Our guest author Caroline, who is a health and wellness blogger, enjoys helping others to improve and enhance their lives. She also loves teaching about how the mind works, keeping up to date with all the latest developments in psychology and mental health. Today she covers the topic of social anxiety.
For some people, it seems that social anxiety doesn’t even cross their radar. For others, it can be blatantly obvious. Why is this? Why do some people retract and freeze up in certain social situations? How is it others flourish and seem so comfortable in most social scenarios?
Through reviewing common anxiety stories, we can see there’s an underlying cause or reason for that nervousness and inner conflict to appear. Sometimes it doesn’t materialise in our lives until much later on; usually, it will stem back to one event where severe conditioning took place.
There are many ways to overcome social impotence; sometimes learning the root of where issues began is enough to force people out of their negative behavioural patterns. Other times people prefer to focus on the present, pushing through their fears through action and repetition until an experience becomes more familiar and comfortable.
Analyse Your Beliefs
What do you believe to be true about you? Is there a sense of unworthiness, shame or embarrassment? If so, then these feelings are causing you to be reserved and anxious in social situations. These beliefs will have been formed through environmental conditioning, which means at some point in your life someone will have convinced you to believe you aren’t any good. Through years of reinforcing beliefs, habits will have formed, and those can be hidden from your conscious mind.
This is seriously damaging, as your self-beliefs act like an automated adjustment system, which will activate and control your behaviour in any given scenario. Take a look at how you think and feel in social environments. If you feel unworthy at all, then you know your beliefs are restricting and controlling you.
Change Your Habits
You may be thinking this is all well and good, but how do you go about changing negative beliefs and habits? There are many methods, techniques and processes taught on this subject; however, one of the best approaches comes through common sense.
How were your beliefs and habits formed in the first place? Surely there was a technique in the initial creation of these behaviours that was very effective since it’s stuck with you all this time.
The habits you have now were formed through repetition of thinking and believing that you are a certain way. Firstly, your environment would have conditioned you and reinforced itself over and over until you finally believed it. Then you would have thought about it very often, which will have altered your behaviour and actions, thus forming your results in life.
Changing your beliefs and habits to become positive can be achieved using the same principles. It’s important to note that to create permanent change in an individual’s life, he or she needs to address and alter his or her core mental structure. Using affirmations that correlate with your circumstances, enforcing you to believe that you are comfortable and worthy in social situations, will change your mental structure over time.
Create an Affirmation
Empowering yourself to feel relaxed in a social environment will come through building awareness around your thoughts and learning to control and use them to your advantage. People often forget they own their minds, allowing them to be swayed and manipulated by a false negative sense of self.
Create an affirmation that resonates with your situation. Use it as often as possible, stating it aloud or internally. The more you use it, the more it will work away at altering your negative beliefs. Say your affirmation with confidence every morning when you wake and every night before you go to sleep. It may feel silly to begin with, but over time you will see the impact it has on your social skills.
An example of an affirmation for this situation could be, “I am so happy and grateful now that I am comfortable, confident and worthy in all social environments.” This type of affirmation will address an individual’s needs for feeling nurtured and accepted in any given social situation. However, it will only be effective if that individual programs his mind using repetition over time and believes he is the person stating himself to be.
Practice Socialising Using Technology
In the modern age we live in, most people use social media. Through interacting with friends and family members via networks such as Facebook, a new dimension of socialising has arisen that wasn’t around a decade ago.
For example, Facebook is a platform where people can see you through photos and videos, read your speech, and get a feel for the type of person you are without even meeting you. This is a scary thought for some, but if you can get past that hurdle, it’s a great place to begin developing your social skills. It’s worth mentioning that you should also use a Virtual Private Network to safeguard your experience so you can truly relax while utilising this practice.
Since you can operate from the privacy of your own home without real life distractions and obstacles in your way, you’ll experience less anxiety. You can develop relationships and break the ice before either meeting someone or a group of people for the first time. This helps dilute the seriousness or severity of those anxiety-induced feelings you’d usually get when socialising with other people.
Through understanding how your mind works and how you are conditioned environmentally, you can control your belief systems, habits and your results in life. Using repetition of positive empowering thoughts and statements, you can alter your mind’s programming and change the way you feel in a social situation.
Create an affirmation that works for you and your circumstances, and try to make it as personal as you can. These ideas can make it feel as though you’re putting yourself under the microscope, but is that such a bad thing? To change, we must learn to aim at how we want to become and gravitate toward that using methods that address our issues at their very core.
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Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).