16 - 19 anxiety techniques
16. Comparison Technique
Compare yourself to other people. Ok, ok, I thought others were so much better than me because they went out to nightclubs, got drunk, got laid, went to parties, were great conversationalists, liked rap/techno/R&B music, hung out in groups, talked to the other gender. Then when people where in their 30s they were married and had children. So because I didn't do these things or wasn't interested in anyting the majority was I was weird and different. If I didn't have a mobile phone or heaps of mp3s I was a "loser" or "sad". This is what I was led to believe. But apparently I was lied to...again! It seems that society has a nastly habit of force-feeding bulldust down people's throat. So I sat down and compared myself to others in how I was the same as them. I saw them eat and drink. I heard them complaining about feeling hungry and thirsty. I heard them speak. I heard them breath. I saw them use a toilet. I saw they walked on the ground. I heard them wanting to go to sleep. I saw them use their five senses. I saw them getting sexually excited. They all apparently lived on Earth under the same sky. So you know what ? It occured to me that I was very much the same as the next person! It was more mental stuff that people compared themselves to others but other than that they all seemed very much alike. So next time you think you are so very different, just think of this.
17. Acceptance Paradox
Accept all your flaws with tranquility and a sense of humour. Let's say you are shy and hate it then think who cares, that's the way things are. The way things are are perfectly fine. If you can't talk well with other people, it doesn't matter, that's just the way things are. If people are rejecting and critical, you have no control over how they react, so let them be. Let them say what they want. If your self-esteem takes a battering over other people's words just agree with what others say and accept it with grace. If you feel embarrassed around someone for feeling attracted to them just accept the feelings of attraction and embarrassment. If you tell yourself you are a loser or something similar, agree with what you think you are. If you have a desire that you feel ashamed of or anything you don't like about yourself do the same. If you agree with those things, you end up making piece with yourself. This technique can be difficult to grasp at first but is really powerful once you can accept the way you feel and the things that happen to you. Writing out a dialogue will help.
CRITIC: I'd hate to be a virgin like you.
SHY GUY: Yeah it is strange for someone as old as me to be a virgin, isn't it ?
CRITIC: Ahhh, yeah it is very strange. It's real funny too. LOL
SHY GUY: I often laugh about it as well. But if I wanted to do something about it I would but it doesn't bother me.
CRITIC: Doesn't bother you. WTF! Are you gay or something.
SHY GUY: I guess I'm even more strange than I thought. Oh well.
CRITIC: Oh man, I feel so sorry for you. Being a virgin at your age just give me this feeling like I'm on a barren lifeless wasteland that supports nothing.
SHY GUY: A barren lifeless wasteland supports itself, doesn't it ?
CRITIC: Yeah, but there is just something not right about a man your age being a virgin and never being in any kind of relationship. It's just so weird.
SHY GUY: Many things are weird, but once you understand them, they no longer are weird.
CRITIC: Why don't you want to lose your virginity ? Isn't that every man's dream ?
SHY GUY: Yeah, it was a dream once, but no longer. I have different aspirations now, like painting and playing instuments.
CRITIC: This is so sad.
SHY GUY: What can I say, people fall into circumstance and things happen because I believe these things were meant to happen when they were born. People just follow their script without thinking about taking another path. They think and feel and just follow through. If they get into a conversation with someone they like and that person likes them, they just decide to get into a relationship. That's just the normal thing people do. They follow their desires. That was in their script. Me, however, think and feel, but choose NOT to follow through with things simply because I want to be different. It causes temporary pain and grief over loss but that goes away. I chose to dishonor my needs and desires when I was younger for various personal reason but I consciously chose this path.
(But alas, now I realize I have all along followed the script that was written when I was born. D'oh!)
18. Hidden Emotion Technique
Have you ever been really angry with someone and then start getting all these thought about what you think about them ? It seems that under stress like anger or fear, hidden feelings and truths and motivations start to emerge into consciousness. How is this connected to social anxiety ? The reasons you get anxious are buried out of reach from consciousness. Asking questions is a good way for the mind to start revealing and dealing with potentional conflicts and problems. You need to sit down and really think about how such things relate to you. Here is a bunch of questions I came up with in trying to reduce my shyness of the other gender.
am I afraid of havign sex with a girl ?
does she expect me to be sexually competent ?
does she expect me to be perfect at making love ?
do I expect to disappoint her sexually ?
will she be disapproving of me if I want sex from her ?
do I feel guilty or ashamed for wanting sex ?
do expect to go to hell for having unmarried sex ?
what is my attitude towards sex anyway ? Is it dirty or naughty ?
how do I feel about being naked, holding an erection in front of someone ?
will I be able to control my excitment around a girl ?
if she found out I was inexperienceed or saw I was anxious or shy, would she think less of me ?
do I really want to be in a relationship ?
am I even ready to be in a relationship ?
can I trust a girl with my feelings ?
would a girl cheat on or leave me ?
could I handle the pain of a broken heart or the humiliation if she cheated on me ?
if she died a few years later on, would I be able to handle the pain of a loss ?
what if she didn't feel the same when she found out I liked her ? How could I handle the embarrassment ?
what if she did feel the same about me ? What would be the next step ?
how would she react if she knew I was attracted to her ? Angry, rejecting ?
do I have something to hide from her ?
am I ashamed about anything of myself ? Appearance, no friends, quiet, lack of interests, being boring, social anxiety ?
what don't I like about myself ?
am I attracted to or have feelings for her ?
am I worried about what to say or do around a girl ?
if I did or said something wrong how do I expect her to react ?
what I do feel her expectations of me are ?
what are my expectations of myself ?
is there anything I might be jealous of about her ?
Asking questions is extremely helpful in allowing the mind to start dealing with these potential problesm in advance. If there are underlyings issues once you start asking questions relating to your problems the mind starts to generate potential solutions for them rather than just drawing disastraous conclusions in the moment. Just thinking "oh, when the time comes I will know" does not work all the time because for many people the anxiety is due to the great unknown. So thinking about these important things in advanced will help settle that anxious mind of yours.
19. Socratic Questioning
When you feel anxious or embarrased for no apparant reason, have an anxious thought, when someone humiliates you or you anticipate something, you might try to figure it out why it is bothering you but just can't seem to pin the whole thing down. You can't seem to process it, conceptualize or understand it. It's too complex or overwhelming. To get through these problems you write the problem down and ask yourself questions about it. Here are some questions to help you out.
what does this mean about me, about my life, my future ? What will this mean in one years time ?
what am I afraid might happen ?
what if my fears came true ? What is the worst thing that could possibly happen ?
have I been in this or a similar situation before ? Did my fears come true ?
could I handle the situation if it came true ? What would I do ?
What would it mean if it was true ? what could people possibly do ? What would they say ?
how likely is this to be true ? Certain, possibly, unlikely, definetely not ?
am I being unfair or harsh in myself or others ?
am I thinking in a distorted way ? Ignoring the positive, making predictions, exaggerating ?
am I using memories from the past to draw conclusions ?
what does this mean about other peopel if this is true ?
what does this mean other people are thinking or feelings about me ?
what evidence is there that this is not true ? Does anyone else think differently ?
has this happened to anyone else ? How did they handle it ? How did other react to them ?
what might other people know that I don't ?
what does this person mean to me anyway ?