A cure for social anxiety? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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A cure for social anxiety?

1. Stories of other people who overcame social anxiety.

Am I 100% sure the other person is mad at me? No, maybe the didn’t see me. Ok, then I need to move on and not worry about some possible negative opinion that I don’t even know is real.

if I went through something that caused me to get anxious, I would get a little less anxious the next time I did it. This became a reality as the more I did something that caused me to get anxious, the easier it was to do.
the ironic thing about the social anxiety is that the real problem is the fear, the thing you're afraid of is non-existent.
Overcoming social anxiety is very possible. But it includes treating yourself in the kindest way possible from moment to moment.



2. Learn from the story of panic attacks, "will it kill me?", the secret was exposure.

Panic attacks are similar to social anxiety except the source of anxiety is fear of death not fear of being judged. People with panic attack walk on the street and get severe anxiety that they may die, and because of the severe anxiety itself they get even more convinced that they will die, fear of death boosts anxiety and anxiety boosts fear of death, thus the cyrcle that repeats itself. The secret of getting rid of panic attacks is to ask yourself "will it kill me?" and then go out there on the streets, get anxious, see if it actually kills you or not, when you see that it won't kill you the fear decreases.

3. The symptoms of social anxiety manifest only in your head - from the outside social anxiety doesn't look like much, you look normal, only a little scared or shy. People's reaction won't be that bad.

One of the main fear associated with social anxiety is that you will look weird or strange when you have social anxiety, people will see it as strange and back away or ask themselves "what the heck is wrong with this weird?". I know it's hard to believe, but from the outside looking in, social anxiety doesn't look like much, you just look a little shy or scared, and most people will not judge you for being shy or scared, people with common sense tend to see that you're a little shy and reserved and understand you. And for those that social anxiety has physical manifestations such as blushing, sweating, etc; people's reaction won't be that bad, people won't make a big deal out of it.

Physiological responses we sometimes have with social anxiety are nowhere near as apparent to other people as they are to ourselves. This can be hard to believe, but it is true. It is comforting to refer to this handout regularly and remind myself that even if my emotions are trying to tell me I have done a bad job, this is usually not the truth, and I am not giving myself enough credit for recognizing the situation for what it really is. So what if I was a little nervous? So what if it felt like I trembled a little bit or stumbled over a few of my words? Other people didn’t really notice at all, and if they did, it wasn’t even a big deal to them.
4. You probably have a ritual to avoid it, just like people with panic attacks - they check tension, take meds, or any other ritual to make them feel safe. Drop the rituals.

You probably have a ritual to avoid having social anxiety, and those rituals keep social anxiety at bay, you have release moments when you have no social anxiety and reprisal moments when you have social anxiety and are afraid that everyone will judge you because of social anxiety. Those release moments only enforce the anxiety more when you have it, because it becomes clear that it's possible to not be anxious at times so you avoid all social interaction when you are anxious, and you even strongly reinforce the rituals that made you less anxious. Those rituals actually reinforce your social anxiety overall, even if you think they help.

Many people who are anxious engage in superstitious behaviors that they think make them safer or less likely to humiliate themselves. The problem with safety behaviors is that they are like the training wheels on a bicycle---they make you think that the only way you can get through these experiences is by using the training wheels. The more you can give up these behaviors the more powerful your experiences will be—“I did it without a drink” or “I did it without rehearsing everything”.
5. Stop the ritual and expose yourself when you are anxious. Gradually expose yourself.

To get rid of social anxiety you have to drop the rituals that actually reinforce the anxiety but you think they help. And then you will have to gradually expose yourself when you are anxious, in your worst moments, see what happens, can it kill you? will they judge you? no. Gradually expose to family, friends, relatives, a public place, a business meeting, etc.

The secret to getting rid of social anxiety: Drop the rituals that you are using to avoid anxiety but are actually reinforicing the anxiety then gradually expose yourself to anxious moments in social settings. Do it gradually, from situations that make you feel less anxious to situations that make you feel more anxious. This isn't going to be an over night cure, but if you do that you're on the right path.

