I just got a newsletter from Dr. Richards' Social Anxiety Institute, this was the headline and I think it will resonate here. It's so easy to get lost in other people's problems and opinions that we can lose sight of our own path. Since it's free to sign up for the newsletter, I think it's fine to post it here.
Dr. Richards said:Please remember that getting better from social anxiety involves basic, repetitive solutions that gradually begin to work as you stay as rational as possible.
I received three letters this morning, with different types of anxiety problems, but I was reminded that the answers to all three people were basically the same.
1. Commit to spending thirty minutes a day with the cognitive therapy.
2. Put the solutions and strategies in the cognitive therapy gently into practice.
3. Stay as rational as possible.
If you are over thinking, overanalyzing, trying to figure things out, doubting yourself, and having racy thoughts, for example, you are not focused on getting better.
Our attention needs to be focused on the SOLUTION to our problems, never on the problem itself. Get back into the therapy, which is all solution-oriented. It pays to listen and re-listen to the rationale behind the strategies, and it is very important for you to spend that thirty minutes a day going over and over the solutions to social anxiety problems.
Take it easy, take it gently.... but work on it every day. Repetition is the only way the human brain learns anything new. Repeat, repeat, repeat the solutions .... and as you move forward in the therapy series, you will gently begin to use these solutions in real, everyday, practical situations to lessen the feelings of social anxiety.
We must move gently and rationally, but we must move forward a little bit each day.
You always know you are off-track if you start to:
criticize yourself or others,
feel ashamed or guilty
feel helpless and hopeless
When you do or feel these things, you are focusing on the problem...and not on the solution.
We must focus on the strategies that help us gradually get better. The more our attention is directed to specific solutions, the more we will remember to do them and use them. If you use an anti-anxiety strategy enough times, it literally changes the brain, and, of course, changes how you think, believe, and feel.
So please catch yourself when you get off-track, get back into the rational therapy, and calm yourself down so that you can continue making progress.
Getting better is not a difficult process. What people find difficult is the persistence that is involved... sticking with it until the neural pathway systems in your brain begin to change.
You can't learn to play the piano or the guitar without practice, practice, and more practice. The same is true of overcoming social anxiety.
If you move forward gently each day, use both the audio and written solutions, you will be addressing everything you need to get better.
Please stay on track. Do not let your old "automatic negative thoughts" pull you down.
If you stick with the solutions... you will get better. Overcoming social anxiety is not a difficult process so long as you focus directly on the solutions and spend the time every day to make sure your brain's thoughts, beliefs, actions, and emotions begin to change.
The day to start is today. Waiting only makes life worse.