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A journey of persistence.
A journey of determination.
A journey of acceptance.
This is how Civanni answered how EFT Tapping helped him significantly reduce his Social Anxiety.
Watch the full interview and gain insights and motivation that you too can overcome your Social Anxiety.
PS: If you want to watch Civanni’s Live YouTube Coaching Session, click the link here: https://youtu.be/57juUW419xg
Seb: Hi, this is Sebastiaan from Social Anxiety Solutions.
Welcome! I’m a former Social Anxiety Disorder sufferer and Social Confidence Coach.
I’ve been coaching people since 2009.
I’ve been involved in personal development for 19 years. I’m 36 now, do the math.
Today I’m interviewing Civanni, and he is actually also from the Netherlands.
We could do this in Dutch, but we’re going to lose a lot of our audience. So, we decided to do this in English anyway.
I spoke to Civanni maybe six months ago? Roughly? While I was in lockdown in the Philippines, he volunteered to do a live coaching session on YouTube that you can see somewhere near this video. If you’re listening to this on a podcast, you can go to my YouTube channel or look for the previous episode.
He reached out to me maybe a month ago saying things have been so much better, that he’s made a lot of progress, and so on and so forth.
And I said, “Well, would you be willing to share that in an interview to spread the good news?”
And he said, “Yes.”
So here we are.
First of all, I already said it earlier, but now as well. Thank you for sharing and for doing this – helping other people. The more people that start speaking about their transformation, the easier it is for other people to believe that they can make that transformation too. So, thank you. Good stuff1
How I do these interviews? Are like I have a bunch of questions. And I just run over these questions. And I’ll just ask to follow up questions from there.
But it’s a bit nice format to have a bit of structure to the interview.
There we go! All right.
Can you explain what your Social Anxiety experience was like before you found tapping and before we did our coaching session?
Civanni: First of all, thank you for having me. I’m really stoked to talk about it. I have just had an insight in the car. I was like, “Okay, I’m doing this podcast. How great is that? How wonderful?”
And I’m not suffering so severe anymore that I can talk about my problems and be authentic and express myself and actually help others with them.
Of course, I actually know how much suffering there is and how much shame there is around it, and how many people keep it inside yet because of all the emotions attached.
So, I’m saying I feel I still feel anxious. I still feel anxious during a call like this, but it doesn’t hold me back from doing it.
So, getting back to your question. Thank you for that.
How was my experience before? You mean, like, when I’m getting sick as I can remember until now?
Seb: No, like when you were in a social situation, what would you experience? What thoughts would you have? What feelings would you have? How did Social Anxiety affect your life? A bit like that?
Civanni: Well, it always affected me in a way that I was always thinking that I was not capable of having a social, proper conversation. I was lacking in communication skills. Obviously, my body was in fight or flight.
One of the things is my heart was always racing, and it was hard actually to listen to another person talking. And that’s why obviously my communication skills were a bit lacking. Because I was running, looking for places to run away or freeze, and just staying with my thoughts inside my body instead of giving 100% attention to the person I was communicating with.
Obviously, my body thought I was in danger. So, my heart is always racing. Maybe a bit of sweating, actually.
Of course, you’re anxious, not relaxed.
I am always looking around me instead of looking in the other person’s eye. And I feel my body was a bit shaking; I feel a lump in my throat. I feel like my throat was blocked. Like, actually, my throat chakra was blocked.
One of the biggest things was not able to listen to another person, always thinking about the next thing. How does this other person perceive me? How do I come across?
I’m always thinking about the words I’m saying, even if I went into a social conversation, or to a social event, or whatever. I was thinking about the next step.
And when I experienced the event, afterward for analyzing the event, beating myself up for it, judging myself for it, etc.
And, of course, this went on for so many years. I think it started from like, 15 or 16.
And when it started, I noticed that I always froze in situations where I didn’t feel safe. That’s where it started for me.
So, I thought I was shy. I just didn’t feel safe. Obviously, my body helped me, and it’s there to protect me from what I know now.
But back then, I didn’t feel safe. So, I froze because I could not escape. Because I was with friends and like it’s weird. And obviously, it’s one array. And I’m like, “I got Anxiety again. So, I’m going.”
Obviously, it didn’t work like that. So, I just froze. Obviously, the people I hang around with back then started attacking me. That was my threat. Or embarrassing me even though they saw that you were anxious or shy or whatever, you were the target and they obviously that keeps going on.
