Beat Social Anxiety

18 August 2018

IT’S ONLY NATURAL TO FEEL A BIT ANXIOUS before a social event or when meeting new people for the first time. However, for some people, what should be a source of great pleasure can become a real nightmare. This isn’t how it needs to be.

What is social anxiety

Social anxiety, or social phobia, is having a fear of social situations and interacting with other people. Children often suffer from shyness, but this usually fades as they grow and acquire better social skills. However, sometimes it persists into adulthood where it can develop into social anxiety.

For most people, social anxiety isn’t so much a fear of the situation itself, but rather a fear of how they think others might judge them in that situation. If nobody else were around then you’d be fine, right?

Negative self evaluation

Social phobia has a lot to do with low self esteem. You see, when a person doesn’t hold themselves in very high regard and thinks negatively about themselves, they naturally think others are having those exact same thoughts and are judging them negatively too. It’s like they sense their own thoughts reflected back at them.

When faced with a social situation:

  • Does it feel like everybody’s watching you and waiting for you to mess up?
  • Do you think you look funny or will do something silly or embarrassing?
  • Do you believe that when you speak your voice will sound weak and feeble, or it might tremble?
  • Do you worry that you won’t find the right words to say, or worse still, that you might freeze and be unable to speak at all?
  • Is it even worse when having to speak to somebody in authority, or in fact anybody who appears to be ‘better’ than you are?
  • Are you afraid that others will notice all those things about you, and it will feel so humiliating?
  • And after a social event, do you scrutinise everything you said and did in the most negative way imaginable, reinforcing all the above points?

Self consciousness

You can see from the above list that one common denominator is that a person spends an awful lot of time focusing on their self, ie. self consciousness. If you think about it for a moment I’m sure you can see that this is the exact opposite to the way one needs to be thinking for a social situation to work well.

Focusing outwards

Socialising and meeting new people is all about outward thinking – focusing on the other person – not inward thinking. Noticing things about that person and showing an interest in them. People love to be noticed, and will naturally warm to your presence when you start to take an interest in them.

When focusing too much on yourself and how you feel, you also tend not to notice a lot of other things around you. That could be something that would make an interesting point of conversation, or it could be some subtle social clues about how that situation works.

Be relaxed – be spontaneous

So in short, for a social situation to work well it’s important to focus less on yourself, to be more open, and to be more spontaneous. And the best way to achieve all that is to be more relaxed in those situations.

Some people find it helps to listen to a calming relaxation session before a social event.

Beat social anxiety with self hypnosis

How often have you attended social events in your mind; saying just the right things to just the right people, and getting just the right responses? That’s you being yourself, and it feels wonderful, doesn’t it? Well, that’s self hypnosis; using your imagination creatively to try out new ideas and rehearse for the real thing in a calm relaxed state of mind.

Oh dear...

But just as it’s getting good, what happens? Negative self hypnosis takes over. You imagine things going badly, and give up!

Self hypnosis gets you feeling more relaxed about yourself, which leads to feeling more relaxed around other people. It also gets you in touch with your subconscious mind and your creative abilities, where you can imagine those events going well – going just the way you want them to go. It’s true that when imagining something vividly enough, your mind cannot tell the difference between that and the real thing. So in a way you’ve already been there and done it, and it’ll be easy to do it again next time.

The snowball effect

Have you even noticed a snowball rolling downhill? Once you begin to notice those old feelings of social anxiety becoming much less, you find yourself being more relaxed. You start being yourself, and you start being more spontaneous. Others show a positive interest, and that makes you feel good. And next time will be even better.

Why not take the first step today and see how self hypnosis can help you rediscover your social life. You might like to consider one of these downloads:

Social anxiety tip

One aspect of social anxiety is spending too much time focusing on and negatively evaluating yourself, so it can be helpful to remember to simply focus more on the other person instead.

Notice something about them or something they said, and refer back to it. Compliment them, ask them questions and in general, take an interest in them. People love to be made to feel interesting and listened to. It makes them feel good, and at the same time it takes the focus off you.

What do you want to do now

If you never challenge yourself, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.

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Book Ideas

Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness book cover

Overcoming Social Anxiety & Shyness
Gillian Butler

Self help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques.

We all sometimes feels foolish, embarrassed, judged, or criticised, but this becomes a problem when it undermines your confidence, preventing you from doing the things you’d like to do.

Part one – ‘Understanding Social Anxiety’, explains what social anxiety is and how it comes about.

Part two – ‘Overcoming Social Anxiety’, is essentially a self help course with accompanying worksheets. Based on clinically proven CBT techniques, Gillian Butler shows you how to reduce the effects of social anxiety, build your self confidence, and challenge your negative beliefs.

Part three – ‘Some Optional Extras’, gives additional helpful information about related topics such as assertiveness, relaxation, and the effects of childhood bullying.

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