In this post, I share how to loosen the grip of your social anxiety problem, with a tap along exercise.
I share a key tool to get you on your way towards confidence in all social situations.
Here are some things you’ll learn:
Carl Jung said, “What you resist, persists.” So stop resisting your social anxiety and try something new. You can shift around your feelings about it to work towards eliminating it permanently.
Sebastiaan: Ladies and gentlemen, this is Sebastiaan from socialanxietysolutions.com. I’m a former social anxiety sufferer and I help people with social anxiety feel calm and relaxed in social situations, so they can connect, have a good time and criticize, find social life.
Now for the people that already know what I do, this video will be a tap along, an EFT tap along. And so, if this is your first video and you have no idea what I just said, I’ll be guiding you through an exercise that’s going to help you release some of your social anxiety or at least you’re gonna feel a bit better about your situation.
So, I mentioned EFT. What is that, EFT? EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. It is a psychological form of acupuncture but instead of using needles you tap with the tips of your fingers at a specific acupressure points in the body. It looks really weird because you’re doing actually this. But this is a technique that I used to overcome my own social anxiety and I’ve helped hundreds of people in the past 8 plus years. It’s been on Dr. Oz, Psychology Today, more than 100 peer reviews but peer reviewed studies that have been published of its efficacy. If you say it like that. If you say that like that. And it’s just amazing.
What it does is it releases excessive negative emotions and it brings you back into the present moment because these negative emotions that you experience from day to day that are excessive are actually not your here-and-now emotions. But in those moments, you’re reliving feelings from way back when. So, all of a sudden you feel like you felt when you were 7-year-old when your dad yelled at you and you know, you feel that insecurity and that shame and an embarrassment and like you’re… like you’re worthless. Or all of a sudden you’re fine and before you know it you feel ashamed because this person and this situation reminds you of that time when you were 14, when you were humiliated because you know, you showed up in school and you wear weird pens that someone make fun of you and you know, they laughed at you pointing with their fingers at you. And now you blushed. And you know, you’re reliving those feelings. So, what the tapping does is it releases those excess feelings so that you can feel present and being here in the now. And that’s what we’re gonna do today in this video.
So, what are we going to focus on with this tapping because this tapping is a focusing tool. You focus on a particular… You focus on a particular issue you targeting the tapping, you focus on a target and that can be a memory, that can be a negative emotion, that can be a thing in the future like a negative fantasy that you’re afraid of, it can be a belief, it can be a thought, it can be a bodily sensation. And you focus on that particular thing and then you rate it on a scale of 0 to 10. So you might think of a particular memory and when you think about it, it upsets you at a scale of 8 out of 10. So, 10 is like, “It’s as emotionally upsetting as it could possibly be.” Zero is “I can’t even get upset with it if you pay me money”. Okay. So, you’re rated before, now you’ve got a target then we do… then you do the tapping and then you rate it again.
Now we’re going to be focusing on the following. So, a lot of people they have social anxiety and that’s not it. They have social anxiety and they have all sorts of feelings and emotions and judgments about themselves on top of it. So, I definitely had that myself though when I was suffering from social anxiety I did not know that I was that what I was dealing with was actually called social anxiety, I just knew that my heart would be racing and I had a lump in my throat and I couldn’t express myself and I you know, had freeze up and I really tried to pretend that everything was okay and that you know, keep quiet and you know, wait for the storm to pass. But yeah, I didn’t know that that was social anxiety, but I did know that I was very ashamed of having these feelings and I felt less than others because of it and you know, I judged myself to be a loser and that I was weak, and I was like, “Why am I dealing with this? I shouldn’t be dealing with this. Everyone else is just having a good time.” I was jealous of other people, you know, “Why is this happening?” And turns out these feelings are very common, you know.
I’ve been working with a ton of people who have locked close to 5,000 hours and people all say the same stuff, you know. Everyone is unique, and everyone has their unique way of how their social anxiety expresses itself. However, the stories are the you know, the symptoms are the same, the structure of how social anxieties put together is the same, patterns are very similar to beliefs are very similar, the avoidance patterns are very similar. So, you know, it becomes pretty predictable after a while. You know, if after a couple of years of coaching they don’t see the patterns, you’re pretty blind.
So, one of the patterns is “I have social anxiety”, right? So, when I’m in a social situation my heart is racing, I have a lump in my throat, this upset in my stomach or I’m starting to sweat and I’m starting to blush and I’m worrying about what they’re thinking and yeah, you know, I’m freezing up and you know, I’m ahead in deer-in-headlights and I just can’t be myself, you know. And I’m trying to make sure that I do everything right and I don’t do anything wrong and I’m trying to say phase and make sure that I survive this situation.
Like those are the symptoms, that’s the social anxiety but it doesn’t stop there, you know. So, let’s say that social anxiety is the problem for now. A lot more thoughts around that because it’s actually just a presenting problem. It’s just more of a symptom of a deeper underlying problem but it’s for a different video.
