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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone :D

I'm new to this board, unfortunately not new to S.A I have been 'struggling' with it for the last 3 years since I first diagnosed myself though I've probably had it a bit longer than that.

I have decided to share with you all a list of positive thinking patterns that have really helped me deal with my anxiety in social situations. Some of them are quite specific in that they help me in a certain type of social situation while others are more broad. I discovered them by accident "in the moment" but they borrow certain aspects from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

"I don't NEED his/her friendship"

For use in: Situations where I'm talking to someone I have placed high 'social value' on in others words deemed there validation to be of paramount importance to me.

Thought Changes: Put's that person into perspective, I then see myself as equal. It highlights how silly I've been and how really theres no such thing as 'social value'. I can focus on what I really want to say as opposed to what I think I should say.

Emotional Reaction: I feel much more relaxed, calmer, much more confident and my self image suddenly rockets. I am much more attentive to the other person as opposed to giving generic robotic responses and thinking up new responses before the other person has actually finished talking. Also stops me from making silly jokes to 'appease' that person.

A) "Lets see where this conversation will go..."

For use in social situations where I am 'trapped' and have to talk to another other person in a work environment, or when introduced to a friend of a friend etc... And especially when feeling as though I have nothing to say.

Impact: Usually much less nervous/anxious, suddenly excited and 'challenged' by the conversation rather than intimidated.

B) "Why do I need to prove myself to them?"

Tied with the first point, when speaking, or doing something that may draw possible social rejection. Just before admitting to vulnerability on the basis of feeling socially inferior. When withholding the truth for fear of embarrassment.

Thought Changes: Usually much more self assured, able to concentrate on what I'm doing/saying and can even laugh at my own predicament and see how silly and irrational I'm being without beating myself up about it.

C) "I don't have to be funny ALL the time"

I am quite a humour conscious person, I like to laugh and joke a lot, in any relationship one thing that is important to me is sharing a laugh together and so when someone says something funny usually I feel the need to reciprocate with a joke on par or better than his/hers for the sake of my self esteem. Also I tended to beat myself up when I'd speak to people who didn't share my sense of humour, blaming myself for not being funny enough.

Thought Changes: Usually I relax and let go rather than scanning my brain relentlessly for the perfect response. I accept that sometimes I'm not going to have anything humorous to say, that does not mean I'm not a funny person. I stop seeing everything as a competition.

D) "I don't have to be sociable ALL the time"

Maybe the most important one, the problem with diagnosing yourself with S.A is that, well in my case anyway I feel the need to constantly be sociable as to prove I can beat S.A. What this means is any time I don't talk to people just because I don't feel like it follows immediate castigation and an interrogation by the internal voice in my head. 'Why don't you want to talk to them?, Because you're scared, That's the reason isn't it?, face them! your not beating S.A at all'.

Impact: With the above thought pattern I suddenly relax, all the weight is taken off my shoulders and I feel content to avoid others, after all everyone does it at some time or another and I feel no feelings of guilt or shame. It would be much worse if I faced a social situation with the aim of beating S.A as this means there is anxiety to not feel anxiety!

E) "Take the pressure off yourself Monty it's early stages..."

When trying to get to know someone for the first time and 'failing' to bond or trying to fit in in a new work or social environment. Usually I would pin the blame upon myself for not saying the right things, being socially awkward or not being entertaining enough.

Impact: Usually Overwhelming relief, again seeing bonding/fitting in as a challenge rather than a gauntlet. No feelings of shame, guilt or helplessness.

F) "I'm not the finished article, every game I will get better, just by playing with better players I will improve my game."

When playing football (soccer) but can be applied to most sports. Usually I'd feel under pressure to perform well or else I'd fear other people's opinions.

Impact: Usually stress, anxiety and pressure are alleviated. A smile floods my face and I feel free to enjoy the game.

Others include: 'Calm down' in a quiet tone when anxious, 'Disconnect yourself from your feelings' when feeling angry or hurt. 'Maybe they just didn't want to talk', 'Disconnect yourself from this irrational feeling of shame' - when making a mistake.

I have also come across what I call 'Toxic thoughts'- thoughts that have a heavy demoralising effect that are usually completely irrational thoughts that I will share maybe in another thread.

It would be nice if others could share any positive thinking patterns you may have come across that may have helped you at one stage or another. :)
 

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Wow, those sound like they could be really helpful. I think the first one would help me the most.Thanks for the advice!
 

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A) "Lets see where this conversation will go..."

