What has personally worked for you? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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What has personally worked for you?


I really need to start working seriously on getting over my social anxiety, depression and low self-esteem/confidence. I am currently having counselling but I need more than this. I am hoping to go on to CBT again after my final two counselling sessions. I have tried CBT before but always discharged myself from it, not truly believing it could help me..

SO. I need to start helping myself more. Changing my mind set. Making myself believe I have self-worth. So, how can I challenge my negative thinking? How can I change?

And what has worked for YOU?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 06:53 AM
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Just getting out more has helped me. Exercising more helps as well. I'm also trying to look at the positive side of every situation. Life is way too short to let things get to me.

~ How can I build Your kingdom if I'm building my own
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 07:04 AM
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I feel the same way. I hope you find what works for you. In my experience it can take years and it can be a really trying, frustrating process, just trying to find anything that helps, that makes the smallest bit of difference.

I've been through (literally) thousands of hours of therapy. I've tried hypnotherapy, CBT and exposure therapy, regression therapy, psychodrama, different kinds of group therapy, and thousands of sessions of just one-on-one psychotherapy. I still see a therapist at least once a week and while I think it does help me to talk things out, meds have helped me more than anything else. I take mood stabilizers to help control bipolar disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. I'm also taking an SSRI (Zoloft) and Gabapentin (1800 mg/day) for anxiety.

I just haven't found any kind of therapy that helps me deal with the depression and anxiety. I refuse to do CBT, I've tried it and it just didn't work for me. In my mind it's like trying to help people get over their deepest and darkest fears by just pushing them right in front of their deepest and darkest fears. The whole premise makes no sense to me. It's like taking someone who has an extreme fear of heights and locking them on the roof of a 100 story building for hours, to "help" them get over their fear of heights.

I used to be very much against using medication to treat anxiety and depression, but over the years I've found it's the only thing that has helped at all. And it took me years to find an antidepressant and anti-anxiety med that worked for me. And it took years for me to get the right diagnoses.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 10:38 AM
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I find that really sitting down (when alone) and feeling the anxiety in a safe, comfy place really helps. The thing with fear, is that the harder a person tries to push it away, the harder it comes back. It is there to tell you to focus on your hurt parts, so when you push it away, it says, "wait, you really need to look at this," and comes back harder. So when I feel anxious and I can take a moment to feel it and breathe and relax my tensed muscles, I can then just sit quietly and feel the feeling and it changes and I often get insights. This works great for me for just getting less anxious in general.

For actually facing strangers and talking, I have to be calmer to begin with, which happens when nurture myself as I describe above. Then I have to focus on their well being. Are they looking awkward, too, and can I help them feel more at ease? Do they just want to be deeply listened to (most people do)? Do they just hope for a cheerful "hello"? I try to practice on other people who obviously love to talk and won't shame me or be weird like store clerks who are chatty, dog walkers who let you pet their dog,... Sometimes all I can manage is a smile, and that is great practice, too. Sometimes I can't even manage a smile, and then I concentrate on relaxing, because people pick up on your energy, and so when I relax, I can feel people around me remember to relax, too. Whatever you can do to improve yourself helps everyone around you because we can all feel each other's energy, and people who are open to others can benefit from your more relaxed, self-accepting energy.

After interacting with people I have the urge to hyper-analyse how I did, and I am working on seeing that just practicing is it's own reward. No need to do well or even not look goofy or terrified. It is just practice, and practice is fantastic all on it's own. I just work on being appreciative of myself for even trying to practice, because it is hard and even painful, so great if I can do it even a little!

When in sustained social situations, I have to take time and breathe deeply a lot, and then I spend most of my energy on just calming myself down - doing things like thinking about what I am grateful in life for, seeing the beauty all around me, people watching to see who is safer to talk to should I ever be brave enough to do that, being ok with myself for not talking, etc.

