Today, I’m answering a viewer question about social anxiety. His psychologist told him to change the way he thinks.
Let me share my take on this and how you can stop the cycle of social anxiety.
Social anxiety is a complex, emotional problem. You might feel in control changing your thoughts in the comfort of your own home, but you can’t think your way out of it when your heart is about to beat out of your chest in the real world.
You can keep trying other things but return here when they don’t work!
If you are dedicated, persistent, and truly want to overcome your social anxiety problem, check out the full video and then get your social confidence starter kit here to start taking some FREE action.
Hello, my name is Sebastiaan van der Schrier. I’m a former social anxiety disorder sufferer and a social confidence coach and today I am answering a question. Alright, question.
Hi, Sebastiaan. I’d like to ask you if you could tell me what I should do about my problem. I’ve had social anxiety for three years and I’ve talked to a psychologist and she told me that I could only solve the problem by changing the way I think. But I can’t help myself. Every time I’m in front of a group of people or someone that I consider as important person, I get so nervous and my whole body starts shaking, which I’m most afraid of because when that happens, I feel so embarrassed. I tried so hard to change the way that I think in those situations, but I start shaking so much and my heart starts beating so fast that I get this feeling that it will jump out of my chest. Sorry for this long message, but I can’t describe it in just one sentence. Thank you for your work.
Yeah, let me answer that. First of all, my answer is probably not going to be what you want to hear. Well, maybe it will be. It depends on your perspective. So, first of all, some good news. What your psychologist told you, I don’t agree with. It’s helpful to change your thinking, but social anxiety is mostly an emotional problem. And I know sure, the thoughts that you think affect how you feel. When I think I can’t overcome my social anxiety, I feel hopeless. When I think I can overcome my social anxiety, I feel hopeful or maybe even optimistic. Sure, it’s helpful to be optimistic and challenge your thinking. That is all good.
But in my experience, that is not the solution to resolve in your social anxiety because your social anxiety is mostly an emotional problem. When you’re around people that you consider to be more important than you, you don’t feel safe to be yourself. And maybe when you’re around people that you deemed to be more important than you, you are worried about things that could go wrong because these more important people, they could do all sorts of things to you.
They might reject you or ridicule you, put you down, criticize you, make fun of you, disrespect you, humiliate you, hurt you, beat you up, whatever. There’re so many possible things that can go wrong.
The deeper underlying problem, or at least one of them is just this what you write about. Like, “Hey, I feel that other people were more important than me”. – Okay, why? That comes from somewhere. Yes, it might come from conditioning. By conditioning I mean like societal conditioning. Oh, that person has studied a lot and he now have a particular status as a teacher. So, I look up to him and therefore he’s more important than me and I now feel less important.
Or that person has a lot of money and society says that people with a lot of money are very important and therefore I feel less important. Or she’s really beautiful and I’m not that beautiful so when I’m around her, I feel less important. That’s societal conditioning, right? But that is also just something that you can shift and change around when you change your emotions and also change your thinking.
But when you have a particular belief like “I’m not important”, then it’s a lot harder to change that with just changing your thinking. Because okay, you go look for evidence for why you are important. All right, I do a good job. I’m a nice person. I have a good sense of humor, blah, blah, blah. You come up with all these reasons. You can kind of build yourself up into comforting your own home.
But then when you get into an actual social situation, then your conditioning shows up. And now the deeper held belief that you’re not important, that actually comes from early childhood, most likely, pretty much all cases, that now shows up. And that’s a belief. So that’s not just a thought, that’s a thought that has emotion connected to it. That’s why it’s so difficult to change with just challenging your thinking or just being more optimistic. For that you need to have ideally like an emotional release tool, like tapping for example, and then it’s relatively easy to address.
So that’s one. So, in those situations when you’re showing up and you’re seeing someone who was more important than you, not in real life. I mean, it’s not real, it’s just in your mind. But when your brain perceives that, it tells you, okay, this is risky, this is dangerous. You might get rejected, ridiculed, etc. And so, it fires off, it is built in response. It is automated response, the fight, flight, freeze response. So, this part of your brain called the amygdala releases cortisol, the stress hormone, adrenaline. These hormones get released into your bloodstream. Blood moves away from your digestive system into your outer limb so you can run as fast as possible or fight as hard as you can or freeze if you can do either. So, your whole system is put in survival mode.
Your heart rate starts to increase, your pupils dilate, so you can scan for the danger and your system is in the same kind of response as it is as it would be when you face a wild bear about to attack you. So that’s the anxiety experience that you’re describing. You’re trembling, you’re shaking. So that’s anxiety. Yeah, you can change your thoughts and that might be helpful, it might decrease it a little bit and it might be a bit helpful, but it’s not going to solve the problem.
So that’s one thing. And then here’s the part that you maybe you don’t like. There’s more to it than just this. Okay? So, you’re also feeling embarrassed about the fact that you’re getting anxious. All right? So that’s a meta-emotion. So now you’re feeling embarrassed about the suffering that you have that then perpetuates the cycle.
