By Nicole Tinkham
First off, we love how honest you are over on our Facebook page! The more our artist friends open up to us about their struggles, the better we can try to help them. For example, we didn’t realize that social anxiety was a common struggle among our friends. So many of you have been through such tragic events in life and we definitely understand where this anxiety comes from. We think it’s fantastic that you use your artwork to cope with the many stressors of life but we wanted to give you a few more helpful tips on dealing with social anxiety in particular. Read on to learn what we’ve discovered about it!
1. Realize that you aren’t alone
Sometimes the worst thing you can do is assume you’re the only one with a problem as if there’s something seriously wrong with you. Do you realize how many people actually struggle with social anxiety? WAY more than you probably think! You are not alone in this. There is nothing wrong or weird about you. We know many people (not just artists) who also struggle with this. The good news is there are many ways to help you deal with social anxiety.
2. Change your mindset
How many times do you prepare for a social event and think to yourself, “They’re going to think I’m stupid” or “I’m going to humiliate myself”? Guess what? The more you tell yourself these things, the more likely they are to happen!
What you need to start doing is challenge those thoughts. Do you know for sure that people will think you’re stupid? Of course not! It’s just a lie that you keep telling yourself. It’s your mind trying to predict a future of negative events. But we all know that it is possible for something good to happen too, right? Now it’s time to turn that negative mindset into a positive one by saying, “Everyone will love me”.
We get it. It’s tough to change that negative voice that keeps repeating those thoughts in your head. The more we pay attention to it though, the louder it gets until we can’t think of anything else except that upcoming event or whatever else is stressing you out. With time, you’ll get better at this. Pay attention to your thoughts and change them when you get those nervous, negative, butterflies in the stomach feeling.
3. Focus on your breathing
Breathing plays a HUGE roll in your anxiety. One thing you may notice right away when an anxiety attack is coming on is a quicken in your breathing. From there, the situation escalates when you notice other symptoms like dizziness and tension in the muscles. Now not only are you self conscious about people “thinking you’re stupid” as you’ve told yourself, but also that everyone will notice your social anxiety and judge you for it. Have you even been through these things??
What you can do to control your breathing is to really focus on it. Take a big inhale and exhale while you notice how your chest and stomach rises and falls with each breath. This is a huge part of meditation so practicing it can also help you in stressful situations.
4. Just do it
If you’re worried about networking as an artist or putting yourself in any form of social interaction, one thing to help you get over your fears is to just do it. You will never improve if you don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations. The more you do it, the better you will get at it. But you have to take that first step and make it happen. We often find that it’s never as bad as we make it out to be.
5. Get additional help
Honestly, we aren’t experts here. We just understand what you’re going through and are trying to help the best we can. But if this list of 5 tips on dealing with anxiety as an artist doesn’t do anything for you, it may be time to consult with a professional. You can read self-help books (How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is one of our favorites) or you can go to therapy sessions.
You are pretty amazing, you know that? It’s not easy being an artist, coming up with new creative ideas, and handling negative feedback among a million other things. But here you are doing it! You have overcome so much and we know you can get past this social anxiety too. Keep your head up, speak love to yourself and keep yourself surrounded by other uplifting people who support you ❤
Tell us, how do you deal with social anxiety? We know it’s not always an easy thing to talk about but we truly believe you could help so many people by sharing your story!