As to low self-esteem, start doing things you love, and it will bring out all your positive qualities, plus you are spending quality time with yourself and learning to nurture yourself. The happier you get, the more you appreciate yourself. Or you can just do what my mom taught me. She learned that if you walk around imagining that you are in love, you begin to feel that way, and the whole world looks wonderful. Try it sometime - it is really amazing!

Without knowing more about you, this is what I can think of off the top of my head.

Wishing you so much growth and self-acceptance. If I can do this, so can you!!!!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonlitMadness View Post
I really need to start working seriously on getting over my social anxiety, depression and low self-esteem/confidence. I am currently having counselling but I need more than this. I am hoping to go on to CBT again after my final two counselling sessions. I have tried CBT before but always discharged myself from it, not truly believing it could help me..

SO. I need to start helping myself more. Changing my mind set. Making myself believe I have self-worth. So, how can I challenge my negative thinking? How can I change?

And what has worked for YOU?
Hello MoonlitMadness

People above have said a lot of great things.

1. Working out helps release stress. It has helped me TREMENDOUSLY with my depression and a bit with stress. Most importantly though, my depression went WAY down. ALSO, please look into the FOOD and NUTRITION that you are consuming. Make sure that you are eating well, getting all the vitamins (D, C, etc.). Go to the doctors to see if you are lacking anywhere. Never hurts to check on your physical health once in a while. This is just one way of starting to love yourself and appreciate all that your body can do. SERIOUSLY... sit there and think of how much your body does automatically. It works like crazy just to keep you alive. It wants you to be happy and living to the fullest. Which brings me to my next point. Working out also allowed me to get out of my house at least 3-4 times a day. My main goal was to get healthy and feel great in my body. Find reasons as to why you want to join the gym and FEEL like you would really like it.. or else you will sign up and never go. If taking care of your physical health is not a good enough reason to sign up then IDK XD hahah... You could also try riding your bike to work or walking to places if you do not like the gym. I do 30 minutes to one hour each day I go. I think 30 minutes should be your minimum with 3 days being your minimum too. Maximum I would suggest is 5 days a week.. you need 2 rest days for your muscles to repair. XD I mean GET PASSIONATE about what you are doing. Read books about it, read online, even better ASK someone who does the same thing as you. Learn from them. Try to avoid spending too much time on the internet.

2.Yoga for 15 minutes a day. Or at least try to squeeze it in once in a while throughout your week.... even ONCE. XD I would take a class with people around... meetups sometimes offer free ones. Also there is a really great one online who says some commentary throughout it. She really helps with bringing your attention with your body and emotions while doing certain poses.

Maybe try out her 30 day camp
Link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUJW1Kd4zik

3. Journaling helps some and I really encourage it for documenting your process. With this, you can look back at what worked and how you felt during things that didn't. You come to analyze yourself. Observe what needs help... maybe even write an inspirational quote or person that you look up to. You need to find techniques or processes that will help you get up and EMBRACE failure when it comes. IT WILL COME MANY TIMES> One day you will see them as a blessing in disguise. Failure means you are trying and doing something you are not used to. It helps keep you on track of what needs work, like a target pointer. Which is GREAT! That means you can start finding ways to problem solve the situation. Plus, journaling helps with unloading EVERYTHING that you may be holding in. Especially when you have no one to talk to about it. We typically like to look outside ourselves for answers when really they all usually lie WITHIN ourselves. With anxiety we just don't let ourselves be vulnerable like that. We do not give ourselves a chance to feel and FACE the anxiety. I mean sit in a room and FACE IT. Look at it. Be alone with it.... scary. haha. But it is actually the time where you will learn a lot about yourself.

4. Meditation will help with that. It will help you turn the dirty muddy water of thoughts in your head to crystal clear. Meditation helps you concentrate on thing... like the breath coming out of your nose while you sit there in silence for 15 minutes.. It is difficult but it can help with setting those anxious thoughts to the bottom and help you think clearer after. You can also do this in a group environment with an instructor guiding you. I tried a Vipassana meditation retreat for 10 days straight where you only MEDITATE. It was free but you obviously had to donate because they gave you a place to sleep and made you meals (they were delicious). But this was BRUTAL. It did however, teach me a lot about meditation. You can find many books on this topic.

