying.
You may not even be aware of your unhelpful behaviours in social situations.
Spend some time thinking about which ones you tend to do.
Once you are aware of these behaviours, you can make sure that you avoid them and focus on engaging in the moment and conversations.
Write down your unhelpful behaviours and make note to avoid these during the night.
WRITE YOUR SOCIAL ANXIETY FEARS IN YOUR JOURNAL
I picked up this trick for helping social anxiety during CBT.
Write about what you are afraid will happen.
For example, I could write that I think I will go to this event, no one will want to talk to me, I will have nothing to say, I’ll be alone and everyone will see how socially awkward I am.
Next to it, write the percentage chance that you think this will happen.
After the event, review this journal entry and see if things went down as you predicted.
Chances are it wasn’t as bad as you anticipated.
Write about what actually happened instead.
Next time you go out, do the entry again with the percentage of how likely you think it is to happen.
Over time you will build up a record of how what your mind predicts is often not what actually happens.
This will help reduce your anxiety before you go out.
The act of identifying the fear in the first place also helps us see that maybe the source of the anxiety is unfounded.
LISTEN TO YOUR FAVOURITE SONG
When I’m getting ready to go out and putting my make-up on, I always listen to my favourite songs.
These songs make me happy and confident whenever I hear them.
Make a playlist of your 10 fav songs that put you in a good mood, and play them next time you’re getting ready to go out out.
VISUALISE YOUR BEST SELF
Visualisation helps program your brain to act in the way you want it to.
Sit calmly for a few minutes on the sofa and visualise the following:
1. The most confident and outgoing version of yourself possible.
2. Imagine yourself walking into the party/ restaurant, smiling and walking confidently.
3. Imagine greeting everyone with ease and confidence.
4. Imagine yourself laughing and joking, being relaxed and having a good time.
This technique will help you pre program your brain to act in the way you want it to.
TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT YOUR SOCIAL ANXIETY
If I am feeling really anxious before an event, it helps if I talk to someone to let them know how I am feeling.
Opening up to someone makes everything seem less scary and helps you identify what exactly you are fearing and if it is reasonable.
You might even find that they are experiencing something similar.
ALLOW YOURSELF TO LEAVE WHEN YOU WANT
Just the thought of a whole night of talking to people and socialising can be exhausting sometimes.
Especially when you have the fear of the unknown, and you’re not sure if you’re going to show up as your confident self or the socially awkward anxiety version that comes out sometimes (or all the time….).
Giving yourself mental permission to leave when you want to can make this seem less daunting. If you’re having a good time you can stay, and if you’re not feeling it, that’s completely okay too.