Improving Your Mental Power When You Have Social Anxiety

Person entering PIN number on a keypad.
Social anxiety can interfere with your memory in social situations. Getty / Photoalto / James Hardy

Individuals with social anxiety may suffer with memory problems, especially during times of stress or significant social anxiety. For example, you might find yourself forgetting the name of a new acquaintance, being unable to remember your pin number at the bank, or blanking on your phone number when asked to provide it to someone else. While all of this can be chalked up to anxiety interfering with memory, there are tricks that can be used to give you a better shot at remembering.

As with anything you want to do better, it takes practice to improve your performance. This is also true in improving your memory.

Instead of always searching your contacts for frequently called numbers, try dialing with the keypad. The repetition and process of recollecting the information will help you to remember frequently called numbers.

You can also use mnemonic devices to help you remember lists of words, people's names, and new concepts. If given a list of things to remember, take the first letter of each word and come up with a new word or sentence using those letters and associating the new word or sentence with the original list.

For example, if you are given a list of things to purchase at the store, such as milk, eggs, rice, cereal, and hamburger meat, take the first letter of each word (M-E-R-C-H) and after reading over the list a few times, remembering the list is as simple as remembering the word, "MERCH," and recalling what each letter represents in your original list.

Repetition is another way to improve your memory. When introduced to someone new, try repeating their name several times and even use it out loud when addressing that person. You can also use another technique by associating a name with a characteristic of the person.

For instance, if you meet a new woman at work named "Sonja" and she is wearing a red dress, think, "Red Sonja" and the next time you see her, hopefully you will remember her name.

Just try to avoid verbalizing the "red" part!

You can also visualize things to help you remember them. If you are meeting someone to study at the library at 7:00 PM, then try to visualize a book with a numeral "7" on the cover.

You can also visualize something to do with a person's occupation when meeting them for the first time.

For instance, if you meet Joe and you learn he is a carpenter, then try to visualize a saw or a hammer. Some people even find it helpful to associate in more creative ways, like in the example above, perhaps visualize a hammer and say "hammer toe," which you can remember and associate later as "hammer joe" or Joe the carpenter.

Passwords are among the most difficult things you will have to remember as password requirements can be quite burdensome and complicated.

Many people use easily recalled sentences and their password is the first letter of each word in the sentence, substituting special characters or numbers for some of the letters to meet the requirement to have a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.

For instance, your sentence could be "I want to go to the new store at night." Your password could be Iw2g2t5@n. Remembering the sentence and recalling the substitutions you made is easier than trying to remember the strange string of letters that have no rhyme or reason.

Hopefully, these techniques can help you improve your memory so that you can function better in today's data-packed world. Good luck!

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