5

votes

How do I hack my social anxiety?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created January 29, 2012 at 9:09 PM

I would go on Yahoo Answers, but a lot of those people are dumb. I trust paleo people because you think for yourselves and also realistically. Does anyone know what I could do to help fix my painful social anxiety? I wasn't like this when I was younger. For some reason I am now. Are there any REALISTIC books I can read? None of that magical bullcrap. I'm only 21 years old and not a bad looking dude... I just have issues I guess.

Thanks.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on August 02, 2012
at 04:53 PM

I mean bodily awareness, i.e. being aware of bodily states as a way of understanding how we feel and how we are reacting to the environment. For me, it is a part of mindfulness.

39d290f0fc2ca0d12006a9147b3584aa

(144)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:54 PM

You really mustn't take any notice of that comment, it was made in ignorance. Secondly, did you know you get back what you give out? Take a photograph of yourself doing what you think of as a smile. Chances are it's little more than a grimace, so try to improve on that . . . smiling for shy people is so hard . . . . but you will reap the rewards for people may be misinterpreting your shyness as unfriendliness. Ask questions . . . lots of them . . . listen and absorb the answers . . . focus more on others and you will become less self-aware.

22fd82abf435768244f8d074430cd1e6

(590)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:33 PM

This is a great answer.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:29 AM

^ its useful for anxiety and depression, but the reason why I suggest it, is because it affects this socially relaxed part of the brain. In combination with cultivating touch, empathy and relationships in general, it will build up your social ease.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:27 AM

Another thing is that the socially relaxed part of the brain is mostly reverse tolerant (one of the few parts that works like this). So the more you do it, the less anxious you are. Touch and empathy are particularly powerful. So cultivating human relationships, even caring for plants and pets can help you get back on track. A good mild herb to use, if you feel so inclined is albizzia, and it actually affects this part of the brain (mildly). Its in chinese medicine, and its known as the happiness tree.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 17, 2012
at 04:39 PM

What is kineasethetic awareness? Sounds like its related to touch?

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:50 PM

all the other aforementioned things. So I can do some lower-salicylate fruits and veggies ok, but some high-salicylate foods like strawberries, almonds (all nuts really are problematic except hazelnuts are proving ok), coconut oil, olive oil and so forth will really get me going. I am also very highly reactive to coffee and teas, which I assume is a combination of the high phenol content and possibly mold/histamine content.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Shawn, tons of stuff unfortunately. I have delayed IgG-mediated allergies to gluten, all forms of dairy and eggs (including yolks). I know that I am sensitive to mold, yeast and yeast-containing foods (which again, means dairy); histamine-containing and histamine-producing foods: spinach, tomatoes, chocolate, and in particular, anything fermented or too old (leftovers are problematic). Probably the worst things are the fermented foods - especially beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, vinegar. Finally I am sensitive to phenols and salicylates, but the upshot is that my tolerance is improved if I avoid

91882203467f64f68f25f58f1caeee68

(1017)

on June 08, 2012
at 10:34 PM

What did you end up being allergic to?

1fef7e7894cc07366bf31ea514d3fa2b

(552)

on February 01, 2012
at 01:09 PM

You are welcome!

296b837795beec2ea6bfe5598e773a7e

(354)

on January 31, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Thanks! This answer was perfect for where I am at the moment. I was thinking about starting meditation. I have always made fun of it, but I'm going to try it out! I am also taking action more than I have before. Thanks again!

9ac8a7b68cf079b22de42b703e466e64

(787)

on January 30, 2012
at 05:49 AM

read the question

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 30, 2012
at 03:36 AM

And re-read what I said about not judging yourself! I feel a negative implication to the "I have issues" statement; even if you do have "issues" - accepting yourself as you are is a big step in beginning to cultivate self confidence. Some people have tendencies toward certain states, that doesn't make you wrong or somehow damaged. That makes you unique, and guess what? Being unique makes you a hell of a lot more valuable than anyone that lacks self identity.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 30, 2012
at 01:54 AM

I think my reply to the other question applies here.

F2f559fe327007fd064a0f5bd79d6278

(156)

on January 30, 2012
at 01:37 AM

You might find Shyness by Philip Zimbardo helpful or at least interesting.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 30, 2012
at 01:33 AM

this I found true as well. Nothing made me feel awesome the way weightlifting did after I had a terrible day in college.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on January 30, 2012
at 12:57 AM

Also, another small one I thought of. Whenever you walk into any room, smile as big as you can. A smile says more about confidence than almost anything imo, and people respond to it. Practice at home and eventually it's second nature.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on January 30, 2012
at 12:56 AM

I think in the end this is true. Ultimately is all in your head, or did Inception teach you nothing?!!?!? Seriously though, this is where I'm at now, but ten years later. I think this is the ultimate goal, but it's a long road, and the opposite of what I meant about starting small :)

89a3eb9e05b04102f0a584e438a7da3e

(1136)

on January 30, 2012
at 12:00 AM

The best CBT anxiety book out there is the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Bourne. Tons of info, not too expensive via Amazon.

296b837795beec2ea6bfe5598e773a7e

(354)

on January 29, 2012
at 11:39 PM

I am a fan of this answer.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 29, 2012
at 11:12 PM

@Nance, I respectfully disagree. For me at least, dealing with anxiety and dealing with depression and other mood issues were related, but not the same. In this case, Bronson was asking in the other thread if paleo lifestyle would help. In this thread he's asking the paleo community to recommend resources. Are they related? Certainly, but not the exact same.

C7fa1bf712d466cf7e9f2a404d5f0e34

(40)

on January 29, 2012
at 10:55 PM

meditation for one www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22268968

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on January 29, 2012
at 09:39 PM

@Bronson, this is really the same question you asked at: http://paleohacks.com/questions/93612/will-going-paleo-help-stabilize-my-moods-and-hopefully-help-me-with-my-shyness#axzz1kscZreLn You should pick one and go with it.

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17 Answers

best answer

1
1fef7e7894cc07366bf31ea514d3fa2b

on January 31, 2012
at 08:05 PM

meditation + taking action (in small steps if necessary) but keep building on the momentum

296b837795beec2ea6bfe5598e773a7e

(354)

on January 31, 2012
at 10:33 PM

Thanks! This answer was perfect for where I am at the moment. I was thinking about starting meditation. I have always made fun of it, but I'm going to try it out! I am also taking action more than I have before. Thanks again!

1fef7e7894cc07366bf31ea514d3fa2b

(552)

on February 01, 2012
at 01:09 PM

You are welcome!

11
9759643ce5d97ab8fa649ae954656c4c

on January 29, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I???ve noticed through self observation that the times in my life when I???ve experienced the most social anxiety are the times I???m going through changes in my identity. Sometimes it helps just to recognize that you???re in a growth stage and embrace the cocoon. I hope it doesn???t sound too woo, but going inward and exploring what???s happening can give you a better sense of who you are and who you might be becoming. Social anxiety (for me) pops up when I???m feeling lost and disconnected from myself. I take notice when I suddenly feel awkward, nervous around people, or say the wrong things, and I try to honor that experience as a signal that I need to pull back and let myself finish a growth process. It doesn???t have to be forever if you acknowledge it and work with it. Use the reprieve to make yourself stronger and more sure of yourself. If you???re using your ???antisocial??? time to beat yourself up and admonish yourself for your perceived weaknesses, you might just turn it into a struggle that goes on and on. Everything is cyclical and sometimes we need a bit of darkness and solitude to mend. I wish you the best of luck.

296b837795beec2ea6bfe5598e773a7e

(354)

on January 29, 2012
at 11:39 PM

I am a fan of this answer.

22fd82abf435768244f8d074430cd1e6

(590)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:33 PM

This is a great answer.

5
56e59609362978a9dcb390fdeb45427f

on January 29, 2012
at 11:40 PM

For me personally, strength training did wonders for the bit of social anxiety I use to have. I really can't pinpoint why (maybe it has to due with hormones like testosterone and others) and maybe it's just the confidence you start to build while getting physically stronger and a bit bigger, but it was like a light switch when I started. I became much more at ease socially and much more outgoing. I think with guys specifically, strength training does wonders psychologically, as I'm sure it does with the ladies as well but I can't really speak on their behalf. If you don't train with weights yet I highly recommend the book Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 30, 2012
at 01:33 AM

this I found true as well. Nothing made me feel awesome the way weightlifting did after I had a terrible day in college.

5
5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on January 29, 2012
at 10:25 PM

I honestly think the trick is to start small. When I got to college I had terrible social anxiety and wouldn't leave my room. When I finally build up the courage to walk across campus I would turn and run back to my dorm, more disappointed than I had been before. I started to think of the smallest possible thing I could do, which for me was talking to people in supermarket lines. I would think of a line (something about one of the magazine covers in the checkout line, or something about how slow the cashier was etc. I would just look at the person in front of me or behind me, delver my line, and mind my business. They might start talking to you, they might ignore but worst case they don't and you never have to see them again. This helped me build my confidence in talking to other people and while it took a long time, I am not bothered by this at all anymore.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on January 30, 2012
at 12:57 AM

Also, another small one I thought of. Whenever you walk into any room, smile as big as you can. A smile says more about confidence than almost anything imo, and people respond to it. Practice at home and eventually it's second nature.

