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I can tell what you’re thinking already, “I have social anxiety… how the heck do you expect me to step out of my comfort zone??”
Let’s start with what it means to take action.
When you have social anxiety, you prefer to stay inside and not take any action.
A fear takes control and forces you to stay inside, avoiding any chance of feeling uncomfortable.
But, the more you let that fear take over, the worse your social anxiety will become.
It just continues to build and build, until you’re left with a crippling fear of trying anything new.
The only way to break that fear down is by taking action against the things that scare you.
Any sort of action, even if that’s just for 5 minutes and then coming back inside.
Anxiety can distort the thinking in your head to make you believe in things that aren’t even happening.
Just because of one bad experience you’ve had before, so you avoid trying again.
But, breaking down your social anxiety is possible. It starts with you choosing to either fight it or allow it to swallow you up.
There are ways to unravel the anxiety forming inside you.
Once you stop letting it completely control your life, you’ll feel more relaxed and confident in your life.
How does social anxiety stop you from stepping outside your comfort zone?
You try to predict the future and get nervous about something bad happening
Before you even get the chance to step outside your comfort zone, you pull back.
Thinking about every possible scenario that will end wrong.
Instead of just letting go and seeing what happens.
You care too much about what other people are thinking
Everybody worries about this to an extent.
But for you, it’s worse. Any interaction you have with someone makes you second guess everything.
This makes whatever you’re doing unenjoyable and makes you want to go home.
You take things way too personally
Anxiety takes control of your emotions and starts to make you feel like crap.
A lot of things offend you, even if it’s someone looking at you weird.
You’re left with feeling self-conscious and out of control with your emotions.
Something feels wrong with you and you don’t know why every little thing feels like a personal hit to the heart.
You set high expectations
Instead of just going with the flow, you try to plan out exactly how the whole night is going to go.
And if something unexpected happens, it messes with your head.
Making your anxiety worse and leaving you wondering why you tried in the first place.
If any of these things sound familiar, I get it. I’ve been there plenty of times.
Social Anxiety Isn’t the End of the World
Being introverted and feeling socially awkward makes it difficult to meet new people and enjoy your life.
And most people think social anxiety is a bad thing. I see it more as a blessing.
Having social anxiety does bring a lot of stress and fears.
But, it also makes you more aware of situations than most people.
That means you’re quick to determine how bad the situation really is, instead of just going in blindly.
It gives you a key to live a more meaningful life, without dealing with all of the bullshit.
With social anxiety, you gain a skill to learn how to filter out the things that aren’t worth putting up with.
The more you can learn to listen to your social anxiety, the easier it is to overcome it.
If you really want to try going out more to parties and meeting new people, then you definitely should work on trying to do it more.
But, if you secretly hate it and end up miserable every time you go, then just stop forcing yourself.
Find things you enjoy first and are curious in trying out, for you.
Don’t force yourself into situations that other people want you to be a part in. If you don’t enjoy it, then just get rid of it.
With all that said.
How to Overcome Social Anxiety and Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Put a Plan Together
You probably have something in mind that will bring you out of your comfort zone.
Whether that’s asking out a cute guy or applying for a new job.
Putting a plan together will help you be as prepared as you can be.
This isn’t about obsessing over every little detail. This is just allowing you to be prepared for (almost) anything.
Let’s say you want to ask out a cute girl/guy.
Start with a goal in mind, like you’ll start talking to them by next Tuesday.
Two weeks from now, you’ll plan on asking them out.
You can even do some research on good topics to talk about and try to gauge their interest in you.
A plan will help you see things from every angle, and you can even prepare for if things don’t work out as planned.
Like “if he/she says no to going out on a date, I’ll say thank you anyways and reward myself with my favorite meal or hobby afterwards.”
The only way to grow and live the life you think about is by getting out there sometimes.
To avoid traumatizing yourself and saying “this is why I never put myself out there”, practice being prepared.
We don’t always get everything we want in life, and it’s usually because we weren’t meant for it.
Not because anything was wrong with you specifically.
Start working on Things to Improve Your Confidence
Usually when we’re too scared to step out of our comfort zones, it makes us think we aren’t good enough for whatever is out there.
You want it bad enough, but are too scared of messing it up.
While you are preparing to step outside of your comfort zone, work on building your confidence in the process.
This will help you stay feeling confident, no matter the outcome.
Let’s go with the asking someone out scenario again. If you give yourself 2 weeks to ask them out, why not try working out for 10-20 minutes a day? Or buy some new clothes that make you feel like your best self.
