Do you feel confident in who you are? Do you like the person that looks back at you in the mirror? Can you walk into any social situation and be comfortable with who you are? These can be difficult questions to answer honestly. Especially with a growing rate of people with anxiety and depression. Of course I am no medical expert so I cannot say for a fact that what I do tell you will work or is proven to work for everyone. But, I have done my fair share of research and personally experienced the connection between mind and body.
In today’s society we have been severely drowned with social media and the internet. Don’t get me wrong many great things came about from these platforms and many are still happening today. But, this artificial world has sucked the social life out of our culture. We live in these utopian worlds that we create online. Everything seems perfect on Instagram but in reality many of us are dealing with social anxiety and depression. It affects our entire lives. We no longer are able to hold up conversations, start conversations with random people, and sometimes even go out to social gatherings or events. Now this can cause a real problem in our lives because we feel isolated even with the thousands of followers on Instagram. We ultimately lose motivation to do anything. Go for walks, out with friends, or even just talking with your own family. So how do we boost our self confidence? How do we feel better about who we are and become a person who is less afraid of the world around us?
There are a few steps we can take together to help reduce these feelings of anxiety and depression. For one is limiting our exposure to social media. What do you do with your free time? Probably watch Netflix and scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Well instead possibly get together with your friends at your local coffee shop and set a role that all phones are to be put away in a pocket or purse. This is very important because when you have your phone out it acts as a distraction and it shows you don’t care about the person or people you are talking to. Also, it forces you to talk to them. The younger generations are coined for always having their phones out and never actually talking to one another. Perhaps we can change that. And just maybe we might actually start to have a better attitude.
Another thing we can do is exercise. Yes physical activity! Whether it be running, yoga, weight lifting, biking, swimming, whatever else you can do just do it. Physical activity releases certain chemicals into our brains that make us feel good. This is why you hear people becoming addicted to running or working out. Because of this and it’s healthy for you and releases stress. There are hundreds of reasons why people exercise. It’s even better exercising with a friend. The more you workout, the better you will look and feel. The better you look physically the more confidence you will have as a person. I don’t need to prove to anyone that physical fitness is a cornerstone to a health and happy life. We all want to be happy and live a long life right? I hope so!
So this is all good but how do we just break out of our shell and go talk to random strangers? Well like everything else in life it’s not easy. It will take time. There are a few things you can start doing to slowly open up and become more confident in social situations. One: Be the initiator. Start a conversation! say hello how are you? Here is a easy challenge for you say hello to 5 random people you wouldn’t normally have said hello to and then smile. Two: Ask Why. This is a simple and easy way to keep a conversation going. Simply ask them why do they feel that way. Or why did you do that. You get the idea be genuinely interested in what they are saying. Which leads into our third point: Actively listen. What does this mean? Well look into there eyes only as much as they look into yours. (if they look away you look away, If they lock eyes you lock eyes ect.) And here is the kicker. Simply echo what they just said. For example: “I had a really good coffee the other day!” Reply “Oh you had a really good coffee there other day?” ( you can add on what was it ?” But you might not have too. They might just keep telling you the story. This is a very simple technique you can use to stay active in a conversation without having to add anything new to it.
These few tips have helped me overcome social anxiety for the most part. I know by applying some of these you can feel better about yourself and hopefully going out and talking to someone you may not know all that well. The society has changed some for the better others for the worse. But, don’t let what is “normal” by our culture dictate what you do with yourself. It’s okay not to be glued to your phone. It’s ok to ask a question and have an honest conversation with your friends or with a stranger. That stranger is only one conversation away from being an acquaintance and possibly a friend. You will never know who you might meet if you don’t meet anyone. Go and try one of these things for a week. If it doesn’t work and you don’t feel any little bit better well then you can keep doing you.