“How to overcome social anxiety,” is something that I never thought I’d be able to answer, let alone conquer. Up until a few years ago, I had been dealing with crippling, humiliating and cringe-worthy social anxiety on a daily basis. I had become a punching bag; the self imposed sacrificial lamb of every social interaction. I was a nervous wreck and consistently inconsistent because I couldn’t keep up with the lies I had told, just to elevate my coolness and mask the utter uncool that my truth had become. I didn’t stand for anything because I had acquiesced to a lifetime subscription of the “trying but always failing,” self sabotage and attracting relationships, circumstances and situations that catered to the my fears.
Have you ever watched someone dance at a wedding and they’re so incredibly bad, you can’t even enjoy having a laugh as they gyrate around like a banshee in heat because you’re too embarrassed just WATCHING them? It literally hurts to watch it all go down. That person recreating some sort of asexual, “I-just-walked-into-a-spider-web” gyration around the dance floor, pretending to come across like they’re an extra in a Drake video but looking like they’re going through some kind of convulsatory “don’t-ever-have-sex-with-me” fit, was ME.
The only difference was that the dance floor was my everyday life.
To make matters worse, this was pre laser hair removal and I looked like an ape with braces who couldn’t fill out a training bra (still can’t). I hated the way I looked, but I also subconsciously convinced myself that I was decent enough to go after men and friends that always ended up highlighting the very attributes I tried to conceal with all my might.
I’d always hash and rehash every conversation, interaction, occasion and relationship I had. As I grew up and inevitably accumulated more abandonments, rejections, friendsh*ts, relationsh*ts and breakups (as we ALL do), it only got worse. Whenever I’d approach any social situation, I would start sweating profusely.
As if my mind wasn’t f*cking me hard enough, my body had to now chime in as well.
Years passed and it must have started to effect me on a hormonal level because my skin would get hot, red, and breakout – all while my armpits morphed into faucets and I tried to keep it all together. I would sweat if I was standing in the snow. It got so bad, I wouldn’t wear certain colors because of my sweating problem. I had no idea how to overcome social anxiety – anxiety that had now taken over my life.
Whenever I knew a certain social situation/event was approaching, I would disproportionately value the event and overly “prepare” every day leading up to it so I could really, this time, WOW everyone and prove them (& my low self esteem self), “wrong.” I would ultimately always FAIL/disappoint/breakout into a beard of zits the morning of, etc. I then began to rely on having to have a few drinks just to feel like I could carry a conversation with someone.
This ended up robbing me of ever having relationships with emotional intimacy because I was always “auditioning,” and never listening – to my gut or the other person.
Then one day, I got so sick of the bullsh*t that I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t take it any longer. I needed to know how to overcome social anxiety. It was stupid and it wasn’t good for my well being. I decided right then and there that I was done. Something needed to change, I just didn’t know what.
Today, I thankfully don’t need a drop of alcohol, 167351 deodorants in my purse, or any kind of pep talk to enter whatever social situation life throws at me. HOW?
Here’s what you need to know about how to overcome social anxiety:
+ This is what worked for me. I’ve decided to include everything from the emotional work I did to the lifestyle changes that I made. As always, check with your healthcare practitioner first and do what is best for YOU.
- Cut the obsession
The first step in learning how to overcome social anxiety is recognizing the unhealthy obsession that you’ve most likely acquired. I was depressed because I kept tying my worth to the validation and approval of others. And just like depression, social anxiety is nothing more than having an obsession with yourself. If you’re depressed, nervous and don’t know how to overcome social anxiety, it’s because you’re stuck in your own head and can’t identify thoughts outside of your “never-good-enough” self. You’re unable to recognize that there is a whole world around you, a world full of people who give more of a f*ck about how they’re coming across than they will ever care about identifying and uncovering your issues.
