How can I combat social anxiety in certain situations?

Whenever I’m in a position where I’m asked about myself or need to speak about myself I find this difficult I believe due to being afraid of embarrassment. Also in some group situations with new people I find myself being shy at times. When it’s on my mind I’m able to be chatty and sociable, but at times I forget and fall back into my shy shell. Is there any techniques or things I can do to either prevent me going into my shell or for if I do how I can get back out of it within the situation.
Asked by Johno

Hi, thank you for your question. Sometimes we can find it difficult to share about ourselves, when feeling shy this can link to how we where at a younger age. 

A way to help share more about yourself is to ask others questions first then slowly open the door. Explore your personality, express who you're as a person. Talk about what you love, your hobbies, passions your wants/desires in life. 

When you was growing up did you struggle speaking with people/make friend's? When we grow up not having the social norms around meeting people and speaking about ourselves this can stunt us later in life. 

Do you feel rejection when sharing who you are? This can be from parents not giving us attachment that we crave and allowing ourselves to grow.

Practice being vulnerable with the people that know you best, explore who you want to be when around people. Ask the question: "Is this really me? When speaking with other people, am I wearing a mask so people don't see the real me?"

It sounds like there is an element of anxiety that is coming in when you're trying to connect with others, this anxiety can be reduced when we explore mindfulness techniques such as: 

  • Listen. Name one thing that you hear when you listen with your ears.
  • Look. Name one thing that catches your attention when you look around.
  • Smell. Name a scent that you notice when you take a sniff with your nose.
  • Touch. Name an object that you enjoy feeling with your hands.


Or basic breathing: Basic breathing is simple, straightforward meditation that uses the breath to settle the mind.

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
  • Observe your breath on the inhalation.
  • Observe your breath on the exhalation.
  • When the mind wanders, gently bring it back to focusing on your breath.


Basic mindfulness can help calm us down and give us a chance to slow down, to the point where when we go into social interactions, we can speak slowly and look at what we want to share. Whenever you're in a conversation, it's up to you what you share and how far you take the conversation with that information. 

Thank you for taking the first step in seeking help. I would encourage seeking out further help to this issue as it may be a simple fix over what we think is a complicated one.