I thought it would be a good idea if we made a list of techniques everyone uses to cope when they absolutely have to do something that scares them.
This way, everyone has a nice big list of techniques they can try on for size.
-Focusing on my breathing: This tends to get erratic when I am nervous. Straightening it out helps sort out physical symptoms like the shakes most of the time.
-Telling myself I am not nervous: Denial has a surprisingly beneficial effect. It has helped in the same way that telling myself I don't have social anxiety is helping me get better.
-Doing something recklessly brave(Foir my socially anxious state):For example, when I got the shivers in class, I would look around at the people around me. This was a big thing for me, as I was scared to look anywhere but at the board and at the teacher/lecturer, lest someone should catch me looking and think I was a freak(A completely overblown and false belief by the way). Suddenly, just sitting there was no big deal.
-Focusing on what the other person is saying(In conversation):An excellent idea. A lot of the time SA makes you lose this focus, so the conversation can become stilted and awkward. Focusing on what they are saying gives you a level playing field, and you may find you can use some of their conversational tricks in the future too.
-Mental rehearsal(Safe and Free):Picture yourself in conversations with people, and everything going perfectly. They love you. Conversational confidence is the expectation of success. By mentally rehearsing this, as strange as it may seem you really do increase that expectation. Also, in your simulations, try new conversational techniques, and imagine them going well too. This will encourage you to experiment in the real world, or at least it did for me. This tactic is not just for conversations, and can be used anywhere you feel nervous to take the edge off.
Well, that's some of what I keep in my bag of tricks. It'd be great if you could share your own, or experiment with some of these.