In this day and age, when everything from group hangouts to intimate conversations with your extra marital affair, is done through a small 4 by 2 inch screen one can easily become socially outgoing.
There are two problems with the statement above: not every person has that weird of a smartphone size and the fact that while you might fake your social abilities, it is not going to necessarily make you socially apt in the real, physical world.
However, is social anxiety just ‘shyness’ or a simple case of ‘introversion’? It is neither! While shyness and introversion are perfectly healthy traits, social anxiety is a very problematic condition.
Top that with being a Pakistani! Pakistan is the hub of social events. Wedding ceremonies, basant parties, Eid celebrations, mango festivals, a second cousin’s birth, discussing your funeral plan when you get a lower grade in one subject etc etc. Although not all of these events are constructive, you still have to attend them. For if you don’t, what would your relatives, siblings, parents, forefathers, ancestors say?
As a result, having social anxiety is very problematic in Pakistan! But worry you must not, for you will learn just the best solutions in this article!
Do Not Let Your Fears Overcome You
Write this on a piece of paper and stick it somewhere on your door with samad bond! I know how much you hate meeting your phuppo at your cousin’s wedding ceremony. However, rest assured; she is not going to eat you, hopefully. The recognition that these fears are not grounded in reality and are just annoying little psychological thorns is absolutely necessary. When you realize that this is a correctable problem, not a permanent, rational issue, only then you can overcome it.
The most important thing is that you stand against these fears even when all you want to do is to run of into some corner and sit there for the rest of your life.
Actively Engage With People
This point is pretty self-explanatory: go out there and talk to people! Remake those plans and meetings with your friends that you have been constantly putting off. Do not shrink back. Meet girls, guys or whatever you are into. Whether it is a romantic date or a friendly hangout, expose yourself to the external, social environment as much as possible; not as much as you think is possible.
The more you do this, the more you will find it easier to relax and let go of your fear.
Know When to Be an Individualist or a Collectivist
While studies have shown that collectivist cultures usually breed more social anxiety in those living in them, one should be careful about when he/she needs be an individualist. The biggest plus point of being individualistic is that you perceive yourself as a separate entity. Because of this, you are less likely to engage in pathological thinking about how you have to remain completely in line with others’ opinions or else there will be punishment.
However, collectivism has its perks as well. For one, the closely knit structure means that you will probably have a lot of support around you.
The point is, try individualism when you worry too much about social feedback but try collectivism when you need to secure protective factors, like contact with your family and friends.
Make a Hierarchy of What Makes You Anxious
Lastly, and most importantly, you need to figure out the areas where you need improvement the most and the areas which you can resolve more easily. For clarity issues, because you probably are too forgetful to remember it all the time, write it all down, starting from your biggest issues to your smallest.
Once you have noted it, here is what you need to do. Actively resolve those issues! Start from the smallest and work your way to the top.
Exposure is often the best solution for anxiety. However, too much exposure is actually very potentially detrimental. That is precisely why you have to arrange these issues in a hierarchical order.
Once you overcome the first few issues, you will gain self-confidence along with something called ‘self-efficacy’. After achieving that, it will be easier to solve the other problems and you will be well on your way!
Seek Professional Help
If you feel that the condition is too much for you and that you cannot solve it on your own, seek help. There is nothing wrong with going to a psychologist. The notion that only the ‘insane’ go to psychologists is preposterous and holds as much merit as your aunt’s out of the blue suggestions to get you married before the end of the month.
So, head on over to marham.pk and book yourself an appointment with the psychologist in your city in Pakistan. You can even have online sessions if that is more convenient. Whatever way you want to interact, do seek help if you think that that is the only thing that could help you.
Pakistani culture is a wonderful culture; it is filled with colors and joyous gatherings. However, I know how anxiety inducing the comments can be. It does not matter if they are on your dress, your hair, your looks, your girlfriend’s looks, bad comments always light that little spark of anxiety.
Nevertheless, realize that only you care about yourself in those scenarios to make a difference in how you feel. Once you implement the four ways to control social anxiety above, not even your emotionally toxic cousins could do anything to tarnish that lovely dress you wore to your brother’s mehandi!