Masterpost: How to overcome Social Anxiety step by step! - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 06:41 AM Thread Starter
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Masterpost: How to overcome Social Anxiety step by step!


Hi, I'm Triumphant21, years ago I used to have social anxiety.

I was so afraid that people would judge me that I was afraid to leave home. I was so afraid to meet with people because they would think I am weird and strange and won't talk to me. I know now that I'm not weird and strange, and even you who have social anxiety are more normal than you think you are, your self-image is not necessarly an accurate one.

I was so afraid of saying something because "what if I say something wrong and people would begin to disapprove of me". I know now that as long as you didn't say an insult and even if you didn't get the approval you wanted you still didn't say something wrong, the only thing you would say something wrong is when you would say an insult.

I also know that just become some people dissaprove of you it doesn't mean everyone will and it won't make your life worse. Dissaproval happens, even for people without social anxiety, what do they do about it? nothing, they don't care and get over it.

If instead of tormenting yourself over disapproval you would get over it and seek other people to interact with, you will eventually find people that approve you. That's how people make friends, trial and error, there are people who would hate you in spite of all your great qualities and people who would love you in spite of all your great flaws.

Which people do you think are more important? it goes without saying that the latter, those who love you in spite of all your great flaws, but in order to find those people you need to seek them.

Anyway, back to getting rid of social anxiety:

1. Learn from the success of others. Study the stories of the people who overcame social anxiety to find out how they did it.

Here are some links on this very forum:
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...xiety-1661113/
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[when we experience anxiety] we fight, avoid, and even run away from situations to make this feeling stop; however, these actions reinforce our fear and make it grow stronger.
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Stop caring about people giving you praise and having a good opinion of you. Once you stop caring about happy and good, you automatically stop fearing bad and sad. If you find yourself worrying about others good or bad opinions, simply catch yourself.
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All fear comes from dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. You don’t experience fear when you are in the present.
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Expose yourself to situations that are outside of your comfort zone and would give you some anxiety then use the above points. Analyze these situations before, during, and after. Focus on not thinking about other peoples negative/positive opinions during it. Don't tell people about these difficult tasks you are completing. And, try and stay in the present moment while doing these tasks (not worrying about the future or past).
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...xiety-1939226/
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I started reading books online and I came across the “Attacking Anxiety and Depression” audio series by Lucinda Bassett.
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The first step towards curing my anxiety was getting rid of the panic attacks. (...) I found that you have to train yourself to deal with this external trigger in a healthy way. If I got a panic feeling out of nowhere or from an external stimuli, I would be like “that’s okay, I’m worried that I might have a panic attack in this public place so it makes sense that I am anxious, I just need to give myself a moment to calm down”. Once I figured out that I had control over how I reacted, I stopped having panic attacks.
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The second step I took was identifying all of the negative thoughts that I had. (...) I replaced negative what ifs with positive ones like “what if the event goes great”. I began changing my patterns of thought so I reacted to the anxiety and symptoms I had in a positive way. I began to notice a difference fairly quickly though I still had the anxiety.
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The third step I took was not letting anxiety stop me from doing things. I began to work again even though it was incredibly difficult. (...) With my new positive outlook I would reason that 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. I began to take my life back and start going to the gym again.
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...nxiety-109018/
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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!
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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.
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Everybody just wants to have a good time, like you do. Whenever you analyse an aspect of your "performance", for example you think of a witty response to a remark made by somebody else, you are trying to see how other people react to it by testing it against yourself to see if there's a chance you might get humiliated. Can you see the contradiction here? The only thing you are going to determine is how YOU would react to it! Not other people. And by the time you've considered all the options and whether it's a "viable input to the conversation", the conversation has moved on!
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...xiety-2219943/
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At that point I realised something: Why am I trying to impress people who don't care about me? The thought was incredible. It changed everything. Over the next few days I started to feel so much better. I hadn't felt like this since I could remember. All because I realised that I was way too focused on what people thought of me. I didn't do the things I wanted to do and didn't think of myself at all until this happened. All of a sudden the incredible urge to want to combat my loneliness faded away. I was happy with myself. I loved myself.
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...xiety-1585210/
Quote:
There's really no problem if people don't like you or disagree with you, the ironic thing about the social anxiety is that the real problem is the fear, the thing you're afraid of is non-existent.
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...t-read-478202/
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...xiety-2219943/
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...xiety-1928538/
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...program-84075/
https://www.socialanxietysupport.com...ow-to-2222179/

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

Panic Attacks are like Social Anxiety except it's 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. Understand that the symptoms of social anxiety manifest only in your head, from the outside looking in you look normal.

From an outside source social anxiety doesn't look like much, you look normal. Even if sometimes you are nervous, from the outside looking in you seem constant. Because other people cannot see your inside, they only see what's on the surface. Even if sometimes you are a a little scared, nervous or shy; people's reaction won't be that bad for being scared or shy. Most people understand this is something normal.

One of the main fear associated with social anxiety is that you will look weird or strange when you have social anxiety. 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.

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.

Even in the events that you are scared or shy most people would be understanding and won't judge you, the person who judges you the most is actually yourself.
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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. Drop the rituals you use to avoid feeling anxiety, they only reinforce the anxiety.

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 2 (permalink) Old 02-12-2019, 07:28 AM Thread Starter
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4. Drop the rituals you use to avoid feeling anxiety, they only reinforce the anxiety.

People with panic attacks have rituals to protect themselves and make themselves feel safe, they check tension, take meds, etc. This actually makes it worse because it reinforces avoidance which means you will never expose yourself and solve your problem.

