Can You Overcome Social Anxiety?

Although seeking self-help is not likely to completely cure your social anxiety, it is definitely possible to reduce it significantly by knowing your fears, overcoming them and learning how to communicate effectively. If you have decided it is time to stop being negative, read on…

If you are able to recognise why you are anxious or worried and learn to feel more confident about your communication skills, you will come to find that you have less anxiety in social situations – and in general.

You may also find that your self-esteem and confidence begins to improve in the process and your outlook for your future improves.

“Take your journey to becoming an effective communicator one step at a time.”

One popular proven method used to help people overcome their anxiety problems is Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT).

REBT is a type of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps people to reject their fears and negative thoughts and replace them with rational thoughts and beliefs.

This can be done in sessions with a registered therapist or psychologist, or you can choose to do it by yourself in your own time by using free resources that can be widely readily found online.

To Identify Irrational Beliefs

Look For:

1) Demands (musts/absolute shoulds/oughts)

2) Awfulising / Catastrophising (It’s awful, terrible, horrible!)

3) Frustration Intolerance (I can’t stand it!)

4) Self-Downing, Other-Downing, or Life Downing (I’m bad or worthless, He/she is bad or worthless, or Life is not worthwhile)

To Change Irrational Beliefs

Ask Yourself:

Where is holding this belief getting me? Is it helpful or getting me into trouble?

Where is the evidence to support my irrational belief?

Is it really awful (as bad as it could be)? Can I really not stand it?

Am I really a totally bad person?

Is it logical? Does it follow from my preferences?

Use metaphorical disputation (e.g. metaphors, stories, humor)

To Think More Rationally

Strive For:

1) Flexible Preferences (e.g. I want to do well, but I don’t have to do so.)

2) Anti-Awfulizing (e.g. It may be bad or unfortunate, but it is not awful, and I can still enjoy some things.)

3) High Frustration Tolerance (e.g. I don’t like it, but I can stand it, and I can still enjoy many things.)

4) Self-Acceptance, Other-Acceptance, Life Acceptance (e.g. I can accept myself as a fallible human being.)

Functional/Healthy Negative Emotions include:

Disappointment

Healthy anger / annoyance

Remorse / regret

Sadness / Sorrow

Healthy concern for relationship / Healthy envy

Adaptive/Helpful Behaviors include:

Meeting friends or seeking support

Exercising

Assertive behaviors

 

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Reject Your Own Negative Self-Thoughts

Approval seeking behaviour

Peer pressure!

This is one of the most commonly recognised reasons for approval seeking behaviour.

Have you ever found yourself changing something about yourself in order to please somebody else?

Maybe you get insulted when someone does not agree with you or disagrees with something you do or say?

You do not need anyone else to tell you how nice, talented or good-looking you are. Nobody else has any say on what you do or how you act.

“You own your own self.”

Focus on what you know you can do well and try not to allow yourself to become concerned about what others think.

Approval seeking behaviour comes with many negative consequences, such as not achieving your best or performing to your full potential. Avoiding doing things you want to, or not branching out of your comfort zone leads to a fear of failing or a fear of rejection.

These fears ultimately cause one to develop a very low self-esteem and confidence in oneself.

 

Fear of rejection

Low self-esteem is one of the root reasons for why people have a fear of rejection or failure and until self-esteem is raised, it will always be difficult to stop being negative.

The thoughts that one is not lovable or has little worth can eventually lead to depression and severe anxiety.

When someone rejects your advances to build a friendship or does not reciprocate your feelings or conversation, it can feel as if you have done something wrong or have come across as “weird” or unlikeable.

However, it is important to remember that although you may be exhibiting some signs of nervousness or awkwardness, the majority of rejections are actually because of the insecurities of the other person – not you.

Rejection is not always a bad thing though.

“When one door closes, another one opens.”

At the time of writing this post, there are 7.7 BILLION humans on this Earth!

A handful of people “rejecting” you or not reciprocating is really not the end of the world.

Don’t be afraid to move on if one communication is not moving in the direction you were initially hoping it would.

 

Insecurities with your physical appearance

As a teenager, I hated having frizzy, curly hair and always wanted sleek, straight hair like all of my friends.

Surprisingly, my friends would actually say the same thing about their hair.

As I grew older so did my self-esteem and confidence in myself. I learned to embrace the frizz and the beautiful natural curls. Everyone is unique and beautiful in his or her own way.

We should never compare ourselves to others.

Remember – STOP being negative about yourself! Comparisons in physical attributes can only end badly.

Are you prone to acne outbreaks or spots?

Sorry to sound blunt, but do something about it by changing your diet and drinking more water. Moisturise with skincare creams suitable for your type of skin. Speak to your doctor or a dermatologist if you are really concerned.

I can honestly say that I have never been speaking to someone and suddenly thought, “Oh, you’re really spotty!”

 

Don’t hate what you can’t change. Change what you can.

Struggling with your weight (and having low self-esteem because of this struggle) can cause serious confidence problems. You should seek information and support from your local doctor or a nutrition and exercise specialist if you are seriously concerned about either of these issues.

That said, even if you do have a problem with controlling your weight, there is still no reason for you to ever care what anyone else thinks. Who are they to judge you? 

If you are bigger built and carry more heaviness, remember that you have a beautiful curvy and cuddly body that millions of people look for in a potential partner.

Are you of a very slim build or do you struggle to gain weight? You should remember that you are probably seen as slender or toned by others and not as “skinny” or “bony”.

If someone actually does not want to talk to you just because of your weight, well…good riddance!

 

Low confidence in your own personality

Allowing yourself to feel self-pity and to be too critical of yourself is not a healthy habit to keep.

Stop being negative and start making changes.

Learning to understand your pain and worries can help you to see your positive points and stop focussing so much on the “not-so-positives” (we will not use the word “negative” here!)

Many people with low confidence and self-esteem think they are too boring or silly to make new friends and tend to become pessimists. I am sure you can think of lots of things that make you interesting, if you really put your mind to it and focus on your positive points.

“Everyone likes different things.”

If you say something silly or “put your foot in it”, counteract your statement with a witty comment or quickly change the subject onto something that interests the other person.

One person might think knitting or puzzles are boring, whilst another may think they are fun.

In fact, knitting was not so recently a HUGE fad in Hollywood!

HERE IS A TASK FOR YOU TO DO DURING THE FOLLOWING WEEKS…

List 5 positives about your personality and work on making them shine! Love these things about you and make it obvious to others that you do.”

 

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Featured photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash