How to Ease Social Anxiety with Mindfulness

Опубликовал Admin
5-03-2021, 09:50
Mindfulness is a technique that helps bring your thoughts into the present moment. This technique is commonly used to help ease social anxiety. To use mindfulness to help with social anxiety, work on focusing your senses, being present in the moment, concentrating on your breathing, and practicing mindfulness even when not in social situations.

Becoming Mindful

  1. Focus on your senses. One mindfulness technique is placing yourself completely in the moment. You can do this by focusing on your senses. When you are in an uncomfortable situation, close your eyes or choose a spot to look at. Go through the five senses and focus on things you can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. This can help you reduce anxiety while you are around others.
    • For example, when you are feeling anxious, you can start by choosing three things that you can see around you, then three things you can touch. Next, focus on three things you can hear. Inhale and focus on a couple things you can smell, then see if you can taste anything.
    • You may need to intentionally do these things. Try sniffing something pleasant, like a flower or an essential oil, or putting a piece of hard candy in your mouth.
  2. Focus on the present. One key to mindfulness is to focus on the present instead of worrying about the past or the future. By doing this, you are able to let go of things in that past that are causing you anxiety and not feel anxious about the future. Keep in mind that the goal of mindfulness is to get your mind to slow down and to help you to focus on the present. This practice can help to reduce your anxious and racing thoughts.
    • For example, instead of worrying about what people are going to think about you later, or letting something that happened before ruin the moment, focus only on the present moment. Think about what the other person is saying, their facial expression, and where you are at the moment.
    • When you feel anxious about the past or future, stop and bring your thoughts back to the present. What are you doing in this moment? Look around. What worries are there now? The ones from the past and present are not important in this moment.
    • By focusing on the present, you're telling your body and mind that you are safe. Over time, this practice will actually help you build new pathways in your brain that make it easier to handle stress and anxiety in the moment.
  3. Focus your attention outward. To help ease social anxiety with mindfulness, pay attention to things around you instead of what’s going on inside your head. Mindfulness helps you acknowledge that the anxious thoughts are there, but have them like background noise as you focus on the present moment.
    • To do this, pull your thoughts to what’s going on around you instead of your thoughts. Focus your attention on the conversation and the people you are with. Be present and active in the moment, instead of dwelling in your mind with your anxious thoughts.
    • Come up with a word you can say to help redirect your thoughts when you go inward. For example, if you are having a conversation and start to have anxious thoughts, say “focus” or “be mindful” to help you move outward instead of inward.
    • Using visualization can also be an effective way to ease your anxiety. Try closing your eyes and imagining your are on a sandy beach walking barefoot as the waves crash on the shore, or imagine you are standing on a hilltop with a beautiful view in front of you and a gentle breeze blowing in your face.
  4. Be aware of your anxiety. One of keys to mindfulness is recognizing your anxiety. When you become aware of your anxiety, you can take measures to help prevent or decrease the anxiety. Start identifying the symptoms of your social anxiety so you will know when it is occurring.
    • You can look for symptoms, like shortness of breath or trembling, or you can recognize what types of situations give you social anxiety.
    • For example, if you are talking to a group, pay attention to your body and symptoms. If you start to notice any signs of anxiety, choose a mindfulness technique to help you deal with the anxiety.
  5. Blame the anxiety, not yourself. When you realize that your social anxiety is bad in a situation, take a mental step back. Remind yourself that your feelings of fear and discomfort come from the anxiety, not from yourself.
    • Although your anxiety may be causing your discomfort, remember that you are still in control of how you react to your feelings. You are responsible for anything you say or do as a result of your anxiety, which is why it is important to learn and use healthy coping techniques.
  6. Use mindfulness in a social situation. When you find yourself in the middle of a social situation, you should choose one of the mindfulness techniques. The one you choose may depend on the situation. A breathing technique may work in one situation while focusing on your senses may work in a different one.
    • For example, if you find a voice in the back of your head feeding your negative thoughts, focus on something in the room. Excuse yourself to the bathroom to do some breathing exercises. Tell yourself over and over "focus, focus" and bring yourself into the present.
    • You can also say something like, "I'm safe," or "I'm okay." Hearing the words out loud can actually help calm your nervous system.
    • You will probably need to practice mindfulness in social situations before you get the hang of it. Don't get frustrated if it's not a success the first time.

