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Managing social anxiety in group settings can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help individuals feel more comfortable and confident. One effective strategy is to arrive early and take some time to get acclimated to the environment before the group begins. This can help to reduce feelings of anxiety and provide an opportunity to identify potential conversation partners. Another strategy is to prepare conversation starters or questions in advance to help ease into conversations with others. It can also be helpful to identify a support person or “safe” individual within the group with whom one feels comfortable talking to. Practice deep breathing exercises or progressive muscle relaxation techniques to calm down if feelings of anxiety arise. Challenge negative thoughts and replace them with positive self-talk. Setting small goals, such as speaking up once during the meeting, can also help to build confidence. Remember that it’s okay to take breaks and step away if feelings of anxiety become overwhelming. Seek professional help if social anxiety continues to significantly impact daily functioning. With the right support and strategies, it is possible to manage social anxiety in group settings and feel more at ease in social situations.
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