As an introvert, I have struggled with social anxiety my whole life. There are still times that I have a physical reaction when I walk into a function by myself and have to calm myself down.
For awhile, I suffered from panic attacks and even sudden feelings of paralysis when being called on, when going to social functions especially if I was walking into the function late, and people were already present. I had challenges speaking to people face to face, making eye contact, and of course public speaking.
I used to think I was weird, and that something was wrong with me because most of my friends were social butterflies and I was the quietest person in the room. I even remember hearing from others once they got to know me, that they thought I was a bitch and unapproachable upon first impression - which of course was not the case - I was just terrified!
I went as far as declaring I didn't need relationships at one point in my life because it was easier for me to be alone than to go through the process of meeting new people and making friends
After becoming an entrepreneur, and seeing how my social anxiety and shyness was hurting me, I decided to work towards changing my story.
I learned to cope using strategies I learned along the way, practicing daily and making it one of the most important things in my life.
Once I started focusing on it, my threshold increased tremendously so I got anxious less, I started connecting and allowed myself to seen, which led to more authenticity, led to more success, and eventually achieving my lifetime goal of speaking on a TEDx stage.
Anything is possible when you put your mind to it.
If this resonates with you in any way, then you'll enjoy today's video on Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness, where I share the things I personally did in order to move past it in my own life. You’ll learn what I did to get a handle on my own personal social anxiety.
Here are some of the tips I discuss in the video:
Call it what it is - Anxiety is just energy. It's a temporary experience and it is NOT who you are. This is probably the most important step. It is realizing to accept the experience as it is, and changing how WE feel about it - in essence changing how our own relationship to the anxiety and the situation itself. Once you can shift how you feel about it, you can reclaim your power from both the internal and external experience. You are timeless, unchangeable like the blue sky - with emotional storms, and clouds and sometimes rain. You are the Universe.
Mental Practice. Visualization is a powerful and scientifically proven tool that has been used by both the corporate and professional athletic world to get ahead. Visualization is so powerful because your brain doesn't know the difference between what you are imagining and real life. Your brain and body fires off as if you are truly having the experience! This is a game changer because you can put yourself in front of this situation over and over again and mentally practice as if it is really happening. You can learn new skills such as playing an instrument, or build on an existing skill. You can even build on an internal quality such as confidence or a personality trait - just by thinking and imagining alone. This results in a building of your confidence and trust that you handle it, allowing you to show up in real life as if you've done it a hundred times. And you can do it all from the comfort and safety of your home. Try experiencing the social situation from a place of confidence and security. How would it go? How would it feel?
Breathe. Breathing is a powerful way to connect to the present moment because it is always happening in the present. Breath is also happening via infinite intelligence - meaning, you don’t actually have to do anything to breathe, it is happening for you. This Connect to your senses - sight, sound and touch - to get you instantly grounded and back to the here and now, and out of your mind. Remember, the faster you can get back into the present moment, you will realize the impermanence of the situation and that there is nothing to be afraid of.
Meditate. Meditation is such a powerful tool. It not only keeps the anxiety at bay, it helps develop your self-awareness so that you can disengage yourself from automatic physical and emotional reactions that might trigger you. Start with 3 minutes a day and watch how your life transforms.
Create the Opportunity to Practice. You are the Creator of your reality. Your life is a perfect opportunity to practice. Start with small steps. Raise your hand next time you have the opportunity to speak up. Smile or say hello at a stranger when you see an opportunity. Speak to someone in line when you’re at the grocery store, or say thank you when someone holds the door for you. All it takes is a few words here and there, and you’ll see yourself getting more confident, more comfortable and less anxious.
Let me know how it goes and if you have any questions! Leave me comment!