5. Exposure
is something that a lot of us DREAD WITH A PASSION. But it is absolutely necessary. You can go to a therapist for YEARS but if you do not put any work, you will not see results. Exposure involves getting yourself into scenarios that bring you different levels of anxiety. But no one said it had to be boring and crap? Make a list of the different things that give you anxiety in order of level 1 being the lowest to 10 the highest. Each week or day(better) practice exposing yourself to these situations. Then go to the next one when you feel comfortable with the previous. Like any process, sometimes you need to go back and forth with ones. Do not beat yourself up if you feel like your anxiety has returned where it wasn't before. FAILURE TEACHES US ALWAYS.. EMBRACE IT. Laugh at yourself! Now, sometimes those level 10 fears are way too hard to expose yourself to. So this is what I have done. I have tried to join activities with people BUT doing things I LOVE. So not only will I meet people with similar passions as I, it helps with building conversations. And if I do not talk much, I at least learn a skill and have at LEAST a bit of fun. Better than jumping into something dreadful. I have learned that when you have FUN you learn quicker. Plus maybe you can let loose... But I believe you should start small and then add different things you can do to update or make it one step better ( better I mean more anxious for you, but remember it will help you... so see it as a challenge that is rewarding). You will reach a point where you SEEK anxiety driven scenarios because you are choosing things that WORK FOR YOU and at the same time.. do not feel like a waste of time/ you gain enjoyment. Yes there are times where you need to do things that are not fun, but balancing it out with FUN and forced situation can help with it all.

6. Loving Yourself For my low self esteem which I continue to work on, I have found what REALLY works is taking care of my needs rather than pushing through and ignoring them. I treat myself with a healthy snack, I spend more time at the gym, I call a friend and tell them I appreciate their help, I look for things I can do to help with my anxiety. Basically I become the shoulder to lean on, I become my own best friend. I treat myself with respect.. when making decisions or choices I feel best for myself. I do not let other people control me or make me feel bad about myself. I have come up with a number of ways to help with this. Helping other people REALLY helps with loving yourself. Kind of ironic how that works. Reaching out to people, holding the door for them etc.. little things like that.. maybe even volunteering could help (that is actually my next goal in the winter). Set things up for yourself that make you HAPPY. Stop saying I can't. THAT IS BULL****. When people want something they go get it. When you are hungry you go to the grocery store. You don't just role over and shrivel up. You get up and GO. So loving yourself is like that. Look what needs nurturing and fuel. Be patient and loving to yourself when things do not go your way or you fail. Remember what is important to you and do not set limitation. Be honest with yourself! AND do not feel guilty about what makes you happy. If Saturday all you did was lay in bed and watch netflicks because yesterdays social interaction drained you to the bone XD... THEN DO THAT TO RECHARGE> Make sure it is a really good show or movie though xD HAVE FUN. You only live once and letting anxiety control your life is not living. Your anxiety is like a scared, angry and VERY HURT child. Be there for them and help them through it. LOVE, RESPECT, PATIENCE, UNDERSTANDING, COMPASSION. Also look at where your habits have become toxic and try to minimize your exposure to them. Be it people, relationships, internet (look for information the old school way A LIBRARY... do they exist still? XD, bookstores, or people - try to GO OUT and practice EXPOSING too), staying in doors, eating food for comfort, texting instead of calling ..just many different unhealthy forms of "comforting" that are not helping your process. Do not beat yourself up.. just look at ways to improve it slowly. Little actions here and there add up... Do not underestimate what a small switch or thought or choice can do. Try to find ways to expose yourself at the same time.. or ask yourself..Could I do this exact same action but it involving people? going out of my house? taking care of my other personal needs such as exercise? **** taking a vitamin D pill, I will walk outside at the park/trail for 15 minutes.. add running or fast walking and then I will be half way done my workout goal... idk.. GO TO THE LIBRARY XD
Always strive for better and push yourself (in a cheerleading encouraging way).
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 03:02 PM
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Also I am a firm believer that how you treat others reflects on how you treat yourself, how you treat your effort/work habits etc. Everything is connected. If you start taking care of yourself, you will see yourself becoming a better friend, your work will get done effectively.. your overall look on life will improve. Why? Because you are making the right choices for yourself. Happiness is not something you get, it is a way of being.
I wish you the best
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 05:30 PM
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Treat yourself like your best friend? what does that mean...does it mean i should treat my anxiety/worrying thoughts with love and care and patience?

