For many, social anxiety is the enemy. The emotions can make you feel nervous and afraid and can hinder you from taking actions that will take you forward in life. It is also associated with increased risk for depression, alcohol abuse, loneliness, and decreased occupational advancement. Social anxiety robs your soul of its energy. When not tamed, it can be paralyzing and have a negative impact on your daily life. Your productivity can suffer, your creativity can go into, hiding, and your health might deteriorate, as well.
The good news is that you can do something about your social anxiety. You can turn the power the emotion has on you into something better, Read on to learn how you can transform social anxiety from weakness to strength. .
When faced with social anxiety your breathing pattern changes. The normal pattern of breathing is usually slow and from your lower lungs. In social anxiety situations, you start to breathe from the upper lungs rapidly and shallowly, and you might find it hard to catch your breath.
Once you start feeling yourself tensing up or notice a change in your breathing pattern, try calming your breath first. Take a long, slow breath. Breathe in via your nose and focus on filling your lower lungs, then the upper. Hold your breath for a short while, then slowly exhale via the mouth. While you do this, focus on relaxing your muscles where you hold your tension.
According to researchers, when you practice such relaxation techniques, you become aware of muscle tension among other physical sensations of social anxiety. Once you understand what the anxiety response feels like, you can make a conscious move to practice a relaxation technique.
Social anxiety gives you adrenaline. Stimulants like nicotine and coffee cause physical symptoms similar to social anxiety in your body by raising your heart rate and constricting your blood vessels. For this reason, coffee is considered a productivity booster. If you`re facing social anxiety about an upcoming speech or project, try utilizing the extra energy to help enhance performance and increase productivity. Experts say there is a `sweet spot’ – or a moderate amount of anxiety that helps people perform better by keeping them on their toes.
Social anxiety is not always a bad thing. Telling yourself social anxiety is a negative thing or trying to avoid it might end up making the issue worse. Rather than telling yourself `I`m so nervous,’ try saying `I`m so excited’ instead. Research has shown that saying `I`m excited’ out loud might improve performance.
Both anxiety and excitement are emotional states characterized by high arousal, so it might be easier to reframe symptoms of social anxiety as excitement rather than striving to calm them. When we feel anxious, we often focus on possible threats. In such situations, it would be more beneficial to try and reframe the situation and focus on potential opportunities instead of threats. .
Many people want to overcome social anxiety and deny they’re feeling it. However, anxiety can be inevitable at times. Some situations will always create some social anxiety. Rather than striving to avoid these tasks or curb the emotion the best thing to do is accept the emotion as part of the experience. The more you take social anxiety as routine and normal, the less effect it can have on you. Successful people do experience fear, as well. But they choose to find a way to persevere in spite of the emotion. You should remember that social anxiety is a natural reaction. If you can, choose to focus on the task ahead rather than the anxiety related to it.
Another great way to transform social anxiety from a weakness into a strength is by finding your anxiety sweet-spot then turning it into motivation. Studies have shown that many people have a social anxiety sweet spot where they have adequate anxiety to feel alert, but not adequate enough to feel debilitated. Your social anxiety can be an excellent motivator in this state.
Anxiety often stems from some form of anticipation about the future. Maybe you`re worried about the outcome of something you care about, such as your staff meeting or project presentation. Remind yourself why the task matters to you in the first place, and let that be the motivation to drive your forward. Social anxiety has the capability to make you stay more alert, focused, and productive, and you have the chance to use that to your advantage.
Most people who face social anxiety engage in superstitious h=behaviors that they think can make them safe or are less likely to disappoint and humiliate them. Some examples of safety behaviors include avoiding eye contact, self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, talking very fast, wiping your hands so people don’t notice you`re sweating, and more. .
The issue with safety behaviors is that they play the role of training wheels on a bicycle. They create this feeling in you that the only choice you have to get through these anxious experiences is by utilizing these training wheels. The more you can get rid of these behaviors, the more you robust your social experiences will be - `I did it without sweating’ or `I did it without avoiding eye contact.’ .
If you pinpoint the situations that make you anxious and can rate them in a hierarchy from least to most anxious, then you`re ready to confront your social fears. For example, if you`re going to give a speech, imagine you`re on that stage and remain with that image until your anxiety disappears.
You may also remind yourself of your rational reactions to your negative thoughts. For example, when you picture walking into the podium and the thought pops up, `Everyone can notice that I am afraid,’ you can remind yourself that people have a difficult time noticing your internal feelings and they are focusing on their concerns, perhaps their own fears. Keep imagining and let the anxiety flow out and away.
Then, you can begin with `exposure’. Practice what you`re anxious about. Don’t take that drink. Instead, walk to the stage, notice that your anxiety might be there, acknowledge it and then say to yourself, `I`ll do this even if I am anxious.’ It's right to be anxious as you do the exposure – as that is actually the point of it. You`ll be surprised to learn that you can actually do things and face situations when you`re anxious and there will be no catastrophe.
Your social anxiety stems from fear. You need to decatastrophize it by asking yourself what it is that triggers your fear and anxiety. What could be the worst possible outcome and what is the probability of that actually happening. When you find out that even the worst outcome isn’t as scary as it seems in your head, your social anxiety may start to face. .
Our hypnotherapy is rapidly effective. Most patients require one or maybe two sessions. We combine hypnotherapy with other robust techniques, such as NPL and Time Line Therapy to massively stack the odds in your favour. I became a hypnotherapist because I wanted to see people change. I was a volunteer trainer for the Samaritans 13 years ago. Since then, I have helped hundreds of people transform their lives by getting over barriers and overcoming their social anxiety. Based in central London, my hypnotherapy has been effective in overcoming social anxiety not only in London but across the UK.
Imagine what it would feel like to stand up in front of your peers or a business audience and not just sound relaxed, but actually be calm and relaxed. You can achieve more by changing or letting go of that intensive emotion of fear and anxiety that comes with social places. A change shouldn’t be hard and should be achieved in the shortest time possible. The tricky part is making the decision to change something. My hypnotherapy approach is professional and caring, and with my experience and expertise, you can rest assured that Kensington Coaching and Hypnotherapy will help transform your social anxiety to from weakness to strength and help you think critically, be more confident, and fruitful not only in your career but also in your day to day life. .