A socially anxious person isn't "afraid of a bad thing happening", they have a conditioned fear response to social situations. This stuff isn't going on predominantly on a conscious level, it is driven by the subconscious, which is why exposure therapy works, exposure therapy is re-conditioning the individual, it works by fear extinction. Regarding confronting the actual fear, and not becoming afraid of looking stupid, yes, fine, how do you get to that point? You expose yourself to the situations you fear and tolerate the bad responses. This is more of a social mishap therapy than exposure, but they aren't really that dissimilar, both are working via fear extinction. What isn't going to work is sitting around and trying to tell yourself that you shouldn't be afraid, and not actually exposing yourself to the situations that case the fear, because your conditioned subconscious isn't going to buy any of it.
OPTIONAL: How to behave? Courage and kindness. Have decency, be polite, try not to offend other people or make them feel bad, be respectful, be a good person and good people will like you, but also if you want something say it, if you think something is better give your opinion, if you want to say something say it, if you have an idea say it, you can have guts and politeness at the same time, you can have guts but not the rude kind of guts, seek cooperation. Trump is an example of guts without politeness, but Obama is an example of both guts and politeness.
In a social situation, people like you and me tend to immediately jump to the mindset that we need to "perform". This is, my friends, a total misconception. It is a destructive mindset and it is one you need to recognise and abandon as soon as possible in any social situation! Nobody is looking for you to perform. Nobody is looking for you to be the most exciting, interesting, funny, attractive, cool person in the world, except you yourself. Everybody just wants to have a good time, like you do.
What he means by "you don't need to perform" is that you don't need to be a people pleaser. Someone who thinks their feelings don’t matter and everyone else’s feelings matter more, that conflict is dangerous, that you should always be nice. They end up not taking care of their own basic needs because they are too busy taking care of other people, agreeing to things they don’t want to, suppressing their personality and opinions for fear of hurting other people while other people can be and say whatever they want, only saying what they think others want to hear. There needs to be a balance, trying too hard to be liked can have the opposite effect, you need to have dignity to be respected as well. Try to make yourself likeable (take initiative, do favors, talk to them about their interests, find common interests) but don't be desperate. You don't need to mold your behaviour after everyone, it's supposed to be win - win situations.

MOTIVATIONAL: Conquer fear. Learning how to ski/drive has a lot of fear at first, but you gradually expose to it, until you become better. Gradual exposure is the secret to become better, learning any new skill involves conquering fear, even playing an online game, you're afraid first that you would lose and look like a fool, but after a time you'll get better and eventually learn.

RECAP: 1. Look at the stories of people who overcame social anxiety. 2. Learn from the stories of people who overcame panic attacks. 3. Understand that the symptoms of social anxiety manifest only in your head and other people don't care as much as you do. 4. You probably have rituals to avoid social anxiety, drop the rituals. 5. Expose yourself when you're anxious, do it gradually, see what happens.

Life is too short to be closed in yourself and not have fun. Keep in touch with people, take initiative, go and talk to people. Be civilized, be respectful, understanding, not conflict prone, have integrity, smile, make jokes and don't get easily offended but also have dignity and self-respect. You're not weak or loser if you're a good person. Everything comes from inside and if you truly want to do something you do it. Happiness is a choice, it depends on us whether we want to be happy or sad.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 11:22 PM
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 03:52 PM
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Hi Triumphant. I’m just coming to grips with this is this issue I’ve been having for about 20yrs, and finally know it’s not all in my head, but an actual common disorder?...anyway I’m trying to adress it, eliminate it, and live a healthy life. I just left another group where it was all doom and gloom with ppl saying they’ve tried everything and nothing worked. I appreciate your messages of triumph, very encouraging and give me hope that this thing can be eliminated tremendously!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 01:36 PM
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Hi Logic2178, yes it can be eliminated but you need a plan to follow. If not you will get lost in the process.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-20-2019, 01:40 PM
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This is a truly inspirational post.

Walking the path and actually doing it is the hard part but as paths go, this is very well written.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 06:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for feedback!

Social anxiety is the fear of being judged, but you cannot stop being judged by other people, people without social anxiety are judged by other people too, they just don't make a big deal out of it, they are confortable with being judged and don't make it personal. Sometimes when they feel that the criticism is legitimate and constructive, they accept it and change their behaviour. Other times when they feel that the criticism is undeserved such as just mean talk or troll comments, they ignore it and move on with their lives. They don't take being judged as something personal, it's not always about you as much as it is about the other person as well, you need to look at the context and enviroment as well.

Social anxiety is also the fear of being rejected, there are a lot of people without social anxiety who are afraid of being rejected. But the people who aren't afraid of being rejected, just don't make a big deal out of being rejected, they don't like it but they don't make a tragedy out of it. They accept it, get over it and act like nothing happened.

So the solution is not to stop being judged by other people or make yourself immune to being judged, which is impossible, the solution is to not make a big deal out of being judged, to be confortable being judged, to accept that you can be judged and do it anyway. The more exposure you get the more reality-check you get and your mindset and perspective will change, sometimes you'll realise you won't be judged when you thought you will be judged, other times you realise that being judged is not that bad, words come and pass, nothing hurts you, really, the only thing that hurts you are the stories you make in your head.

Things may not be as dark as you see them, as I said before, when you're afraid, you make up scenarios, it's possible that you will be judged by some people, it's also possible that you won't be judged by some people, you never know until you actually try. By the way, nobody can see that you are afraid/anxious, the symptoms of social anxiety manifest only in your head, from the outside you look normal, only a little scared or shy, people's reaction won't be that bad. Don't generalize people, everybody has different values and will judge you based on different criterias, the things some people may hate you for are exactly the things other people may love you for. You cannot control other people, you can only judge their character and actions and make an impression whether to trust them or not.

