Slay social anxiety

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety. (KFSN)

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million Americans over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety. That is roughly 18 percent of the nation's population! And 15 million of them suffer from social anxiety; a fear of interactions with other people.

The first thing you can do is work to silence the nagging voice in your head that is beating you down. Try countering it with positive thoughts, "I am capable of anything. Things will go right for me. I deserve to be happy." By doing this you are rewiring your brain and weakening anxiety's hold on you.

Another suggestion is to play reporter. Ask open-ended questions to get the ball rolling when you have nothing to say in a social situation. Alternatively, ask follow-up questions that can take the conversation deeper.

Studies have also proven that people respond better to positive reinforcement, so reward yourself after each social interaction. Commend yourself for attending or for being present, rather than berating yourself.

While anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, only about one-third of people suffering actually receive treatment. So at the end of the day, if anxiety is disrupting your daily life, make an appointment with a mental health provider to seek treatment.

Some tips, with your health in mind.

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University suggests that mindful meditation can help ease physiological stresses like anxiety. Try downloading meditation apps on your smartphone, like the app Headspace, which walks you through the steps to practicing mindful meditation.

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