So, let’s say that social anxiety is a problem. Let’s say that this is the social anxiety. Then if that was it, then that would be it, right? Then you would get anxious and you know, the anxiety would come, and the anxiety would go, and your life would go on. But we have social anxiety and then we have feelings about it and then we have judgments about it.
So, I have social anxiety and I’m so ashamed that I have it. I shouldn’t have it. And I’m so frustrated that I’m dealing with this. Why am I dealing with this? It’s not fair. I’m pissed off. Pissed off at others that they don’t have it. I’m jealous at others, I’m angry at myself that I’m not overcoming it, why am I not overcoming it? I’m afraid that I’ll have it for the rest of my life.
You know, some people even feel guilty for having it and then there’s all these judgments, there’s something wrong with me that I have this and I’m weak and I’m a loser or pathetic and bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla, bla. And these feelings and judgments on top of the social anxiety lock the problem in its place and now it can’t move. And all the self-help, a personal development that you do is only going to be temporary because you’re not in acceptance of the actual problem that you’re dealing with which by the way is this thing that will be the problem. Again, different video.
So, what we want to do is something that actually goes against your logic. What we want to do is we want to bring acceptance of what we’re dealing with. We want to get to acceptance of what we’re dealing with. But you know, how can you accept the unacceptable?
Because social anxiety it’s such a limit to your life. How can you possibly accept that? Well, that’s where tapping comes in handy. And it’s actually quite a process to get you to acceptance and you know, this what we’re gonna do now is just a bit of a taster. But I’ll just give you the overall frame. So, there’s a social anxiety and there’s your feelings. You know, imagine that your social anxiety is like a circle and then around that circles is a bigger circle. And that bigger circle consists of non-acceptance. And that non-acceptance is made out of feelings and thoughts / judgments. And these thoughts or judgments are like, “I’m a loser because of it. I’m weak”. And the feelings are like, “I’m ashamed of it. I’m afraid I’ll never get rid” and so on. And that make up the non-acceptance. And that’s what locks the social anxiety in place.
So, what we’re gonna do is we’re going to do a bit of tapping on these feelings and judgments about the social anxiety. So, I’m just gonna guide you through an exercise. I’m just gonna be bit creative mention a couple of things that I commonly hear, and you know, I hope to shift your thoughts and feelings around a bit. Now I don’t expect that this is gonna resolve your social anxiety, but I do expect that it’s gonna help you feel a bit better. And that is typically all that is needed, required whatever… That’s all it takes in order to get you to be curious enough to start taking the next steps because they’re a whole bunch of more steps in order to get to this place where you are free of your anxiety, where you can just be yourself.
You know, if you have a person that you’re comfortable with, parents or a boyfriend or you know, a little kid or whoever. If you have that person you’re comfortable with, that’s who you really are. That’s who you want to be with everyone else. And that is attainable. That’s a healthy way of being. And that’s just being you. That’s truly being yourself. The only reason why you’re not that is because you have fears and beliefs that cause you to perceive other situations, other people, other circumstances, your brain perceives those situations as not safe. That triggers a fight flight freeze response and as a result you have these anxiety symptoms. But you can address that and get rid of it and you can actually be yourself.
But this step on acceptance what we’re doing right now, what we’re going to do right now is essential. It’s actually the first step after acknowledging and understanding the problem. And like I said this is just a taster but here we go. So, in case you do not know what EFT tapping is simply follow along. Okay? And do what I do and repeat what I say. Monkey-see monkey-do. It’s very easy but keep in mind you do not have to do this perfect. And I’ll get closer for all of you perfectionists. You do not have to do this perfectly. It’s a very forgiving technique and nothing really bad is gonna happen. Worst that can happen is that you don’t feel better. Or you know, that you maybe feel a bit more tuned in to your social anxiety. In which case you could just keep doing the tapping, it’ll calm you down. What the tapping does is it’s an emotional release technique. So, as long as you keep tapping, the emotions that come up for you, they will start to decrease and soften the memories. Long story but here we go.
Alright. So, I just want you to start tapping on the side of the hand. So, you get the base of pinky finger and the base of the wrist and you got this fleshy part. They call it the karate chop point in there in the tapping world. You just tap there continuously like I’m doing right now and just follow along with me and repeat after me out loud. – “Even though I’m dealing with social anxiety and I’m so ashamed of it and I think I shouldn’t have it and it’s so frustrating to deal with it, my life is so limited because of it and I feel sad about that. And even I’ll have all of these feelings about my social anxiety which actually makes it worse and that sucks, there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let go of these feelings. Maybe it’s not safe to let them go, maybe I just don’t want to accept my social anxiety and I don’t want to accept myself as long as I have this problem. Maybe I don’t deserve to let go of all of this. And maybe all these feelings about my anxiety are part of who I am, and I just don’t want to change. I don’t want to let go of these feelings and I don’t want to feel better for whatever reason, but I do want to try to accept myself a little bit more at some point perhaps.”
