"Social anxiety is another name for a trigger, but related to approval, in the form of thinking setting off a syndrome of anxiety, leading to some lower functioning all the way to a panic attack as the end result of the syndrome. Neither are necessary nor fixed in our lives."
JUST A HUMAN MECHANISM
It is highly probable that each of us feels some social anxiety. It would have evolved from the early days, as a protective device, where we must figure out whether a stranger is dangerous or fis friendly or at least not harming.
So the signal called anxiety just is a spur for alertness, which we can then choose how to react to - to get away or to stay.
As we develop what is called "emotional intelligence" we learn how to read probability indicators from others and we learn how to talk to ourselves and discriminate about the indicators and our perceptions - knowing that they, of course, could be wrong but are worthwhile paying attention to anyway.
And then we learn (or we don't) what is meaningful and what isn't and what is dangerous and what isn't. (Be sure to understand, know, and accept this, as it is an essential underpinning of life and happiness: It's Almost All Deminimus.)
If we fail to learn, and we keep the perception of a child, we will balloon up our fears and actually believe that illusions can harm us or that small, handleable things will have large, devasting results - just big misperceptions and false beliefs.
And then it triggers the anxiety syndrome, which is in it extreme a vast overreaction that is dysfunctional. (Note that a syndrome is a combination of parts, not just one thing. The key parts, of course, are thinking, which is the trigger, then thinking about the thinking, where there are emotional reactions as a result of the thinking - and not the actual event or circumstance. (See Cause And Effect - and wrong cause. See also The Causal Chain For Behaviors.)
Apply the Do The Opposites rule. Ask: "What is the opposite?".
For instance, one answer to what is opposite would be meditation, the opposite of a brain run amok. Another is to re-work one's beliefs related to those perceptions to say think the opposite - yes, that person might not approve of me, but that is about them also. I am safe either way. I have the power to live my life. And some people will like me and some won't. And I can learn the tools to have more of them like me, if I so choose. It is never anything implicit and fixed about me that causes me to be not liked; it is always something changeable and malleable.
Simply follow the path (in writings, etc.) of those who have gone before you and been successful in having minimal social anxiety.
Many people do not embrace these two highly effective strategies, instead looking for a miracle cure or short cut, where they almost always end up without success and thinking that there is no solution. Ironically, the solution is right in front of their eyes, but they dismiss it or think it is too hard. It is alot easier than continue to let a problem be such a predominant part of their live
THE DISCUSSION OF HOW IT CAME ABOUT IN OUR INDIVIDUAL LIVES
Whenever we are anxious, our body goes on readiness alert to fight the tiger or flee from the tiger. The blood flows to the necessary parts to do this, we hyperventilate to get plenty of oxygen for our power move, and unnecessary systems (such as our higher brain) are largely shut down. We get less smart and sometimes seem unable to think. And in this condition our Dumb and Dumber brains are overdosing us with danger statements (that we seem to believe!) to keep us fully in survival mode. But, of course, there is no tiger. It is just a bunch of made up stuff (beliefs) generated frantically and stupidly by the lower mind.
Early in childhood, we go through the stage of the fear of being evaluated or scrutinized by other people, as we feel totally powerless and dependent on others' approval in order to survive in this world. As one grows up, one learns that one is no longer powerless, so the fear diminishes or disappears. One learns to drop the viewpoint of being a child and to adopt the viewpoint of being a Rational, Nurturing Adult. (It is very easy to miss the importance of making this one decision. It is vital to your long term well-being.) This relates strongly to our self-esteem level and to our lack of confidence on being able to handle things (see Fearlessness also, to see the rationale behind that). This is a great use for the "Coping Card" approach, where you'd keep a copy with you and a copy in your Reminders Notebook.
(Read the other resources, below.)
THE COPING CARD
Here's an example of a possible checklist for a coping card you might use:
Before the potential triggering event:
Get plenty of rest, be well rested (so you are stronger and more resourceful).
Arrive (or go to a place that is close, so nobody disturbs you) at least 10
Do deep relaxation and deep breathing.
During the event:
Take deep breaths every chance you get during the event.
Say your coping statements over and over in your head. (My thoughts are not
real. There is no threat. I am safe and I'll simply do the best I can. I am self
sufficient and I do not need approval. I will simply be loving and open and
things will happen as they happen...I will do something nurturing after this for
myself. Or whatever resonates for you.)
Excuse yourself when you are noticing you are feeling anxious and/or
(Make up a good excuse, that does not have to be the truth: "I have a little
physical problem, so I may need to excuse myself suddenly, but I'll be
Go to restroom, breath into bag, do deep breathing.
After the event:
Do deep breathing
Say affirmations, aloud if possible, reading them, if need be.
Journal anything that your mind is saying and then replace it with a strong
positive statement. It is helpful to note when you first started having certain
thoughts, such as when the person did a particular action or said a particular
Affirmations would be similar to the ones you make up for Approval, Self-Esteem, and Power. They could look something like this, but make up your own list (or use this temporarily):
I am fine. This was merely my mind putting out false thoughts. I shall get better at not heeding those and for substituting good ones! [If the session went better than expected: All right! I did better than I thought! Good for me!] I am a good, kind person ever doing the best my awareness permits, ever growing in wisdom and love. I shall learn as much as I can from each experience, until I have the wisdom to handle this well. I have so many great things in life [look at your gratitude list], such as the universe's most powerful computer and the capability to take care of and nurture myself. I will now go do something that is good for me, during which I will feel nurtured. I am the one who is in total charge of my life. I can't control everything, but I can control what I can control - and create more than enough to have a wonderful life. [You'd space this out better for easy reading.]
REQUEST: Whenever you come up with something that you use and think is helpful, please email it to me! (Go to home page, see "email me" link on the right.
Overcoming Social Anxiety And Shyness, Gillian Butler - Using the effective cognitive behavior approach, this guide should help you to get rid of 80% or more of that type of anxiety, IF you practice it!
Some Books On Social Anxiety
The Shyness & Social Anxiety Workbook: Proven, Step-By-Step Techniques for Overcoming Your Fear [Paperback]
Martin M. Antony (Author), Richard P. Swinson (Author)
http://www.mindpub.com/pplfear.htm people-fear book
see whaat this site recs on books http://www.sound-mind.org/social-anxiety-disorder.html
Articles On People Who Have Recovered
http://shyandquiet.com/ he recovered