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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry for the long text, but here goes...The earlier parts are my experience and the end is just a question to you all.

Wow, I've recently been practicing speaking by recording myself speak, then listening to what I just said, and finally, at least for now, googling sites for voice clarity, projection, speaking from my chest, exercises to train the voice, etc., and it is great. It has only been a few days so far, but I feel that I have made quite a bit of progress. I used to feel unconfident about my voice and also had anxiety issues. My voice was very quiet and very weak, and I'm a guy, so I always felt conscious about it because it showed to others that I was unconfident and anxious. I used to feel irritated that I'd make it all nice and weak (and it stuck after doing it for so long) because I think I wanted approval from all and didn't want to be unagreeable. My face was also unexpressive when I talked, I talked fast and my lips barely moved, people had to listen a second time to hear me, and I always looked away. I still don't have it where I want it, but just speaking from deeper in your chest using your diaphragm, making eye contact for longer than before, and being more expressive/moving my mouth more when I talk has helped a lot. I feel that if for now I learn how to talk and behave in social interactions, it will eventually become second nature and I won't think about it anymore.

Today I was practicing, and when I feel anxiety coming on from just looking at myself in the mirror and talking, I notice that my voice starts to get weak, I start mumbling a little bit, turning red, and feel my heart pumping, basically going back to before. When I start to do this, my anxiety increases even more until I feel like crap and that I've failed, and everything is downhill from there. Then, I take a brief pause and start talking in more confident manner again, and for some reason, the mere act of talking confidently increases my confidence, and I'm fine again. To talk loudly and clearly, you have to stand up straight, move your mouth properly, etc, and that is just more body language to make yourself look confident.

Soon I'm going to get into conversation skills. For some reason, when I look at people, anxiety increases and my brain shuts off. I can't make real conversation with people. My first task is to talk to myself in the mirror, making eye contact and such. Surprisingly, this is difficult because my brain shuts off when I do this also, but I've practiced a little, and I've gotten better.

I think that I'm more of a doer, and want to solve my problem, and I think that if I take it piece by piece I'll solve it. I think that confidence in social interactions can be learned, and all I'm doing this for is to be confident in social interactions and not put forward a weak front. My eventual goal is still to be nice, good, and softhearted, but be confident enough to interact with others and do what I need to do to achieve my goals. Right now I'm at a point that I can't do much because I fear being judged in everything I do. Other people's imaginary comments always flood my mind and the anxiety caused by all of this really has a real rather than only perceived effect on my social interactions.

Anyone else tried this or anyone else want to try this with me? If you have problems that you think can be helped by this technique, I think that if we did this together, we would make a lot of progress.
 

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Hmm... My voice is one of the main sources of my SA - I mumble, slur and stammer a lot. I talk a lot to myself when I'm own (often loudly without a care in the world), but once I've got someone's eye contact, I speed up and mispronounce a lot of words. Good idea though.
 

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I'm doing the same thing at the moment ready. I'm trying to lower my voice and speak louder.
 

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I think developing your voice is a great idea. I would think it would add to the self confidence when speaking, although it could make you more aware and more critical of yourself. I don't know. I think I am going to try that, thanks for the idea. As far as conversations, I used to write down my conversations and many possible routes it could wander off into and just role play the conversation in my head. I was surprised at how many of my "role played" conversations actually became real conversations.
 

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That's a pretty cool idea. I'm very self conscious about my speaking voice, because I either come across as too quiet or too loud. Another factor is my accent, which makes me really insecure when I find myself to talking to people from out-of-town areas.
 

