Voices in our heads, the inner critic often attacks us with critical labels and embarrassing predictions, fostering social anxiety. “You can’t do it.” “You might get embarrassed.” “Don’t make a fool of yourself; just sit this one out.” “You are not good enough; everyone will see it.” In consequence, we often start the stress response. The stress response often shows as unpleasant bodily sensations like nausea, trembling, dizziness, heart palpitations, an urge to go to the toilet. In the wake of these, we often feel inhibited, and practice avoidance or safety behaviours, that impairs our social performance. Following from, how to quiet the inner critic and social anxiety, headlines crucial.
Social Anxiety Is Not Credible
Furthermore, social anxiety features as the fear that what we think is wrong with us, our perceived flaws, will be revealed to everyone. Though our perceived flaws feel so real, they are not credible. We are often unsure of our negative expectations. Our shortcomings may be true to an extent no one cares about. Since social anxiety is about concealment, it is less about fear and more about shame. Shame makes us want to hide. Social anxiety is a mismatch for, and not proportionate to the task at hand. The accompanying nervousness can extend for days or weeks leading up to an event.
Commenting upon, nervousness implies that there is something we don’t know, something uncertain. Uncertainty or doubt is the heart of anxiety. What is more, focusing on past lowlights, social situations that did not go well, frequently makes us interpret the neutral as positive. As a result, we amplify social anxiety. The same effect is created by hyper-focusing on stuff gone wrong, after an event.
Here Unfurls How To Quiet The Inner Critic And Social Anxiety
1. Verbalise Your Anxious Thoughts To Give It Form That Can Be Challenged
Anxiety is often vague, hazy enough that we can read just about anything into its predictions. Also, this vagueness shows up when anxiety is less of a fully formed thought and more of a bodily feeling, like a lurch in the stomach. This feeling feels like a fact. Since we feel inadequate, it must be true. To give form to this feeling, ask, “what will this lurch in the stomach say if it could talk?”
Following on, as we get specific, we can discover these. “Everyone will think I’m inadequate” turns to “my manager will hate this particular presentation.” “People will think I’m ugly” turns to “Mary and Lucy will be judgemental of my hair and outfit again.” As we specify our fear, we solidify it and recognize it for what it is. When we highlight the worst-case scenario, we prime ourselves to challenge it.
Declaw The Worst-case Scenario
Next, declaw the worst-case scenario, by decatastrophizing with a set of questions. How bad would that really be? Would any of the dreaded outcome be a disaster of epic proportions? Would anyone die? Would I be irreversibly damaged? What are the odds that every single person will judge me as an anxious freak because I’m sweaty? Does one mistake equate to getting fired? Clearly, as we decatastrophize, we quit seeing big consequences in small things, diminishing our anxiety.
Else, if your fear comes true, think of all the resources at your disposal, to deal with it; family, friends, inner strength, faith. Spell out how you will take action to cope.
2. Intentionally Shift From “I’m Not Good Enough” To “I Hold A Belief That I’m Not Good Enough.”
With this attitude, you can watch your anxious thoughts without getting tangled in them. From being absorbed in our anxious thoughts, to being aware of them, we realise that they are not reality. Feelings or thoughts are not reality or facts. It is freeing to discern that they are transient, not truth. Anxious expectations of failure does not equate to reality. How to quiet the inner critic and social anxiety hinges upon this.
3. Remember To Be Self-Compassionate
Whenever you notice something about yourself you don’t like or whenever something goes wrong in your life, saying this compassionate phrase or mantra can bring some relief. “This is a moment of suffering. Suffering is part of life. May I be kind to myself in this moment. Finally, may I give myself the compassion I need.” The mantra was popularised by Dr. Kristin Neff.
More, the phrase brings mindfulness to the fact that you are in pain. Also, it reminds you that suffering is part of life, that imperfection is part of the shared human condition. Hence, you don’t need to fight against the fact that things aren’t exactly as you want them to be. Another, it helps bring a sense of caring concern to your present situation. Lastly, it solidifies your intention to be self-compassionate, reminding you that you are worthy of compassionate care.
Self-compassion In Action
Forward with, when you feel in touch with a painful thought or feeling in your body, give yourself compassion. “I know this is really difficult, dear.” “I’m sorry you are in such a pain.” “l know you are scared.” You are not alone.” Everyone feels weird and awkward sometimes, especially in unfamiliar settings.” “It gets better from just showing up.” You’ve done hard things before.” “Though you are feeling nervous, you can do this.”
