Two super easy ways to overcome social anxiety

There are two ways which you can use simultaneously. I utilized both of them and, frankly, I have a hard time to decide which one was easier.

1. Work on your social skills

Even the most socially anxious person can do tiny things that don’t require two-way interactions with other people. When I decided to transform my life I tried to overcome my shyness via talking to strangers.

At the beginning, I fell flat on my face, but it taught me what a really shy person CAN do despite their affliction. You have no power over others’ reactions, but you have power over your mind, words, and deeds. Especially those minuscule and easy ones.

Observe others, think positively about them, make eye contact, smile or say “Hi.” If this is still too much for you, you can do this inside your own mind when no one notices your awkwardness.

Here are the details, broken down into actionable steps on Coach.Me:

Free plan: Overcome shyness by talking to strangers

2. Spend time with people who are socially proficient.

You cannot help but become a bit like them. We call it “rubbing off” a behavior or trait from someone, but in reality it’s social mimicry we humans have in our genes. This is how children are learning everything. They observe and mimic.

This is how you learned living your life. This process is as natural for you as breathing. It’s enough that you will be around people who are friendly and outgoing to become more like them.

It’s not magic. You will not turn into Casanova tomorrow because you stand for five minutes next to a guy who has no trouble speaking with girls. But you may turn into Casanova if you repeat it tomorrow, and the day after, and for two years in a row every single day.

Additional level of easiness: you can do it online. When it comes to mimicking, your brain is not very discerning. Whether you are among real people or watch and listen to recordings, your brain can quickly “adopt” social avatars of people into your internal tribe and consider them real people.

So watch videos, listen to podcasts, join an online group that tackles social anxiety and interact with others who experienced something similar to your pain.

This method may fail if you stop only at online interactions and lie to yourself that it’s enough to sit in front of your computer and stare at the screen to get rid of your anxiety. But if you mingle online interactions with tiny activities from #1 point, it may create a killer combo for you.

Those two things should affect your mindset enough for a start. And once you begin the process of change, it will be much easier to continue it.

Michał Stawicki is a coach and self-published author writing about how to ‘expand beyond your limits’ so you can regain control over your life (based on my personal experience).

This article first appeared on Medium.