With the following exercises you will have the tools to change your mindset over time. If you have social anxiety, you probably have one or more of the following mindsets/thought patterns:
- You perceive the value of the people around you higer than your own
- You think people have nothing better to do than think and talk about you
- You´re afraid of embarassment
- You have a problem with making mistakes
All of these mindsets will lead, over time, to negative emotions that will amplify those negative views about you and about your surroundings. What we will be doing with the following exercises is twofold: Clearing up your perception of the world (without turning it into some kind of disney phantasy, life still is tough) and building self confidence. So, lets get to it
Honesty to yourself and others is the prerequisite for making progress. In the past I was a person who liked to look away and not telling others how I really felt because it might be trouble. The problem with that is, that neither you nor the people around you really get to know you.
So, practicing honesty in your daily life is the first step to take. If you feel like you can´t talk to people honestly, start with journaling. Take a Notebook and a pen and ask yourself questions like:
- How do I want to be treated?
- What kind of things do I want to do in my life?
Come up with more specific questions depending on your life situation. It will give you more insight into yourself and with the next exercise also enough confidence, over time, to stand up for yourself.
Dealing with negativity
There are two types of negativity:
- Outside Negativity: Things you can´t necessarily control, sickness, death, etc.
- Internal Negativity: The way you handle things that happen on the outside internally
Even though I´m sure your ability to handle things on the outside will increase through the following methods, we won´t bother with exact descriptions of outside phenomenons, and purely look on how we can handle things better.
Daily Mindset Habits
These are habits you created over your lifespan that influenced you in a negative way. Lets say you made a mistake in front of other people, which thoughts are running through your head? Are you looking for an excuse? A way to run away from the situation? Or are you able to stay with it, maybe even laugh about it?
I started with the following habit about 2 years ago, and it helped me alot in overcoming fears of judgement and my inability to stay with things and go through hard times. I took this method from Jocko Willink, a former Navy Seal.
Everytime you make a mistake orhave the feeling of anxiousness, think or say the word „Good“ and just watch what happens to your emotions and your body. Are you getting more relaxed, or maybe your getting into a mindset of pushing through the situation your in? Both is better than becoming anxious or trying to run away, even though the second example can come with a burst of anger
A habit that I still have to work on, but I´m pretty sure can help just like Jockos Method. It works more with the anticipation of a situation then with it´s outcome, whichis the main difference to Jockos Method.
I got this method from Simon Sinek. In the following Video, he describes how exchanging the word nervous with the word excited can help to push through situations and why it works on a physical level.
A Exercise I like to do through Journaling is Thankfulness. Write down what your thankful in your life. It could be just the fact that you´re still alive, but also people who helped you, situations you had fun in, etc.
Exercise: Choose one day a week when you practice this exercise. You also could do it daily, but that was a bit too much in the beginning for me personally. But, at least do it once a week. You can do it through Journaling, or, if you´re religious, in a form of prayer.
Also, if you feel like it, you can practice being thankful for the hardships in your life. The mistakes you made, people who treated you badly, etc. This turns your view on this events around and actually gives you the opportunity to learn from them.
Another important point is how you´re using language. Meaning: How do you judge yourself and others? Are you able to look at a situation and judge it accordingly to the actions that were taken? Or are you judging in a hurtful manner?
Example: „I`m stupid!“ or „I did something stupid!“
In the first sentence I´m judging my whole being, I´m stupid, and I can´t really change that fact. In the second I´m judging the action I did, so there´s room for improvement.
Get used to judge in the way the second example does. This way you´re much more likely to keepa cool head. Also, try to judge other people the same way, this will keep your emotions in check, at least to a certain degree.
The last thing I want to mention are Afformations, an Invention from Noah St. John. These are questions you ask yourself to build positive thought patterns in yourself. Here are some examples:
- Why do I believe in myself?
- Why do I easily see my own worth and value?
- Why do I enjoy the presence of other people?
This is something I´m currently looking at. If you´re into Affirmations and stuff like it, give those questions a try.
Sources: Jocko Willink YouTube Channel