I was then too proud to leave that group or situation even though they were not my friends. You know, I was like, “Hey, I’m cool. I can handle this.”
But, when I go back home, I was overthinking. And I even remember lying on the bed, and my Anxiety went worse every day.
And I felt my body was not even able to sleep. And just thinking and thinking and analyzing and then thinking about the future: “How I’m going to act next time when I’m in the group?” or those kinds of things.
I created more Anxiety and repetitive negative experiences.
And that builds up and builds up and builds up and builds up, and eventually, I didn’t feel safe in any social situation. Until a few months ago, I found out that I actually had social Anxiety.
From all those years, I wasn’t even aware that it was (Social Anxiety).
I looked it up years ago, I was like, “Oh, no, this is not me. It’s probably something else.” I’m broken from experience in my life, and they hurt me so much. And I need to work so much on myself, I need to love myself, and there’s so much work to be done.
And I felt like there’s always work to be done. There was never an acceptance.
So obviously, the Anxiety got worse, of course, not accepting it in the first place.
And then, six months ago or so, I realized that it was Social Anxiety all this time.
And then I found out all about all the physiological reasons. And all the information. I was like, “Hey, hello, everything fell into place like ‘Aha!’ Of course, of course, of course, you felt like that, of course, your body didn’t feel safe, or your subconscious mind didn’t feel safe in a situation. So, it protected you back then.”
It all makes so much sense now, and of course, by accepting it and releasing that subconscious resistance now, it’s like, “yeah, okay, sometimes I feel anxiety, but it doesn’t hold me back.”
It doesn’t give me that extra layer of not accepting my emotions or feelings of anxiety and not identifying myself with it anymore.
I said, “Hey, it’s part of my system protecting me, but it’s not me.”
And I went throughout the whole journey before that and before the Anxiety. And it all fell into place now.
But all before that, accepting my feelings and emotions. I went through this whole journey of finding my true self and what’s behind that and not identifying my mind with my faults and thinking and creating the separation between myself and your emotions or problems or thoughts.
And it actually went to a more spiritual path, and I became more an observer and noticer of my feelings and the Anxiety and saw it as something that’s part of my system and protecting me.
But it’s not me. I’m not broken. There’s nothing wrong with me.
Seb: Prior to it, you already had some kind of mindfulness, and you already went on a particular path of self-development. But you weren’t aware that it was Social Anxiety yet.
Then about six months ago, you discovered its Social Anxiety. And then you started doing the other work, which we’ll get into in just a second. Right?
Civanni: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Seb: Got it. Cool. Well, my next question is kind of funny, because it’s this.
What were the things that you tried before? And what were your results?
Civanni: It’s a good question, Sebastiaan.
I tried heaps of things like mindfulness. I can say everything definitely works.
But if you don’t know what you’re working on, you’re not working on the root of your problem, instead of working on the surface layers.
And obviously, I experienced so many positives changes, like being more aware of my habits, thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc. A whole being by doing a mindfulness course of eight weeks.
I did that traveling, facing my fears.
I actually had a similar story as you had with the dating and approaching woman on the street. That is also a few.
I did one boot camp in a weekend (three days).
I went into Amsterdam, approached groups of women, individually in cafes, on a terrace. Just walked up alone. And that was horrible.
I felt super confident after doing it. My body could, like, and you can say that crept me off with a broom because I was so exhausted after that weekend.
But I felt great. I was like, “Yes, I can get rid of my problem. By facing my fears forcefully.”
But obviously, my Anxiety kicks back in after a week or so, like bugs over time.
So yeah, I was forcefully facing all my fears. Whatever I did more?
Obviously, I watch what I’m eating all this, all those things. Go into nature, grounding myself, mindfulness.
Is there more?
I did like different plant ceremonies, a lot of things too, but from the moment when I realized that the problem was the Social Anxiety. I was like, “Oh, now I can go to the root of the problem. Or at least I can go deeper inside. And then obviously, all the traumas, etc. revealed to me, and I can work and tap on that.” And obviously, it’s not done by just doing that.
But I was creating a more safe feeling in the moments where I normally felt anxious. But by saying, doing all that work that I did what I described, all the strings I did before, it helped. I made progress. But not really the progress that I’m making in the last six months also by doing the tapping and really addressing the problem.
Seb: I think that’s the main difference.
I did yoga this morning, 20 minutes, not an hour and a half. But I did yoga this morning. I meditated for 12 minutes, not super long.