What gets people out of their own head? Someone that’s a head TURNER; someone that chooses to be a dynamic character in her OWN life because she realizes that this too shall pass and that interesting always trumps conventional beauty. Life is so incredibly short. If we’re lucky, within a matter of a few decades, everyone we know is either going to be ashes or 6 feet under. None of this will f*cking matter so be fearless, be kind, be unapologetic in your decision making, have your own back and don’t be scared of what anyone thinks. No one is going to be on their deathbed at the end of their life and wish that YOU would have been less of an awkward, sweaty and nervous wreck. They’re going to be thinking about their OWN life, their OWN regrets and their OWN legacy. As much as your low sense of self tries to convince you, you’re not on the forefront of everyone’s thoughts, actions and reactions. The best way to get out of your own head? LISTEN. When you stop focusing on how you appear and make the effort to truly invest in what the other person is saying/doing, you’ll feel the ease start to kick in and realize that most people are just as insecure about their image as you are. Put people at ease by providing an environment in which they feel safe to be vulnerable. Care about and genuinely invest in conversations with others. It’s such a rarity to find someone that can see (& communicate) this way and when you do… trust me when I say, you won’t see anything but a beautiful, irreplaceable soul who is able to see past themselves in a self(ie)-obsessed world.
- Do a gut check, literally. Then move.
After seeing an acupuncturist and a naturopath, I leaned how our brains are inextricably tied to our gastrointestinal tract. I found out that I had candida overgrowth in my stomach and because my intestinal flora was so off, I believe that it contributed to my social anxiety and obsessive compulsive thoughts/fears (+ the exzema and acne). According to this website, ” 90 to 95% of our serotonin, the key neurotransmitter responsible for regulating mood, is made in our gut. A deficiency in serotonin causes depression and in some anxiety — in fact, the majority of antidepressants work by blocking the brain’s serotonin receptors, freeing up more of the chemical to remain present in the brain. When the candida population grows too numerous, it creates a layer over the intestines, suppressing the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin… The key to treating mood imbalances is recognizing that most are actually rooted in your gut, not your brain. ” This lead me to do a candida cleanse (supervised by my naturopath), followed by adopting a candida diet (I talk more about it here). I can’t tell you what a difference this has made in my confidence, my health and my skin. I no longer sweat, obsess or feel that level of suffocating & hopeless, acne-inducing anxiety. Committing to moving everyday and doing yoga – both vinyasa and grief – has helped IMMENSELY as well. When you’re emotionally stagnant, move the body and the mind will always follow.
- Not giving a f*ck… in a cup
This supplement has saved my life. I’ve only taken 1/2 of a xanax one time before a dental procedure and not only is this more effective, it’s NATURAL. If you suffer from social anxiety, alcohol will ultimately always create immediate or delayed anxiety and dis-ease within the body. Not only is this NOT a toxin (without any gross hangover), it helps eliminate candida. If I REALLY want to chill out, I’ll mix it with some hot water and a chamomile tea bag. It’s sold in to-go packets too. Last time I was at a party, I mixed a packet of it with some water and digestive bitters in a wine glass. Everyone thought it was rosé lol. Bitters can be found in just about any bar in the world. They’re sometimes added to cocktails for flavor, but they do a lot more than add to the flavor profile – they’re good for you (just MAKE SURE that you only put 1-2 DROPS in as most bitters do contain alcohol. Alcohol is the best and most traditional way to preserve and optimally extract the active ingredients in the plant used to make bitters. 1-2 drops is less alcohol than you’d get when taking a regular dose of cough syrup). I take Natural Calm every day and I swear by it (I’m weird and like the unflavored one, but it comes in different flavors). You can learn more about it here.
- The story that you subscribe to
You want to know how to overcome social anxiety because you feel like there’s no way out. You’ve been through some painful things in the past that have now provided a fertile environment for you to feel crippling anxiety when you’re in social situations, but that’s not the reason you’re here today. The reason that you have a hard time figuring out how to overcome social anxiety is because of the story that you keep CHOOSING to subscribe to. As humans, we will always subconsciously emanate and adhere to our subscriptions. Be selective with yours and understand that no matter how high quality or beautiful the materials are, no house is going to last on a foundation of Jello. Make sure the foundation to your emotional house is solid before your start building and bragging about its beauty and capabilities (this will just add to your anxiety).
I’ve got some good stuff coming for you this weekend + a (huge!) giveaway coming soon 🙂
ciao for now,