I found this article in my email and I found it o be true about anxiety and people's perception and reality about anxiety. I hope you enjoy this article. Chris
The Three Steps to Dealing with Social Anxiety
At this point we established that trying to avoid or get rid of the feeling of social anxiety usually backfires. It leads to more social anxiety in the long run and you end up restricting your life and ridding it of all meaning and fun.
So here are three steps (backed up by decades of studies) that actually work:
STEP 1: ACCEPT YOUR ANXIETY
Social anxiety is not the enemy. It’s a feeling. A primal “warning” signal from your body to keep you from danger. Problem is, it was designed to keep you safe from wild animals and falling rocks, not strangers and pretty girls.
So when you notice anxiety coming up, together with all the negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations, sit with it. Don’t push it away, or change it in any way. Instead, let it be there, and really experience what it’s like to feel the fear.
Observe it like a curious scientist, without putting any judgment on it. You don’t have to like the fear, but you can learn to accept and embrace it as it is.
Notice where in your body you can feel it the most. What happens when you take a deep breath? When you hold eye contact with a stranger, does the fear get stronger? Stand up straight and lift your head up. What happens then?
Don’t try to change what you feel. Simply notice what happens. Instead of pushing the anxiety away, observe what’s going on. This trains your mind that anxiety in social situations is not something that needs to be avoided.
STEP 2: DO WHAT YOU DEEPLY CARE ABOUT
We usually feel the most vulnerable and the most anxious in the areas we value most in life.
I’ve never met a socially anxious person who didn’t care about having friends or connecting with people.
Instead of fighting anxiety, let anxiety be your guide towards what you care about most. There’s a good chance that situations where you get the most nervous, are the ones that matter most to you.
Being aware of this makes it easier to face your fears. One question we often ask our coaching clients is:
What are the things that are so important to you that you’re willing to feel anxious or nervous to experience them?
Think about it like this. When you are on your deathbed, do you want to look back on a life where you haven’t felt any anxiety, you never felt awkward, and you were always comfortable — but you also never really went all in, you missed out on parties, and never talked to the attractive stranger on your way home?
The other option is to look back on a life where you often felt nervous, anxious, and insecure — but it was a life filled with adventures, parties, random encounters with strangers, and deep connections.
So take a minute and really reflect on this:
What is so important to experience that you’re willing to feel a little anxious?
STEP 3: CONFRONT YOUR FEAR
This is the hardest part, but it’s also the most important one.
It might mean walking up to a pretty girl. It might mean talking to people you don’t know at a party. Or it might mean smiling at the cashier, asking your boss for a raise, or speaking up at a meeting.
There’s no easy way around it, and there are definitively no shortcuts. Be willing to feel the fear and do what matters most to you.
However, know that you don’t have to start with the scariest scenario. You can create a fear hierarchy, jotting down what scares you, and then start tackling the least scary item (e.g., saying “Hi” to a stranger) and working your way up to scarier tasks (e.g., asking a girl for her number).
The more often you face your fears, the better you’ll get at it.