As well, mentally caress the spot where the painful feeling is lodged, as though caressing the head of a child crying. Reassure yourself. “All will be well.” Consistently practicing self-compassion can liberate us from a negative mindset. Shedding more light upon, self-compassion accommodates our inadequacies and failures, and provides a safe and caring place for them.
4. Ground Yourself In Your Senses To Anchor Yourself In The Here And Now
Here features an exercise that can pull us out of anxiety and ground us in reality. First, cast your eyes around and name five things you can see. Then, name four things you can hear; close upon, three things you can touch. Next, name two things you can smell; finally, one thing you can taste. Here, you can pay attention to how your mouth tastes. As we ground ourselves in our senses, we bring ourselves back to the present. In plain, being present lends foundation to ideas of how to quiet the inner critic and social anxiety.
Extra, if we are anticipating, this exercise draws us back from the future; ruminating, it gently shepherds us back from the past. Furthermore, the count down from five to one, and working our way through our senses, starts our brain keeping track. This interrupts our worry.
5. You Are Ready When You Are Uncomfortable
Oftentimes, we have to earn comfort through being uncomfortable numerous times. Frequently, we discover that when we get started, our confidence catches up. So, don’t put it off when you are feeling anxious. Don’t wait to feel ready before starting. Put action before motivation, and the feeling of confidence will eventually catch up. True bravery features as being afraid and doing it anyway. With this attitude, social anxiety becomes something that happens, not something you are. It becomes something you can bring along, not something that can bog or mire you down.
Forward, in the tough early stages, base your achievement on what you do, not how you feel. Prop up your accomplishments as a measure of your success. While anxious, you said, “hello.”
6. Build Up Your True Authentic Self By Playing A Role
Being left to our own devices can be overwhelming. In contrast, the structure of a role or task can be liberating. Onwards, limitless options are overwhelming, ratcheting up the discomfort, especially if we are trying to start from the scratch. Working with constraints makes things easier. Commenting upon, some direction, structure or goal, or a model to follow, improves our confidence and performance, even in social situations. A role or a goal takes away the guesswork, making it easier for us to know what to do.
For instance, assuming the role of entertainer helped Johnny Carson to feel more certain of his purpose and direction. Changing a social situation from unstructured, with ambiguous goals, roles and rules, to structured, with defined goals and roles, improves social performance in folks prone to social anxiety (Thompson Simon and Rapee Ron, 2002). Apparently, playing a role starts us apprenticing ourselves to concepts of how to quiet the inner critic and social anxiety.
Assuming Helpful Roles
In addition, structure can be big or small. It can last for moments or months. Illustrating with, at a wedding party, to create structure, you can assume the role of rounding up guests for photos or volunteer to ask attendees to sign the guest book. As well, at a networking event, you can assign yourself the task of introducing yourself to at least five people.
Noting with, when we choose roles to our liking and preference, not to please others or get their attention, we stimulate ourselves to good performance and fulfilment. We become more of our best selves. As we play a role we choose, we give ourselves some structure, and build up our real selves. By watching ourselves do things, we start believing that we could do them.
Plus, to play a role, look the part. Assume a confident, open posture. Feet apart. Arms akimbo. Fists on hips. Chin raised. Weight balanced equally on two legs. These body gestures affects our emotions positively. Also, looking confident makes others treat us with respect.
7. We Are Much Safer Than What Our Imagination Shows Us And We Can Handle It
When we hang in there, when we are brave for the few moments it takes to join the group at a party, lift our hands in class or sit beside that beautiful girl, the anxiety shoots up. However, if we stick with it, after it reaches the summit, it starts going down. Going over the summit of anxiety, instead of avoiding, draws to us a different lesson. We learn that the girl on the bench is polite, not a threat to avoid. Though you are uncomfortable, sitting there doesn’t kill you. We can handle this, even though what we blurt out doesn’t show as smooth and witty.