Try not to focus on what others think and start working on your professional life. You have to be yourself so you can feel good about yourself and so you can be liked for who you are. To be at ease, to be confortable, and you can't do that if you worry what others say of you. Don't have an extreme carelessness, we live in a society with other people, but as long as you're decent, you're polite, you don't insult, you've done your part. If somebody doesn't like you and you've done your part it's their problem, you've done your part. You should care what others think and be more agreeable (think about the consequences, don't start unnecessary conflict) but not make it your goal to win the approval of others, they either give you approval or don't, you're good both ways. There are exceptions when you should try to win the approval of others, when you go to a job interview to make a good impression so that you will be hired or when you go out on a date but in general you shouldn't live your life for other people.

We all care about some people. Lying to yourself about your own mindset won't help you in the long run. Instead, you'll just make many poor choices that hurt a lot of important people to you. A better outlook on life is to think about how you want to be perceived and by whom. There are very few people in our lives that really matter to us: spouses, kids, parents, close friends, coworkers. We want and need their approval for us to live a good life. That isn’t done for them, but for us. We need that, but we don't need everyone.

Mindset is the way you think, the established set of attitudes held by someone, a mental inclination or disposition, or a frame of mind, your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits. If you have a bad mindset you will get bad ressults. If you get bad ressults change your mindset. Get out of your confort zone and change your mindset to one that helps you, that is useful to you. You can change yourself to become what you want to become.

Sadly, most people with social anxiety have a negative fixed mindset, and this is understandable, when your life is bad and completly negative it's only natural to have a bad and completly natural mindset, but don't think that your mindset is fixed, and don't cling to that fixed mindset, try to develop a better mindset, a growth mindset, a more useful mindset, that will help you make better decisions in life.

A lot of 40 years old "experts" say that they already are experts in terms of social anxiety because they've had social anxiety for years, well if they've already had social anxiety for years how can they think of themselves as experts? An expert in football is not someone who played football the longest but someone who plays football the best. This sort of arrogance and fixed mindset keeps them stuck in their ways, unable to see new persepctives, try new things and get out of their confort zone.
Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.
How can you change your mindset? one way to do it is to do it instantly is by autosuggestion. You probably already know deep down what you should do. You know you should go out there and talk to those people. You know you just go to that party and not pretend you are something different just to be liked. Deep down we know in our intuition what to do. So do it, just do it, accept that mindset of just do it. Motivate yourself, determinate yourself, raise yourself, pull yourself back together.

Tell yourself "I can do it" and motivate yourself, move your fists, energize yourself, even if you don't feel like it, until you feel like it. You want that good life? then make yourself that good life. You don't need to be an expert, you don't need to be the best, you don't need to be perfect, you don't need to be super-human, you don't even need to be good, you just need to do it, you just need to start doing it, because learning is the greatest capacity humans have, and repetition is the mother of all learning, so just do it. Have a warrior attitude, someone who doesn't give up, someone who fights for what he wants, someone who is ambitious, in spite of depression, in spite of pain, in spite of not feeling like it. You know what you have to do, so just do it.

Another way is to learn new information. Explore new things, learn from different people, see different perspective, ask different people on this subject, ask for advice. You have the internet, search on the internet and read about different things, read from different prespectives. You already know about "fixed mindset vs growth mindset" from here, that's a start. You can continue you reading here: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/fi...rowth-mindset/. And not just about mindset, about any problem you may have, learn and apply. It's true that you need to learn, but you also need to apply. You cannot learn how to swim without actually swimming, and this involves facing some fears.

So yeah, accept that you will be judged and do it anyway. You have to be yourself so you can feel good about yourself and so you can be liked for who you are. To be at ease, to be confortable, and you can't do that if you worry what others say of you. You cannot protect yourself from being judged, nobody is immune from being judged, the best you can do is not make a big deal out of it. There will be people who will judge you, and there will be people who won't judge you. Don't make it your goal to win the approval of others. As long as you're decent, you're polite, you don't insult, you've done your part. If somebody doesn't like you and you've done your part it's their problem, you've done your part. Don't let the voice of others bring down your inner spirit. If you keep going and keep trying you will eventually find people who share your values and who will like you for who you are.

This is not "don't worry" this is "don't listen to the worries and do it anyway", don't give a crap about worries.

Here's another link that could help you: https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...erson-2219433/

And remember: the secret of getting rid of social anxiety is not to avoid fear, it's to face your fears, to walk on fear, to dance with fear. Do that long enough and your perspective will change, your mindset will change, those new experiences will offer you a new reality check. Social anxiety is just a feeling, you're anxious, maybe you're blushing too, but you are still in control of your body, you decide what to do. You decide whether you want to listen to the fear or don't listen to the fear and do it anyway.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-28-2019, 06:53 AM
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