The more time you spend taking care of yourself instead of talking down about everything you do, the less your social anxiety will be.
Practice eating healthier, working out more, reading self-improvement books and talking things out with your closest friends/family.
This will help give you a big confidence boost and will help you feel good about stepping outside of your comfort zone.
Find a Spot Where You Can People Watch
Part of social anxiety is worrying so much about what other people are thinking of you.
But, do you ever sit down at an airport or in a shopping mall and just watch other people around you?
This might sound creepy, but it’s really not.
Especially since so many people watch without even being aware of it.
I always feel like people are staring at me and watching me.
I hate attention, so it feels crappy when I catch people staring. But, I find a lot of peace in sitting down and looking around at the people around me.
At places like the airport, the mall, or the Apple store, everybody else is so focused on getting to a destination.
They don’t care to look at you unless you are blocking their pathway.
If you can, try to go to more places and people watch.
You even have a friend come with you, and sit down, away from the craziness and just watch everyone else.
With social anxiety, your mind plays tricks on you.
It makes you believe everyone is staring at you, but when you people watch you can clearly see if people are staring or not. And if they are, it really doesn’t matter. They usually just walk right by anyways!
This can help you get a different perspective on being so worried about what others think, and can help you step outside of your comfort zone.
Reevaluate Your Expectations
It is no doubt that you deserve the best. And when I say this, I am not saying you need to reevaluate your worth or your standards.
But, sometimes things are completely out of your control.
You can envision something going exactly how you want, but if it doesn’t add up to that in real life, you’ll be left severely disappointed.
Setting high expectations can keep you from trying in the first place.
Let’s say you want to start working out, but after the first week when you don’t see any results, and you want to throw in the towel.
Life throws some serious curveballs sometimes, no matter how prepared you may be.
That’s why, when setting expectations you’ll want to check in and think about it.
Yes, getting 6-pack abs in two weeks would be amazing, but it’s not realistic.
It doesn’t mean it’s not possible to get six-pack abs.
It just means you’ll need to put a lot more effort in.
And when you set these expectations you have for yourself, you’re going to have to match it with the effort you are willing to put in to achieve those expectations.
Everyone sets unrealistic expectations sometimes.
That’s ok, but what’s not is when you allow it to determine your life. When you only expect the best, and if it doesn’t happen you let it ruin your happiness and make you believe you don’t deserve good things out of life.
Instead, set small goals.
One day, you can have those 6-pack abs.
But, you’ll need to set up a strategy to get there.
Get out there, get your ass knocked down and then get back up.
It’s the best way to learn about yourself, build up your resilience, and not let high expectations ruin your life.
When in Doubt, Laugh
I know how easy it is to take life wayyy too seriously sometimes.
Hell, I wake up some days to a flood of worries and anxiety and instantly start off in a bad mood.
But, you know what works? Laughing it off.
Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, and sometimes it’s so terrifying that you feel like you can’t even move your feet forward at all.
That’s where laughing comes in.
Let some shit that’s building up inside you go. Those worries are pointless. Instead, come up with 10 things that make you laugh.
Get out a piece of paper and a pen, and come up with things that make your stomach hurt.
Maybe that’s a scene from the Office, or something your dog does that leaves you grinning ear to ear.
Think of those things daily. Let those funny thoughts come in and let them leave you feeling good.
So, if you do end up stepping outside your comfort zone and staring that fear in the face, laugh.
When your hands are sweating and your heart is pumping and your voice is shaking, laugh.
Maybe you can even find a clip of a movie or a TV show that’s going through the same thing as you.
Make it relatable and help you remember that you are not alone in what you’re going through.
Stepping outside of your comfort zone and overcoming anxiety aren’t easy. I
’m not going to sit here and tell you to just change the way you think and get over it.
Social anxiety is too complex for that, and it really takes trying new things, changing your perspective on things, and actually making the decision to make a change.
If you found this article helpful and want to learn more about overcoming your social anxiety, I highly recommend BetterHelp.
BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that will connect you with a licensed therapist who can help you reduce your anxiety.
Sometimes, anxiety is too much to handle on our own.
That’s why I personally enjoy using BetterHelp, it’s convenient and I can stay in touch with a counselor any time throughout the week.
It’s also how I learned to overcome anxiety in my own life!
If you’re interested in learning more about BetterHelp, you can check it out by clicking here!
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