Hey Disha, I get jittery if I have to talk to people. I feel really shy to answer any questions in class even when I know the answers. I also feel uncomfortable talking to anyone I don’t know. The problem is so acute that I hate to go to any restaurant where there is self-service. I want to overcome this! Please help me. Aanya, 15, Thane.
Hey there, Aanya! Thank you for sharing with me. I know this is difficult for you but sabse pehle let me assure you that you’re not the only one. In fact, I have dealt with it in my life too and look where I am today! Whether it’s speaking up in class or mustering the courage to order your favourite meal at a restaurant, these situations can send shivers down anyone’s spine. But fear not, because I’m here as your trusty guide to help you navigate the world of social anxiety, one step at a time.
Imagine you’re embarking on an epic adventure. Just like any hero, you start with small quests to build up your skills. Likewise, tackling social anxiety means starting with manageable challenges.
Before any such situation, begin by practising in front of a mirror or chatting with a close friend. Try to opt for a phone call instead of a text next time so you can get some practice done. This will help you get comfortable with your own voice and ease you into conversing with others. It’s like levelling up before facing the final boss!
Setting mini goals
Now that we have started with our daily Mr. Miyagi (Karate Kid teacher bro!) routine, let’s talk about the next step. I would recommend setting small, achievable targets like asking a quick question in class or placing an order at a restaurant. These mini-victories will boost your confidence and help you see that social situations aren’t as scary as they seem. And every small victory will increase your xp in the game of confidence.
I know what you’re thinking, setting and working on these goals is one thing, but what about the nerves and short circuits in my brain when I am actually in this situation? Well, we have a charm for that as well — just breathe!
Breathing exercises work like enchantments to ease your anxiety. Try this: breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, and breathe out for 4 counts. It can bring instant calm to your anxious mind and help you feel better in a stressful situation.
Talk to yourself
Now one of the most important parts of working on yourself is being your own cheerleader. Instead of listening to those negative thoughts that say, “I can’t do this,” channel your inner diva and tell yourself, “I can do this!”. Transform your inner dialogue into an encouraging pep talk and see how good and confident you will feel. It will make a lot of difference.
Celebrate your progress
Next, always remember to celebrate your progress, no matter how small. Every time you speak up, ask a question in class or talk to an unknown person, you’re adding valuable gems to your collection of achievements. Get excited about these wins, because each accomplishment, no matter how small, is a major achievement!
And finally, never be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like your anxiety is getting in the way of your daily life and none of the things suggested is helping you, talk to someone you trust. It can be a sibling, your parents or even your school counsellor. Everybody needs a Joyce or Steve in their life sometimes 😉
Got a question or a doubt? Then come Ask Disha! The coolest Trusted Adult in India, Disha, will answer all your queries on Growing Up! Post them in the comments box below or send them to our Insta inbox! Disha will respond to them in upcoming columns. Please remember not to put out any personal information.
Photo: Shutterstock/Person in the photo is a model, names changed.
#AskDisha is an advice column run by the editorial team at TeenBook India. The advice given in the columns is science-based but general in nature. Parents and adolescents should seek help from a professional or expert for specific concerns or issues.