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I think I'm going to try this. I've already gotten a lot more comfortable with my voice in the last year or two because I've been not only talking to myself out loud when I'm alone, but also reading aloud when alone as well, which is something I always used to have problems doing. I'm insecure about my face, though, because I never know what expressions I'm making or even really think about it, and sometimes friends will make jokes about the way I look when I say something and not realize that it sort of hurts. So I'm going to give this mirror thing a try, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, today was the first time I got to practice with a small group (at first about 15 people) since starting to record myself. I definitely was still conscious about how I was talking, but I felt more confident about how I was saying it, so it was alright. I made an effort to talk clearly and loudly the way I practiced, and I made much better eye contact. I had feelings that I was talking weakly or that what I was saying was being judged as bad by others, but I sort of blocked them/dismissed them as stupid thoughts since I felt that what I was saying was good. I also need to work on figuring out when to talk when I'm in a group. I either interrupt others or just don't talk because I don't know when its my turn to talk. Unfortunately, due to this I left some things I wanted to say unsaid, but that's alright. Everything comes in its own time.

Later on when I was leaving I got confronted about parking in the wrong place, which is like one of my worst nightmares. I don't like being confronted by authority when I've done something wrong, and confrontation when I've done something wrong usually leads me to feel like I've done something horribly wrong, so I don't defend myself and give in completely. Surprisingly, I handled the situation well due to two things. First, I've been trying to realize that I'm a person that has worth like others, and should be respected and have his rights protected, and now that I'm getting older, I'm the one that has to protect myself and my immediate family and future family when I have one. Second, because of this thinking, I talked semi-confidently (was afraid on the inside...this time) in my confident but polite voice that I have been practicing and told honestly what happened and it wasn't a big deal...the guy let me go. Usually I'd just take whatever punishment given to me rather than clarifying the situation.

When I left, I got stressed out for a bit because the suppressed anxiety all came back at once, but then I congratulated myself for the good effort and good results and I relaxed.

It still isn't where I want it, but as long as I keep moving forward, I'm alright. You guys should keep posting your progress and difficulties too. I'd like to hear your experiences because I like to hear about progress other people are making and it gives me motivation too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think I'm going to try this. I've already gotten a lot more comfortable with my voice in the last year or two because I've been not only talking to myself out loud when I'm alone, but also reading aloud when alone as well, which is something I always used to have problems doing. I'm insecure about my face, though, because I never know what expressions I'm making or even really think about it, and sometimes friends will make jokes about the way I look when I say something and not realize that it sort of hurts. So I'm going to give this mirror thing a try, I think.
You can try a webcam with a microphone too...get the complete picture of how you look when you talk. You can see it, become comfortable with it because I'm sure it's not bad, and improve areas that you can improve for better communication. The mirror helps with eye contact, but you can't see yourself when you not looking at the mirror, even for a moment, so a camera would be good for the complete picture. Different things for different purposes.
That's a pretty cool idea. I'm very self conscious about my speaking voice, because I either come across as too quiet or too loud. Another factor is my accent, which makes me really insecure when I find myself to talking to people from out-of-town areas.
I'm glad you like the idea. Just to let you know, I think an accent is fine, it is something unique about you that you picked up from where you grew up. You should always be proud of your roots because they are a big contributor to who you are, which is definitely someone good. You had a unique experience that they did not have. It is your decision to work on your accent because you are the one living your life and can make your own rational decisions, but I just wanted to let you know that at least I think that there's no problem with it.
As far as conversations, I used to write down my conversations and many possible routes it could wander off into and just role play the conversation in my head. I was surprised at how many of my "role played" conversations actually became real conversations.
Cool. I'll give that a shot.
Hmm... My voice is one of the main sources of my SA - I mumble, slur and stammer a lot. I talk a lot to myself when I'm own (often loudly without a care in the world), but once I've got someone's eye contact, I speed up and mispronounce a lot of words. Good idea though.
Same here...I used to talk to myself, but I didn't really get the full effect of what I was doing until I started recording myself. For example, I realized that a small pause to catch myself before I stammer or mumble is not really a big deal in a conversation, and it helps.

I'm doing the same thing at the moment ready. I'm trying to lower my voice and speak louder.
Keep me posted.
 
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