You’re out with your friends at your favorite hangout (that local bar) and suddenly a group of strangers come up to one of your friends. It turns out they are buddies. They ask if they can join in. Your buddy (treacherous buddy that you’re really mad at now) says ‘yes!’ and immediately your anxiety meter goes flying through the roof. The calm, familiar faces that were there around you a minute ago are replaced by some ET aliens you have never seen and the whole ambience of the place that had got you chillin’ takes a frenzy u-turn.
The situation is not under your control anymore. You feel like you’re going to make the biggest faux pas of your life and embarrass your friend and yourself. They will think you are uncool and your existing friends will throw you out of the gang and your whole life will be in ruins and–oh wait, it sounds like your name was just called out…now you’re doomed.
Or are you? How many times have you had to suffer through a situation like that and feel like an outsider? And every time it happens, you hope it’s the last time and suddenly you’ll wake up the next day and magically become a popular, irresistible show-stopper and the spotlight will always be on you and you’ll turn into a smooth social elite. Well believe it or not, it may not be possible overnight but it can definitely happen in time. The trick is to remember some quick hacks to keep the volcanic eruptions of anxiety contained. Here’s how to prevent anxiety when in public:
Breathe It All Out
Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe, breathe out. Anxiety is associated with hyperventilating as it quickens your heartbeat and causes the fight or flight mode. It’s important for you to get your heart rate in control, and inhaling and exhaling deeply will work wonders. Try going to an empty space like the bathroom to get yourself together. Practice this at home so it is on cue as soon as you need an answer to how to prevent anxiety.
Be Aware. Be Present.
Negative thoughts and feelings that anxiety brings with it intensify your anxiety and aggravate the situation. You may start losing your consciousness or feel you’ll have a heart attack. So, it’s important to get your thoughts under control. To do this, you must practice being mindful of your surroundings. The fear of the unknown is harrowing so make sure you are aware of your surroundings to give yourself a sense of control.
Drunk Night Designated Driver
Keep your 3 a.m. buddy nearby as much as you can. It always helps to have a dear one who understands and knows your problem to be around when things get heated. It’s like having a designated driver who goes sober for the night to drive everyone home. You can even ask them come out with you or cover for you.
Design a positive outcome in your head about the situation to gain self-reliance and control in public. Usually, your pre-conceived notions and judgment about being in public get the best of you. Visualize that nothing is wrong and everything will turn out great. Once you have the happy ending in mind, focus on making it real. No pressure.
Drink Something Cold and Non-Alcoholic
Many people with social anxiety disorders have verified this simple hack. Drinking cold water or any refreshing drink, not alcohol, can help to calm you down.
Keep this as your final resort. If none of the above work, the best thing is to leave before the volcano erupts!
So, this is how to prevent anxiety when you are in a public place.