Good Of Repetition
Clearly, you are much safer than what your imagination and inner critic predicts. Even rejection is seldom as bad as we imagine it. More, repetition makes it easier for us to practice a difficult action that triggers anxiety. With every approach, it gets a little easier. We become less anxious and recover more quickly. The sweating and sizzling lasts for a shorter duration. As we choose our structure and play our roles, our confidence catches up. Our anxiety begins to ebb away.
Of note, though avoiding anxiety often dissipates it, it leaves us with not only a sense of relief but also the unfortunate confirmation that whatever we just avoided was really and truly a danger. Again, avoidance triggers the nagging feeling that we couldn’t have handled it anyway.
8. Ask Yourself What Would I Be Doing If I Faced Down My Fears, Not How Would I feel?
For instance, if I wasn’t anxious, I would be chatting with cute girls or speaking up more at office meetings. If I was confident, I would face rejection, hold my head high, and try again. As we make our goals concrete, we galvanise ourselves forward. Engaging our challenge list or goals, actions contradicting anxious feelings, helps us to become more authentic. Following on, we uncover our best selves as we actively practice ideas of how to quiet the inner critic and social anxiety.
Success Is Independent Of Outcome
Further with, start with things that scare you a little. Then, progress to harder stuff. We often feel far worse anticipating our challenges than actually completing them. Following on, when we consistently practice a difficult action, we garner some lessons that help us downgrade or eliminate the the worst-case scenario. Whether we get the raise, her number or not, it doesn’t matter. Noteworthy, the success of your task is independent of the outcome. The most important thing is that you did it. From challenge to challenge, we keep learning that consequences are never what they seem. We can handle it even if things go wrong.
9. Kick Your Safety Behaviours, The Things You’re Doing To Save Yourself
Safety behaviours headline as actions we take to conceal our perceived inadequacies. Chugging down a couple of drinks. Hovering on the edge of groups. Looking at the floor. Nevertheless, the things we are doing to save ourselves keep us mired in our fear and anxiety.
Moreover, indulging in safety behaviours fosters the sense that we are hiding. Though we feel like we are concealing our flaws, others can see us. Safety behaviours send an entirely different message opposite to what we are trying to accomplish. “I’m aloof.” Also, “I’m prickly.” As wee see our safety behaviours from others’ points of view, we become aware of the wrong message we are sending, and prime ourselves for change. When we kick our safety behaviours, and realise that we are safe without it, we significantly dim our anxiety. Dropping our safety behaviours makes us look less anxious and more authentic (Taylor and Alden, 2011).
10. Turn Your Attention Inside Out
When we shift from focusing inward on our internal commentary about our performance, to focusing outward on what is currently happening around us, we lessen our anxiety. We can focus on our interactant’s words, face or what is happening right here, right now. As well, we can focus on the task at hand. We can build up our task-focused muscle by first shifting our attention outward on something quiet and undemanding. Then, we can progress to face-to-face conversations. On this, it pays to focus on your message, not the delivery. Turn your attention to the task at hand, instead of running commentary on your performance or inner critic.
11. Remember That How You Feel Is Not How You Look
We often think that our internal state is visible to others, and will give us away. Anxiety frequently starts us forgetting that what goes on inside our bodies and brains is private. From our pounding hearts to racing thoughts, we think everyone can see through us. However, when we remind ourselves that our internal states are private, and not displayed on our faces, we straighten our spines, feel better, and perform better.
12. Accept That You Will Not Banish All Social Discomfort From Your Life
Though we may turn down the dial on our social discomfort, we may never banish those issues completely. This realisation takes away some of the control our anxiety have over us. To make peace with the fact that lulls happen sometimes in conversations, no matter how well we prepared, increases our willingness to talk to more people. We enjoy a kind of relief when we acknowledge that things can go contrary to expectations sometimes.
To be actively worried that we may come across as creepy, weird, awkward or idiotic, inhibits us from interacting meaningfully with others. This inhibition feels like we don’t have social skills. All in view, how to quiet the inner critic and social anxiety, admits ideas that help us to improve our social performance. These ideas promote rational thinking, mindfulness, autonomy, self-compassion.
Thompson, S., and Rapee, R. M. (2002). The effect of situational structure on the social performance of socially anxious and non-anxious participants. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry,33, 91–102.
Taylor, C. T., and Alden, L. E. (2011). To see ourselves as others see us: An experimental integration of the intra-and interpersonal consequences of self-protection in social anxiety disorder. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120, 129–41.