At times, we all feel like we’re put on the spot. The lights are on us, we’re given ten thousand microphones that we never even asked for, or we simply feel judged from afar. The most common scenarios that lead to feeling a type of interpersonal anxiety include public speaking, doctor’s visits, or even running simple errands alone. Shaking the feeling of constantly being observed, like under a microscope, can take a while, but it sure is worth it in the end. It’s time to tackle uncomfortable situations head-on and to say hello to a more worry-free life.
1. Having an audience
Coping with an audience may be the number one cause of acute anxiety shared by people of all genders, ages and socioeconomic backgrounds. That’s because it is completely natural. Speaking in front of 5, 10, or even 500 people can be nerve-wracking, no matter how well you know your stuff. You could be 100% confident in the knowledge you’re about to present, and still have trouble with the delivery. In order to become more comfortable in your own skin when all eyes are on you, it’s crucial to remember that you are your own worst critic. The majority of your audience probably won’t even notice half of the “mistakes” you catch yourself making. Practice makes perfect and to get started, the slogan “Fake it til you make it” may just work out for you! A smile is your best friend. Why? Because, although you may want to collapse on the inside, emitting positive vibes will subliminally, not only make yourself feel a little more at ease, but it will also trigger a domino effect of positivity among your audience. Even the grandest of all TED talkers get nervous before their presentations. It’s only human.
2. At the Doc’s
When it’s time for that annual check-up, most patients feel extremely uncomfortable at the doctor’s office. Even if the procedure lying ahead is in no way painful, people will still dread exposing their bodies to a trained practitioner. When you’re feeling embarrassed about anything at all, remember that it’s their job to help you. Doctors see bodies of all shapes, or prescribe medicine for rashes of all colors, on the daily. So why feel ashamed? Chances are your exaggerated problem is a minuscule issue to the doc who has most likely had bigger fish to fry 2 patients prior to your appearance. A competent professional will never judge you, not even silently. Plus, if you’re putting off a routine check-up, you’re running the risk of deliberately delaying something that can turn into a serious health issue. Do not make the mistake of jeopardizing your well-being because of irrational fear. However, if you feel particularly uncomfortable with a specific doc of yours, it’s time to switch to the next one. Doctors are supposed to help you and relieve you of pain, stress, or worry – never forget that!
3. Job Interviews
Job interviews are tough. And not just for those of us who are less confident. Anyone applying for a job has had, even if it is just a pinch of, doubt at one point or another. Whether it’s doubting one’s self or, doubting the potential future boss’s ability to see one’s amazing qualifications – job interviews never feel like an easy task. But why is that? Probably because an interview sort of feels like a mini presentation with a smaller, yet far more judgmental audience. As mentioned in Point #1, presentations are all about sending signals of positivity and confidence to the crowd. Feeling confident in yourself? Think you really would be the best person for the job? Then work with that! The key to exuding confidence without appearing arrogant is expressing a hint of humility. Tell your audience about your strengths, but do it with a smile on your face. Let them know that it would not only be beneficial for the company to employ you, but that it would also be an enrichment to your own life if you had the chance to prove yourself. The relationship between an employee and employer should feel like a symbiosis. Don’t make yourself smaller than you are – try to find a comfortable level of interaction with your future boss, and you’ll be good to go.
4. Shops and Restaurants
Whilst retail therapy is a stress-relieving activity for many, some people loathe the idea of walking into a shop and making conversation with the sales associates. Whether it is the clingy lady from the make-up counter approaching you with a free sample, or the cashier giving you dirty looks after 5 hours of working with no lunch break in sight, the mere thought of speaking to a stranger can unleash distressing social anxiety in anyone. Not only shops, but restaurants are common places that can trigger anxiety for some people, as well. Sufferers of anxiety tend to carefully plan how they are going to phrase their order, in their heads, before the waiter comes along. They repeat their preconstructed sentences over and over and practice pronouncing them under their breath. Does this sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Some just go through this more often, and on different levels of severity, than others. If you want to overcome your fear of interacting with strangers in shops and restaurants, the phrase “practice makes perfect” really does apply. The more you do something, the more nonchalantly you will be able to execute it after several run-throughs. Now go out there and conquer that soup order!
Pictures by Pixabay