But all of these practices, they help, they make you more resilient, they make you more self-aware. They make your body more relaxed. They do lots and lots of good things. And there’s science backing up all of that. So, it’s all great.
My experience as a coach and my personal experience is that the tapping when you apply it in the right way to Social Anxiety, that’s just a night and day compared to doing some meditation and some mindfulness and some yoga for your Social Anxiety.
I think, ideally, you do all of it. But don’t leave out, in my experience, the most important ingredient, the most effective ingredient. That’s the tapping in the right way.
Let’s talk a bit about that.
Civanni: Just want to add, I meditated for at least the last three to five years? And I do it daily, and sometimes twice a day. Did yoga and all that stuff. It definitely helps. It definitely helps.
And, of course, it calms your nervous system down, but it doesn’t address the root problem. I definitely recommend doing both, do it all.
Watching your whole lifestyle, how you’re living your life, like quitting your coffee.
And it’s all like if you drink eight coffee a day and do the tapping. It’s not going to make it easier.
Seb: That’s right.
Civanni: But the real actual change started when I addressed the root problem, so like, by doing it, tapping, and then in combination with everything is like, “Oh, I made so much more.”
Seb: And your progress probably goes a lot.
Seb: Because you’re already supporting your nervous system, but doing yoga and meditation so on, you’re creating a good atmosphere for transformation to take place.
So then, we had our session with my internet while in the Philippines, which was surprisingly good.
And then what do you remember of that?
Civanni: We were working on one specific trauma. I told you that I was anxious in group formations, or probably because I had a situation, a traumatic event that significantly increased my Anxiety, my social Anxiety.
Civanni: And was one big event I was embarrassed, made fun of, judged, criticized all at once, everything at the same time.
So, there were a lot of things involved with that event.
Seb: There was a turning point in your life when you were 15 or 16, when your Social Anxiety worsened significantly. Am I right in remembering that?
Civanni: That’s right. Yeah.
Seb: And so that experience that it was embarrassing, that was painful. That was (I forgot what it was). But that particular experience kick-started the Anxiety.
So it was the initial significant emotional experience from which things got worse. And so, that was a traumatic experience for you.
And since then, you’ve been reliving the feelings from that memory, over and over and over. Because people, circumstances, and events would trigger the feelings from that memory at age 15/16.
Because your brain had started in procedural memory, so that’s how it works.
We relive a lot of our traumatic experiences.
And for you, there was a very blatantly obvious, usually isn’t that way? Or I shouldn’t say usually. But often, it isn’t that way. For you, there was a blatantly obvious experience from which things got worse.
And so, we looked at that particular memory. And we address that.
And that’s a big part of what we did within that session.
We neutralized all of the emotions. We got rid of the meaning of what it meant about you and how you thought that you were now seen by other people and shifted that around.
And what has happened since? In terms of your own tapping? In terms of your results?
Civanni: Since our last call, as soon as that session. So, we worked specifically on Social Anxiety in group settings and feelings. I think I felt there are a few things around like felt embarrassed or made fun of.
Fear today to be criticized, or fear to be made fun of, etc.
So, I definitely feel much more at ease in those settings, just in general, actually, much more at ease than before I made heaps of progress.
I still feel that there are some small things to be addressed. And because it was such a big, big, traumatic event. Well, there were so many emotions and faulting involved.
We broke it down. I think, like maybe 70%. I still feel they’re so like 20 or 30%. left there that there’s something to work on, or because sometimes I’m not 100% socially free yet. I am getting really close.
I’m like on stage 1 to 10. And stage maybe 8?
Sometimes, I still feel anxious in some situations, specifically in groups and meeting new people. Still, there may be some fear of being rejected or criticized or whatever.
Seb: Okay. All right.
Thanks for sharing that. I think that you’re expressing that and that you can like, what you said earlier in the call.
So you’re maybe at level eight out of 10, in terms of your comfort now, but there’s still a bit to go.
But there’s no shame about that at least no shame that it’s obvious to me. It’s just the way this is just the way it is. And I’ve got this more thing to go. And it’s so much better.
In the beginning, I thought I should only interview people who’ve made the full transformation because otherwise people listening or watching. They’re like, “well, it only gets you so far.”, “Well, yeah, but from stage one to stage eight, that is a gigantic transformation.”
And also, we’re talking about six months. I just did one session, just that live session.
And aside from that, I like interviewing you when you’re not all the way there yet because, for some people, it’s too far outside of their reality to believe that they can get to a place where they have no anxiety anymore.