If you have a ritual to avoid feeling anxious too such as taking alcohol, taking meds, meditating. Drop the ritual, you think that by having that ritual you protect yourself and allow yourself to function, but it actually reinforces the anxiety because it creates and avoidant habbit. If you keep having that ritual you will never get to expose yourself without ritual and solve your problem.

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.

The habbits or rituals that you use to diminish Social Anxiety (including taking meds) are reinforcing the anxiety, because it becomes clear you can avoid Social Anxiety so you avoid all social interaction until you aren't anxious by executing those habbits.
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The problem with safety behaviors is that they are like the training wheels on a bicycle - they make you think 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. Gradually expose yourself when you are anxious to situations that cause you anxiety.

As you have probably seen from the stories of those who overcame Social Anxiety the "big" secret of getting rid of Social Anxiety is also the one that is the hardest to do so you always avoid it. Do courage. Expose yourself when you are anxious.

Quote:
Expose yourself to situations that are outside of your comfort zone and would give you some anxiety then use the above points. Analyze these situations before, during, and after. Focus on not thinking about other peoples negative/positive opinions during it. Don't tell people about these difficult tasks you are completing. And, try and stay in the present moment while doing these tasks (not worrying about the future or past).
Quote:
The third step I took was not letting anxiety stop me from doing things. (...) With my new positive outlook I would reason that 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. I began to take my life back and start going to the gym again.
To get rid of Social Anxiety: Gradually expose yourself when you are anxious, in your worst moments, get new experiences, see what happens, can it kill you? will they judge you? Gradually expose to family, friends, relatives, a public place, a business meeting, etc.

You will get some "yes" approval, you will get some "no" dissaproval, you will sometimes make up some "no" dissaproval in your head without actually receiving it. Keep going, keep trying, even if you get no. You will get some negative feedback but you will also get some positive feedback.

Keep talking to people even if you get no. And for your own internal well-being remember: don't perform. Be yourself = don't perform. Do what you feel and say what you feel, in the limit of politeness. Good words cost nothing and are worth much. Be yourself in the limit of common sense. Be the default version that you can be with no effort. Nobody is looking for you to perform. If you want to be interesting be interested: a good listener, talk about other's interests, have stories to tell, connect with them. 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. 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.

The secret to getting rid of social anxiety: Keep in touch with people, take initiative, go and talk to people, even if you don't feel like it. Expose yourself 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. You need to be consistent.

Quotes on consistency:

"If you work out in gym and look in the mirror you see nothing. If you work out again and look in the mirror you see nothing. Clearly there's no ressults, it must not be effective? So we quit. Right? Wrong. If you believe this is the right course of action and stick with it. You commit to the regime, the exercise. You can screw it up, eat cake one day and or skip a day or two, it allows for that. But if you stick with it consistently, one day you'll get into shape. Working out for 9 hours does not get you into shape. Working out every day for 20 minutes gets you into shape."

"The same with relationships, it's not about events or intensity, it's about consistency. When you met your wife you didn't love her, now you love her, tell me the day that love happened? it's an impossible question. But it's not that it doesn't exist, it's that it's much easier to prove over time. She fell in love with you because when you went to the fridge to get a drink, you got her one without asking. She fell in love with you because when you had an amazing day, and she came home and she had a terrible day, you sat and listened to her awful day, and you didn't say a thing about your amazing day, you showed her you care about her. Love is care for one another, sincere love. This is why she fell in love with you."

Everything comes from the inside and if you really want to do something you do it. Happiness is a choice, it depends on us whether we want to be happy or sad. Don't make a catastrophe out of every bad thing that happened in your life, it happened and it also happened to other people, maybe it's not as bad as you see it, and of it's something bad it's not the end of the world or of your life, look at the things that give you peasure, the important thing is to not lose your enthusiasm and keep trying. Learn to be more self-reliant, handle yourself.

As for being judged - filter the feedback with context from others - judge the intention of the person that judges you. Are you judged by a good person that wants what's best for you? Listen to that advice or at least disagree respectfully. Are you judged by a bad person that is simply a hateful person or hates you for some reason? You shouldn't care what they think, they don't have your best interests at heart, they just want to please themselves. Rather than letting every case of opposition or neglect wound you, filter what others think and examine the justice of others' behaviour. Only actions that are both bad and true should be allowed to shatter your esteem. Judge other people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

However, the "don't care what other people think" is a bad advice because we care about the relations we have with those around us. Everyone cares what other people think, we care what other people think because we care about the relations with those around us, we have different behaviours with different people, we want to be seen in a different light by different people, usually good light but again different light, we have different behaviours with different people because we allow different things with different people. You are not weak or a loser if you are a good person. There are all kinds of people, some will try to take advantage of you, others won't. We are not the center of the universe, we are not the smartest people in the world and there are good people who want what's good for us. Not everyone is selfish and completely self-interested. Seek the truth, not beautiful lies.

Read this:
https://www.bustle.com/articles/1214...-more-positive defeat a negative attutide, we all have this voice in our head that tells us that you can't do it, some people call it "demons", don't let it win. You don't have to have a bad opinion about yourself.

https://www.nbcnews.com/better/healt...ent-ncna778761. Forgive yourself when you’re not so awesome, talk to yourself nicely, you don't have to be perfect.

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

RECAP:
1. Learn from the success of others.
2. Learn from the stories of panic attacks.
3. Understand that the symptoms of social anxiety manifest only in your head.
4. Drop the rituals you use to avoid feeling anxiety.
5. Gradually expose yourself to anxious situations.

EXTRAS:





Good luck!

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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