So, you get anxious, you’re embarrassed about it. Maybe you’re upset that you get embarrassed. And so, it’s a whole cycle that just keeps feeding on itself and it’s horrible. I feel for you, it’s a hard situation to be in and I’ve been there and it sucks. Hell, I know how much it sucks. That’s why I’m here talking to you because there are actually solutions. That’s the good news. The bad news is that a lot of people these days, they’re looking for a quick fix. – “Okay, just tell me. Okay, so you’re the guy that does this tapping thing, right? So, all right, tell me what to say and where to tap and I want to fix this problem”.
Yes, while it works the tapping and it’s very effective and it’s very efficient, it will still take some time, effort and dedication, persistence over a period of time to get rid of all of these beliefs that cause your brain to perceive danger.
Now, it’s not only that, because it’s not only that you believe that you’re less important in people, it’s also the embarrassment that you have about the fact that you have this problem. And there’s also resistance to letting go of this problem. It’s a lot more complex than you might think. And so, this tapping needs to apply it in the right way to all of these parts that make up the problem. And I say it’s a complex and it is, but anything that’s complex can be broken down into smaller parts.
And when you take something that’s complex, say there are 64 parts of it and you just do the first part of it, you just take one bit of it, well, that becomes easy. All in all, it’s a complex issue. But when you just do one part of it, well that’s easy. Now do the next part. Well, that’s easy. And the next and the next and next and the next. But people don’t want to hear that. They want to hear, okay, give me the quick fix. I want it to be easy. I want it to happen now. And that’s the problem that a lot of us are dealing with.
We give up if we do a little bit of tapping and we don’t get some instant results. Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Then stop doing it until you suffer enough and you’ll come back to it. That’s what happens for a lot of people.
What you want to do is you want to accept where you’re at. Accept yourself even though you’re having this problem actually, especially because you’re having this problem because it’s suffering. It’s such a painful thing to experience social anxiety and all the feelings on top of it.
It’s really hard. It’s really difficult. You can’t properly socialize. You’re missing out on things. You see other people have fun. You’re missing that connection. You feel exhausted after the socializing there. You’re limited in your potential. Your relationships are suffering. It is big time suffering. And so, what you need is compassion. What you need is acceptance for yourself. So, there’s work to be done in getting to that place. I cannot give you like, all right, first do this, then do that. Like here’s my 64-step plan in this five-minute video to you. That doesn’t work.
But I peach how to do this and if you’re willing to actually put in the work and start taking those first steps, then I suggest you sign up for my free newsletter because there I start at the beginning. I explain what the problem is. I tell parts of my story and as I’m telling parts of my story and what I did and what it didn’t work, I start to give you ideas and I start to give you specific ways of addressing the problem.
I give you the first steps and I give ideas and I introduced you to a free life coaching webinar that you can tap along with. So, it’s going to take some time to overcome this. That’s the bad news. But the really amazing news is that when you put in the work, you can get rid of this problem completely. That is the amazing news. And then you can feel at ease and you can be comfortable and then you feel relaxed and you can say whatever’s on your mind while you’re in a social situation. Then you look forward to spending time, Christmas time with family and friends. You are curious about new people and you’re eager to meet them and you enjoy, starting new hobbies or traveling. Whatever it is that you want, because you feel safe to be yourself. You have all of you available. That’s what you can get to.
Now, it might take you weeks, more likely longer. It might take you a few months. In some rare cases, might even take you a few years. But, when you start applying to tapping in the right way, and you do that every day, you’ll see results in a few days and likely in a couple of weeks you’ll notice a severe reduction in your social anxiety, more control, more ease. And then with persistence, more weeks or a couple of months, most people will get to this place where you just feel at ease, where there is no anxiety and that’s all that it is. No anxiety and just feeling relaxed, feeling safe, being at ease, being you. That’s it.
So, I hope this inspires you to actually take action and continuously take the right kind of action. Because that is going to lead to where you want to be. That’s going to lead you to where you want to go. So, it’s not going to be happening in one time tapping. But when you put in the work and you keep putting in the work, then every time you do some inner work efficient inner work, you’re chipping away at the problem. You’re chipping away at the problem. So, the problem is smaller and smaller.
So, your social anxiety gets smaller and smaller and smaller and your ability to be yourself increases. Your comfort yourself increases, your self-acceptance, increases, how you feel about yourself, improves. Your comfort around others, improves. Your ease, improves. Your ability to speak, your mind improves. All of that starts happening. But you got to get on a path. You’ve got to start it. You got to start doing this.
So, I hope that answers your question. I can’t go get into too many details because I cannot solve your whole issue like in a simple video like this. But, go to my newsletter and you can sign up there. So, go to – bit.ly/scstarterkit from Social Confidence Starter Kit. So, that’s bit.ly/scstarterkit
All right. I hope it’s been helpful. Subscribe here for videos like this every week. Make sure you hit the bell so you get a notification and I will wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year already. Social ease and relaxation in the new year and it’s Sebastiaan signing off. Talk to you soon. Bye for now.