Focusing On Your Breathing

  1. Focus on your breath. One of the things to pay attention to with a mindfulness approach is your breath. Often, social anxiety causes irregularities with breathing. When you are in a social situation and you feel anxiety, take a moment to breathe. Pay attention to the way your breath goes in and out of your nostrils.
    • This is a mindful action because you need to pull your thoughts away from whatever you are worried about and instead focus on your breathing.
  2. Take deep, deliberate breaths. After you have focused your attention on your breaths and how the air is entering and exiting your lungs, you can breathe with intention. Take a slow inhale as you count to four. Hold for a count of four, then release as you count to four.
    • You can do this discreetly as you talk to others or participate in a group gathering. You can subtly inhale and exhale, and count to yourself.
    • Repeat this three times. If you need to continue, keep breathing until you feel more in control.
    • You may also count to ten as you breathe. Count each breath as one count. If you start to focus on something other than your breath, start over at one. This is okay and normal.
    • Try breathing in through your nose, paying attention to the way the air feels as it fills your belly and chest. Then, deliberately relax your tongue as you exhale through your mouth. That can trigger the parasympathetic part of your nervous system, which is responsible for rest and digestion.
    • Other types of breathing you might try include belly breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
  3. Try to avoid letting your mind wander. When you are focusing on your breath, your mind may wander. You may start thinking about your anxiety or something else. Part of the mindfulness technique is keeping your mind and thoughts on your breath instead of your anxiety. Whenever you start to drift, intentionally focus on your breath again.
    • For example, if you are counting breaths, you may start thinking about something else. This is common. Just redirect your thoughts to your breath again. This intentional process of controlling your thoughts helps to decrease anxiety.
    • If you need to do this in private, you can step away from the group or excuse yourself to the bathroom.
    • Keep in mind that it is normal and okay for your mind to wander. When this happens, just return your attention back to the present moment and focus on your breathing.

Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Incorporate mindfulness into your day. You shouldn’t wait to use mindfulness when you get anxious in a social situation. Instead, you should use mindfulness in your daily life. Set aside 10 minutes in your daily routine for some times of mindfulness exercise.
    • For example, you may use 10 minutes to meditate or perform breathing exercises.
  2. Eliminate all distractions. When you are going through your mindfulness exercises, you should get rid of anything that can distract you. This includes cell phones, computers and tablets, television, and radio.
    • Try arranging a room or an area of your bedroom in a pleasing way and use it as a "time out" area. Try to make this room or area into a sanctuary for yourself. Place pleasing materials, objects and scents in the space to incorporate all of your senses. For example, you could place a soft blanket in the area, warm the space with a small heater, place a small dish of your favorite candies in the area, keep a scented candle nearby, and play some soft soothing music.
    • Tell your family or roommates not to disturb you for the next 10 minutes or so.
  3. Meditate. Mindfulness meditation is a technique that can help you get out of your head and practice mindfulness. Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety in people. With mindfulness meditation, you can take a step back from your thoughts and look at them without any judgment.
    • Close your eyes. As you notice your thoughts and feelings, watch them go through your head in a neutral manner. Don’t judge them, agree with them, or even react to them. Just acknowledge that they exist.
    • Next, pay attention to the way your body feels. Feel the sensations in your limbs and muscles. Pay attention to your breath as you inhale and exhale. Focus on your senses.
    • In addition to meditation, you might also incorporate restorative yoga to help control your anxiety.
Users of Guests are not allowed to comment this publication.