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Old 10-05-2016, 04:46 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,015

With social anxiety you're dealing with your own negative anticipations perpetrated by insecurity. Typically, social anxiety has to do with insecurity's anticipation of being embarrassed. Because of the erosion self-confidence and lack of self-trust, you put yourself in a position of what we call self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e., you expect to be anxious, nervous, flushed, etc., and this anticipation causes you to have difficult, embarrassing social experiences. The goal is self acceptance, however as long as insecurity dominates, causing a lack of self-trust, then you will continue to struggle.

Social anxiety, as with any habit, eventually reshapes the brain. You can, through consistent, persistent effort over time actually "rewire" your brain. We call this neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to repattern itself. With anxiety, and social anxiety in particular, it's a matter of learning to live more "reactively." Rather than having to rehearse or anticipate what might happen, you must learn to "risk" being more spontaneously reactive (rather than neurotically proactive with worry and anticipation). Try to find situations where you feel relatively relaxed and safe, perhaps with a family member or close friend. Observe your interactions in these situations. Notice how (when you're relaxed) you just "react." We call that stimulus-response, i.e., someone says something (stimulus) and you simply respond. There's no self-monitoring (i.e., "How am I doing? Am I anxious?), you simply just respond spontaneously without regard to your performance. This is the ultimate goal in all social situations, i.e, the ability to react spontaneously without self scrutiny.

A good deal of social insecurity/anxiety begins with projections of insecurity, the "what ifs." Bottom line: you should always work to let go of congested, insecure thinking while becoming more reactive to life i.e., letting life unfold naturally and spontaneously. You do this when you begin to live in the present without trying to protect yourself by anticipating chaos that may or may not occur. It's all about letting go of control. Controlling life is insecurity's excuse for why you go on and on worrying and anticipating. Controlling life according to insecurity's projections is never the answer and always the problem.

Dr. Joe

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