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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-01-2016, 05:43 PM
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Also I am a firm believer that how you treat others reflects on how you treat yourself, how you treat your effort/work habits etc. Everything is connected. If you start taking care of yourself, you will see yourself becoming a better friend, your work will get done effectively.. your overall look on life will improve. Why? Because you are making the right choices for yourself. Happiness is not something you get, it is a way of being.
I wish you the best
Your posts are postive and help m think of how SA works and solutions for it. Thank you

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 05:52 PM
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I feel that "not making myself unhappy" if I can help it, helps. Not purposely dwelling on painful things, not talking to people who put me down, and talking to people who are not mean. I find it helpful going out to university clubs and socializing. It helps keep things in perspective. Tells you that whoever around you who thinks you're too awkward aren't the only opinions that exist.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-04-2016, 03:23 PM
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I read a lot of self help books and a book that really helped me was "What to say when you talk to your self" by Shad Helmstetter. It taught me the power of self talk and using audio recordings to reprogram my mind. I spent a lot of time creating positive self-audio recordings until I found a system that worked that I can stick to. Change comes over time.

I wanna genuinely help people and change the world. I run a channel that teaches people how to obtain endless motivation for free

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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-06-2016, 12:21 PM
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Treat yourself like your best friend? what does that mean...does it mean i should treat my anxiety/worrying thoughts with love and care and patience?
Hello The Starry night
Sorry I did not reply sooner.

I find that in a lot of SAD books they try to steer you AWAY from your feelings of anxiety or cover them up rather than LISTENING to them.

I like to relate my feelings of anxiety with someone who is suffering.
When you see someone that needs help you don't ignore them, you reach your hand out and help them. One way of helping someone is being someone to talk to, let them feel like they can rely and trust you. That you are a good listener and you will encourage them to do what makes them content.

Your anxiety, I believe, should not be covered up with pretty thoughts, ignored or pushed aside. This does not solve the problem or help you heal. It does not help you understand WHY you keep feelings anxious. When there is a problem the best thing to do is bring your attention to it. Otherwise, it will continue to persist and/or get increasingly difficult to work with/get worse.

Learning how to treat your negative thoughts will help you deal with other peoples negative thoughts. Being empathetic and compassionate with yourself, when it comes to your own difficulties will help you when someone comes to you with theirs.

When you feel alone, take note. Plan a date with yourself.
If you got your heart broken. Take NOTE. Go do things that make you happy. If you have a best friend and you told them you got dumped, they would drive over there and comfort you. They may even buy you the favourite things you like(icecream/candy). They will encourage you that you deserve better for yourself. That you can still enjoy your own company. That there are people that care about you even if that one person doesn't. That is what I mean by becoming your own best friend. When you see that you are suffering, do things that will help you get back up and help you see your beauty even in the darkness.

Loving yourself will teach you how to Love others. Loving others, will help you love yourself. Treat others the way you want to be treated is another form of being your own best friend. Set morals or values that you look up to and embody them. Become the kind of person you want to meet =Which means to try to learn to accept who you are. Be yourself.
Stay open, listen to your thoughts/feelings because they are VALID and IMPORTANT.

I am glad that my words are helping you.
I am sure you could share with me your wisdom and thoughts of things that would help me to. Please do not hesitate to share your ideas. Maybe they can help someone else.
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