how to get over social anxiety
Photo: Karen_OD, Flickr

Yesterday was quite the overwhelming day for me.

It’s funny since I’ve eliminated social anxiety from my life, you’d think that my life is all roses and sugary treats.

But it just ain’t so.

We’re all human beings that struggle and resist and have our pain points at various times in our lives, and want to be happy.

While getting over social anxiety is certainly a blessing and has expanded my life and well-being greatly now that I have social confidence I’d always desired, dealing with overwhelm and “performance anxiety” especially when it comes to building a coaching business has been extremely challenging for me.

It’s exhausting at times because while I know exactly what to do to help some people overcome their social anxiety, getting them to know about the work that I do, and having them commit to the process isn’t so easy.

It pains me when I want nothing more than to help someone dissolve their social anxiety, and I wish there was a cookie cutter formula – but we human beings just don’t work that way.

Yesterday was one of those days where I was freaking out, caught in my negative thinking and feeling completely overwhelmed by the tasks I have on my plate in the next several weeks.

Not to mention keeping up with posting here on the Social Expression blog to help you guys learn and grow and get over this social anxiety problem you have.

So what did I do to handle this? One step a time that’s how. That’s all you need to do, do your best with trying one step at a time. (These steps below apply to social anxiety suffering as well).

Simple Steps to Handle Your Social Anxiety, Now

1) Label Your Negative Mind

Sometimes it really is as simple as realizing you are caught in the whirlwind of negative thinking and simply saying to yourself “negative mind” or “negative thinking” in a very neutral, non-judgmental way.

It’s labeling the barriers as they arise, which is why I love the practice of mindfulness and non-judgmental awareness as it becomes just a simple sometimes as labeling your mind as negative to free up from it.

It’s also scientifically backed with research to prove how effective it is at alleviating emotional suffering, including social anxiety.

2) Open Up & Speak Your Truth

I was overwhelmed yesterday that I just couldn’t do any work. So I had a talk with my father, really opening up and eventually venting about all that I have to do and I didn’t want to do.

Note that I rarely vent like this, and sometimes try to hide my discomfort because I want everything to work out. But once in a while I think it’s OK.

If venting turns into a habit, it becomes out-and-out complaining, so I’m not advocating complaining as a habit. But as I’ve let go of my perfectionist tendencies more; though they’re still there as I tend to push myself hard sometimes, even still.

But once in a while, a good venting is sometimes needed, and speaking the truth about how you feel can be amazingly cathartic, especially if we’re denying how we feel. We just don’t want to get into the habit of it.

3) Be With What You Feel

Though there are many techniques and methods that can help you figure out how to get over social anxiety and make a ton of progress, sometimes you can try one thing after another, and nothing seems to work.

It’s as if there’s nothing you can do in that moment. This is why I advocate non-resistance to whatever you are feeling, because fully feeling the anxiety, depression or whatever negative emotional state you are in can actually FEEL GOOD (strange but true); and often the negative feeling will dissolve away naturally.

It doesn’t mean to buy into the thoughts however (see the 4th point below).

Typically when we’re feeling a negative state, we’re caught up in the state so much, and buying into the story (see below) that we’re over attached to the emotional state. Being with what you feel, isn’t this.

It’s one of those very counterintuitive things and hard at first, but with more mindfulness work it gets to be easier and easier.

Even though resistance is natural, we do our best not to resist.

Then when all we can do is resist our negative feelings, we can be with what we feel, authentically, right then, right there. Though there’s no guarantee, it’s likely that the negativity will disappear.

4) Don’t Buy Into Your Social Anxiety Story

Though yesterday my story was the “overwhelm story” the same applies to social anxiety. I wanted to have everything done right now, and felt paralyzed in doing one single thing, and I bought into the overwhelm story.

But I’m just one guy, and can only do one thing at a time. Identifying this as a story, and one I’m having a hard time letting go of, is an important step to expand and grow beyond this story.

The same goes for the social anxiety story you’ve been living from. Remember that’s it just one form of reality and that doesn’t have to be lived forever, or even much longer if you start working on it consistently.

Dealing with Resistance

Resistance will happen, because our minds and bodies are often resistant to change…the system wants to remain homeostatic and unchanging.

SO that’s why when you come along and challenge your irrational beliefs about being afraid of people and social situations, your system naturally pushes back.

So continuously realizing that you have a social anxiety story, without beating up yourself for having had it up until now, can be an amazing tool to shifting into the life that you want, free of social anxiety dominance.

If you want to figure how to get over social anxiety and make rapid progress in doing so, you can sign up for the Dissolve Social Anxiety Home-Recovery Program.

It’s some of the best stuff out there I’m confident to say with the feedback I’m getting from current students and the progress they’re making in doing the program.

Negative emotional resistance is resistance, plain and simple whether social anxiety, overwhelm, public speaking or any other situation we want to add into the mix.