I mean, it’s possible. I don’t have any. Many of my clients don’t have anymore. But for some, it’s just too difficult to believe that.
And so, someone who is closer to that, but not completely there, it’s more believable to get to that place.
It’s what a marketing guy told me at least.
And I think it makes sense. So, he’s like, “you need to start interviewing people in different stages.”
Now, it’s even harder to get people on the call who are in the earlier stages, because they still have so much anxiety that they’re dealing with, and they’re still not really convinced that they can overcome it. So, it’s a bit harder, but it’s great.
Civanni: They probably have some hope. But they probably didn’t experience enough changes for it for themselves to actually believe that it’s a better ride.
I saw that myself. I saw so how I’m feeling like socially at ease. And how much energy do I actually have nowadays?
It’s incredible. And not boring. I go lay on the bed; I’m just I’m falling asleep straight away. Do you know what I mean?
From back then, I was feeling anxious and worrying about this, worrying that. And I’m very grateful for so much progress already.
And what have you done yourself since because we have not been in contact since we just did that one session six months ago? And what kind of personal tapping have you done? Have you done any tapping?
Civanni: I’m actually following a course from the tapping solution from Nick Ortner. It’s about personal finance, personal fulfillment, and financial abundance course.
So what I’m doing? It was like an eight-week course. And I’m working all about my limiting beliefs. It’s not specifically just around money. It’s all of course, about all childhood events, social influences, money beliefs, obviously.
But it’s a lot about personal fulfillment.
So, working on all my limiting beliefs, changing that around, and all this money as I can reach.
But I’m actually working a lot on that course. And besides that, basically doing tapping still every day, and sometimes just randomly, not like focused.
And I’m following your course now.
Seb: Cool. On a weekly basis. How many minutes of tapping would you do?
Civanni: Probably around at least two hours. But that’s pretty long actually. I’m pretty busy, I work a lot. But I tried to do it even a few minutes a day just to make it a habit.
Seb: I asked that question because I want to talk about some thoughts that people often have in their minds in terms of that.
One question often asked is “do I need to keep doing this tapping forever in order to manage my anxiety?”
But as long as your brain sees a threat, your brain will activate a fight-flight-freeze response, put your old system in survival mode, you will experience anxiety. That will happen every single time as long as there’s a threat.
But there’s only a certain amount of threats that your brain perceives. There might be 40, there might be 4, it just depends.
So, if you get rid of those 40, then there’s no activation of that fight flight freeze response anymore, and you’re anxiety-free, there’s no anxiety anymore.
That’s a gentle progression for people.
If you have 40 threats, and you get rid of 10 of them, that means that you get triggered a lot less.
I mean, not that much less, still pretty quite a bit, but less.
Get rid of a whole bunch more. And if you only have 10 triggers left. Now you get significantly less triggered. And eventually, you get to the point where it’s not there anymore. And that’s it!
Then you don’t like, “I don’t have to tap on social anxiety because that’s not a problem for me anymore.”
However, my mentor Dr. David Lake, Psychotherapist, 20 plus years of experience in tapping, 35 years as a psychotherapist, most qualified guy I know. And his best mate, Steve Wells, Psychologist – they talk about body toning, which means that you tap for a certain amount of time per day, ideally up to an hour (wait before you start freaking out). And because it’s like a workout for your energetic or emotional system.
So, most people, their stress level is this high, and they’re happy hormones are this low.
And when your stress is these high, negative thoughts come in, they glue to the stress, and they stick in your mind and just keep bothering, keep worried about, and so on.
When you start doing an hour of tapping a day, unfocused, so that can do when you’re watching Netflix when you’re watching a movie, you don’t have to focus on problems try to tap to get rid of them. That’s direct tapping.
This is indirect tapping, body toning. After a week of tapping, two weeks of tapping, three weeks of tapping in an hour a day, then this stress level comes down and your happy hormone comes up.
And now when negative thoughts come, they don’t bother you so much anymore. So, generally become a lot more relaxed.
So, when I was doing this big relief mission in the Philippines after super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda had hit and ravaged the Philippines, we were in the city where there were 8000 people who died.
All the houses, it just looked like a war zone. And we were working with the most traumatized people there.
Now, even if you’ve been doing that work a long time, you get to hear really, really horrible stories all day long.
So, as practitioners to protect ourselves as well, from not taking on the feelings of them, you hear about people losing their kids or losing their whole family. It’s very, very upsetting.