Excellent. Alright. Now tap on the top of your head and just repeat after me. – “This shitty social anxiety problem, it’s not fair that I’m dealing with it”. And you’re just tapping roughly where you think that I’m tapping, okay? Even if you tap a little bit off, you still get into benefit. Don’t worry about it just follow along on the side of the eyes. “This annoying social anxiety problem… Oh, yes, I’m so pissed off that I have it”. On the nose, “I should have gotten rid of it by now already”. Chin, “It’s my fault that I’m still dealing with it”. Collarbone, “It’s so frustrating”. Under the arms, “And I’m so ashamed of it”. Liver point, “Other people can see it”. On the wrist point, “And it’s so humiliating”.
Top of the head, “It’s so embarrassing. The fact that I’m dealing with this means that I’m a loser”. Side of the eyes, “That I’m pathetic.” Under the eyes, “That I’m weak.” Under the nose, “That others are better than me”. Chin, “And it makes me feel so insecure”. Collarbone, “I feel so stuck”. Under the arm, “I feel hopeless about being able to overcome this”. On the liver point, “And I’m so overwhelmed with this problem. This one… So difficult to deal with this”.
Top of the head, “And nobody understands me. I feel so alone in dealing with this”. Side of the eyes, “I feel so sad about that. Under the eyes, “I really want to connect with others, but I can’t”. On the mouth, “It’s sad that I miss out so much”. Chin, “I have so much potential, but I can’t live it”. Collarbone, “And I’m honoring all of these feelings.” Under the arms, “I don’t like feeling so upset but I do feel upset”. In the liver point, “And I’m allowing myself to feel that way”. On the wrist point, “I can handle these feelings”. On top of the head, “I’m observing myself having these feelings and I’m still safe right now at this moment. It does suck that I’m dealing with social anxiety.” Side of the eyes, “It’s true that I’m missing out”. Under the eyes, “But what if it doesn’t mean that I’m a loser?” On the nose, “But what if it doesn’t make me less than other people?” Chin, “Yes, it does.” Collarbone, “It makes me biggest loser in the world”. Under the arms, “There’s no bigger loser than me”. On the liver point, “If there would be an award for biggest loser, I’d win it”. And the wrist point, “I would smoke the competition.”
On top of the head, “It really, really sucks that I have this problem”. On the beginning of the eyebrows, “Well, what if it doesn’t define who I am?” Side of the eyes, “What if it’s a challenge that I’m dealing with?” Under the eyes, “My mind perceives danger in certain social situations”. Under the nose, “And it activates this built in response to danger”. Chin, “And that prepares my body to fight the run away or to hide from that danger”. Collarbone, “And those social anxiety symptoms that I experience”. Under the arms, “Racing hard, the mind blanking, the sweating, the dry mouth, the dilated people, the whatever you want to throw at this.” On the wrist point, “It’s just my system being in survival mode”.
Top of the head, “My system is accurately responding to the perception of threat.” The beginning of the eyebrows, “My system is actually working very well”. Side of the eyes, “There’s a perception of a threat, that’s the problem”. Under the eyes, “And that perception of a threat is the result of beliefs”. Under the nose, “Like there’s something wrong with me or people were mean, or nobody likes me”. Chin, “And I wasn’t born with beliefs like that”. Collarbone, “Which means I’ve learned them somewhere”. Under the arms, “I’ve picked them up somewhere”. Liver point, “I picked them up through repetitive negative experiences in early childhood”. Wrist point, “Through traumatic life experiences”.
On the top of the head, “And these beliefs are just thoughts that feel truth in it.” The beginning of the eyebrows, “Because I have emotional evidence to support these thoughts”. Side of the eyes, “And with this tapping I can address that”. Under the eyes, “So, I can actually step-by-step overcome this perception of a threat”. Under the nose, “So, I can work my way towards being comfortable everywhere”. Chin, “Not immediately”. Collarbone, “And it might take me a while”. Under the arms, “But I can do that step by step”. On the liver point, “And what if I started but being a bit more compassionate towards myself?” Wrist point, “I don’t deserve that”.
Top of the head, “I should be really hard on myself.” Beginning of the eyebrows, “It’s really helpful to beat myself up when I get anxious”. Side of the eyes, “Such a confidence booster”. Under the eyes, “Or maybe it’s not.” Under the nose, “I wonder what would happen if I took on a different strategy?” Chin, “Isn’t it enough that I’m dealing with the anxiety already?” Collarbone, “Perhaps I can try being a bit more compassionate with myself”. Under the arms, “Doesn’t mean that I don’t want to let go of the anxiety?” Liver point, “It just means that I recognize that I’m having a hard time that I could use some compassion.” Wrist point, “I’m dealing with a difficult problem”.
Top of the head, “But I’m not the problem. And I want to try to accept myself a bit more while I deal with this problem.” Deep breath.
Alright. Now, like I said this was just a taster. There’s more work to be done in order to get to the place of acceptance. And then from that place of acceptance you’re at a place of, “Okay. I’m dealing with this problem and it sucks that I’m dealing with this problem. I’m still gonna do something about it but hey, it is what it is, I’m at where I’m at right now and you know, I’m no longer resisting what I’m dealing with. I’m no longer trying to push it away. I’m aware this is the problem that I’m dealing with. I’m gonna do whatever it takes to deal with it.”