For use in social situations where I am 'trapped' and have to talk to another other person in a work environment, or when introduced to a friend of a friend etc... And especially when feeling as though I have nothing to say.

Impact: Usually much less nervous/anxious, suddenly excited and 'challenged' by the conversation rather than intimidated.
I use a similar technique when driving (and for other things in life), I just say "I'll see what happens..."
 

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Great post...very helpful..
i always tell myself that it's not just up to me to keep a conversation going..when i feel pressured to talk or pressured during silences sometimes.. cause i always blame myself for silences..
 

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This is a realy helpful post. I especially agree with the first thought. When I talk to people that I mentally put on a higher pedastal (ex, really outgoing/popular people, crushes, authority figures) my anxeity spikes up. But I'm a totally diffrent person around people I feel equal to.
 

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Wow, what great advice. With gems like these of your own making you should consider being a life coach or just working with the public as a mentor or youth worker.

Most of these create the feeling of being let 'off the hook'. The first suggestion that you don't NEED his/her friendship is useful because I've found that one of the biggest differences between having and not having S.A is how you view other people.

Suggestion A) is also really useful since too often in conversations people worry about what to say next but looking at a conversation like this actually makes every chat a win-win situation.

C) & D) are both lessons in going easy on yourself which automatically reduces stress and gets things into a more realistic perspective.

E) reminds me of another one someone told me which was 'don't make life harder for yourself'

F) is particularly reassuring because it carries with it a sense of inner potential thats ongoing, not static, but always growing so long as you continue to take chances.

Excellent :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the appreciation everyone I really didn't expect such a positive response. Like I said these things i discovered on my own 'in the moment' I hope they will work for others but if not it doesn't matter you should just try to find something that will work for you.

I especially agree with the first thought. When I talk to people that I mentally put on a higher pedastal (ex, really outgoing/popular people, crushes, authority figures) my anxeity spikes up. But I'm a totally diffrent person around people I feel equal to.
Yeah I know how you feel, I discovered another thinking pattern that helped in these situations when I was talking to a really attractive girl once, I felt huge pressure to sustain conversation and protect my self image until I thought: "I wonder how well I can talk to attractive girls..."

Instantly like C) I felt challenged not intimidated, I felt my shoulders relaxing and then could feel an air of confidence exuding from me - a great feeling since I suddenly feel like I have something to offer to them rather than just me seeking their approval. You can use this for figures of authority/outgoing/popular/confident people.

Suggestion A) is also really useful since too often in conversations people worry about what to say next but looking at a conversation like this actually makes every chat a win-win situation.
Exactly! My default thinking patterns made every social situation a lose - lose scenario it would go along the lines of: "You better have something interesting to say or else they will realise you're boring". That's possibly the worst thing you can say to yourself.

C) & D) are both lessons in going easy on yourself which automatically reduces stress and gets things into a more realistic perspective.
Yes and those were the hardest to discover, I thought the meaning of beating S.A was being able to be sociable all the time, funny all time, entertaining all the time and any time I couldn't meant there was something wrong with me. I realised that by not putting such pressures on myself helped in the long run and ironically I became more friendly, more sociable and more funny.

F) is particularly reassuring because it carries with it a sense of inner potential thats ongoing, not static, but always growing so long as you continue to take chances.
Yes and when you put life in this perspective it's a win - win situation. As long as you 'compete' every day whether you win or lose you will improve and coupled with C and D even if you choose not to compete sometimes it really doesn't matter either because that's natural too.

I use a similar technique when driving (and for other things in life), I just say "I'll see what happens..."
The beauty of this one is it doesn't define an outcome, a goal, a target by which success and failure means life and death. It just says 'whatever happens happens' and thus all you can do is play your part. What tends to happen is you perform to your own potential whilst if you were to set a target you may buckle under the pressure to reach that target.

If you're someone who is motivated by goals then goal setting might be a good thing, but for me it has a debilitating effect since the idea of failure makes me not want to 'compete' in the first place!

I always tell myself that it's not just up to me to keep a conversation going..when i feel pressured to talk or pressured during silences sometimes.. cause i always blame myself for silences..
Yeah same here silences meant death for me because in a silence within my mind I would reaffirm all the ways I am socially inept. Now I am challenged by silences, a smile breaks out inside of me. ''Haha they are probably finding this moment awkward, well...let's see what I can do here' and from that I make a game of it. It's actually fun trying to find something we can mutually talk about. Sometimes I even tease the other person I gain the confidence to say what I really want. "So... still have a crush on Paul?" Immediately there eyes light up as it's something they actually want to talk about whereas before it was generic questions looking for agreement.
 
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