So, David and Steve are like, “make sure you do your hour of tapping because you keep yourself in a good place.”
So, there’s a lot of value in simply doing the tapping, and you can do 15 minutes, when you’re walking your dog, if you drive a car, you can tap in your fingers; whenever there’s a red light.
You don’t have to do it in one go, you can just add up to it. It’s just one of these practices, that kind of becomes a habit, you can link it to things that you’re habitually already doing anyway, like brushing your teeth, or taking a shower, or watching your favorite show on Netflix.
That’s why I asked that question.
So thank you. I think that that too, like the accumulation of a lot of tapping has helped also in your great results in your rapid progress.
Civanni: Thanks, man. It makes sense. Of course, like, I mean, you’re just telling your body like, normally you feel safe when you’re doing the tapping, right? It’s so clear through your brain or your system, like, “Hey, I tap”.
Normally, the tapping is something that makes you feel safe. Now. It’s like, hey, at that began, doesn’t even know what but it’s like, Hey, you say you say right, like probable stress or not even aware of maybe unconsciously, that it’s, and you’re probably tapping on it. And then it’s reducing your stress levels, without even focusing
Seb: Studies have shown that the tapping sends a little signal to the part of your brain called the amygdala, which regulates your hormones and it decreases the production of cortisol, your stress hormone, and increases the production of serotonin, your happy hormones.
And that creates a sense of calm.
So like going to the gym is great, that you mostly do for your body to also a little bit for, you know, the rest. This you mostly do for your emotions, which also a little bit affects the rest, it’s connected.
So great, great.
Just wanted to point that out.
Any other benefits that you’ve noticed that you can point out?
Civanni: The tapping? Or on the last session?
Civanni: Well, one of the greatest benefit things I believe, from the tapping is that it’s so easy to do. Even like knowing that you’re in a situation where you might feel anxious, of course with the acceptance part is the first key and like facing your subconscious resistance.
While knowing that if you experienced Social Anxiety in a social situation, you can tap and you can tap as you said, you can tap with your fingers.
As you can say, you can give the signal through your brain that you’re safe in that situation, knowing that normally without the tapping and now you have the tool.
So, when you’re anxious, you have a tool to calm your nervous system like, “Hey, okay, when it happens, I don’t have to panic. There’s nothing. And after one array, I don’t have to. It’s okay. When it happens, I’ve got a tool, I’ve accepted it. It’s there. It’s part of my system. I’ve got to work on it. And knowing that it’s going to give you progress.”
Knowing while having those situations, I’m happy actually that a situation comes up again, that means I can heal.
If it doesn’t come up. You need to find it again. If it comes up, he’s like, Hey, thank you for you know, for bringing it up.
That’s a place where you can heal, like, then you let it like because if you push it down again, that’s what of course what happens. Like, if you have energy psychology, you push it down again.
And then, it gets stuck. But now it’s like, “Hey, it’s here, bring it up, tap on it. Reduce it or get rid of it, like open your heart and let it flow through your body. Got that?”
That’s what I’d want to do in the first place. But you never people, like most of the people never do that obviously.
And by doing the tapping, is like, “Hey, it’s so easy to do.”
And it’s so many, like direct benefits of the obviously the one time some situations more than the other. But it’s just a really easy and effective tool to use. And I’m really happy and grateful that I found EFT tapping.
Seb: Me too.
That’s why spreading I’m news for a long time. Okay, awesome!
Well, thank you. I think we shared some good news.
Pretty quick. Time flies for 40 minutes.
I’d like to thank you for coming on and sharing some empowering truths to others and sharing your journey, your path. So really, really cool. Much appreciated!
Civanni: No worries, I’m really stoked to do this call with you and say, I’m also really grateful to be here.
And to that, you invited me for this call. And to do this. To share my experiences with others and hope it can benefit others from my story and my experiences and see that my progress; that it’s not a black and white thing from becoming socially anxious to associate ease. And it is a lot of small steps.
And even though you can be happy with that 60% or 80%, knowing that you’re almost there. And knowing that there is, you can overcome it, you can become free of your anxiety.
Seb: Exactly. Well said. I have nothing to add.
All right. Thank you. All right.
So, if you’re watching this, thank you for watching. Hope this inspired you. Spread the good news. And well, should we send you anywhere? No this is it.
Have a great one.
This is Sebastian from social Anxiety. solutions.com.
Bye for now.