4
Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 29, 2012
at 11:10 PM

Personally, I found mindfulness meditation very helpful with this and related issues. On the subject, I recoomend Wherever You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He has a lot of great thoughts and exercises to try. When in social situations, it basically breaks down to focusing on what is going on, not what might be.

In my case, part of the process involved kinaesthetic awareness. Kabat-Zinn wrote a book relted to this, too, called Coming to Our Senses.

Hope this helps.

C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on July 17, 2012
at 04:39 PM

What is kineasethetic awareness? Sounds like its related to touch?

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on August 02, 2012
at 04:53 PM

I mean bodily awareness, i.e. being aware of bodily states as a way of understanding how we feel and how we are reacting to the environment. For me, it is a part of mindfulness.

4
70d6aacc9f525accd4ed15129c6e65af

(85)

on January 29, 2012
at 10:24 PM

Your best bet is to get some training utilizing CBT therapy. With social anxiety, you need to face your fears as walk through them logically-- CBT will help with that. If you are worried about the physical symptoms, a great book is " Hope and help for your nerves" by Dr Weekes. I highly recommend it. It helps address why your body reacts the way it does. God Bless

3
C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9

on January 30, 2012
at 01:51 AM

I don't know...I think many people walk around in kind of a self-centered haze. Really connecting with the other humans around us is kind of a rarity. I tend to embrace moments when I can see some vulnerability and humanity in other people and your social anxiety could be seen as a heightened awareness of yourself and your flaws. I think flaws are beautiful. Maybe you could practice loving yourself for the times you feel embarrassed and that might have the paradoxical effect of reducing the frequency? I feel soooo uncomfortable when I'm feeling shy and I start blushing, etc... until I remind myself to enjoy it. Who wants to experience the same emotions all the time anyway? I try to look at it like a mini rollercoaster ride. Anyway, I think can be hard to see self-conciousness as a positive trait when you're feeling it, but it kind of is. I consider it part of a normal day's experience of a normal range of emotions. Point is, if you stop focusing on it as a negative and accept it as a positive, it might not dominate so much.

Just a thought, hope it doesn't sound too hippy. I had terrible social anxiety for a long time, complete with rampant blushing and racing pulse, and some perspective changes helped. In part I've accepted I'm a little "different"? I kind of like that. P.S. really liked Lunabelle's answer.

2
069dfacfa022f9410e5158d7bbfdaa3f

on January 29, 2012
at 10:07 PM

Throughout my 20s i felt the same. I got involved in a variety of things to boost my confidence: furthered my education, did some adventurous outdoorsy stuff, got fitter, etc. I began to feel like i had something to offer. I met people with the same interests along the way. And here and there I have to "act" like i'm confident and most people see me that way so then i can coast a bit and the anxiety goes away. There is the odd situation where it is just not worth it to put myself through it. At 38 years old i realize there is no need to waste time trying to be someone else. In the end, do things that make you happy. Try and face the fears regularly in little doses and it all gets better.

1
39d290f0fc2ca0d12006a9147b3584aa

(144)

on July 17, 2012
at 05:54 PM

In my opinion this doesn't change with age as I know a couple (very well)

You need to find things you are good at - excel at them - build your confidence

Spend time with people who build you up, not knock you down

And so what if you're not a cocky jack-the-lad? Don't ever try to be. At least you won't ever be a full-on gobby sort with his head so far up his own .... he can't see how big his own head is. You sound a nice guy

1
911360e0ed2941b62fa6d233c5ad25b2

on July 17, 2012
at 04:00 PM

Am emmanuel 18yrs, i think i have social anxiety, i haven't been like this for years now, but now i feel very anxious. I do masturbate but not often, am so scared whenever i look at someones face, i also get this hot flashes at my back, what could be the cause?

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on January 30, 2012
at 01:28 AM

Try EFT.

It's been really powerful for my clients with anxiety.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:20 AM

One thing I discovered was body posture. Your body posture actually feeds back into your emotions. So actively relaxing your shoulders, arms, adopting the posture of a confident person can help. Its not a total solution because you need to also build self-confidence, but it does help.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:27 AM

Another thing is that the socially relaxed part of the brain is mostly reverse tolerant (one of the few parts that works like this). So the more you do it, the less anxious you are. Touch and empathy are particularly powerful. So cultivating human relationships, even caring for plants and pets can help you get back on track. A good mild herb to use, if you feel so inclined is albizzia, and it actually affects this part of the brain (mildly). Its in chinese medicine, and its known as the happiness tree.

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:29 AM

^ its useful for anxiety and depression, but the reason why I suggest it, is because it affects this socially relaxed part of the brain. In combination with cultivating touch, empathy and relationships in general, it will build up your social ease.

0
911360e0ed2941b62fa6d233c5ad25b2

on July 19, 2012
at 11:44 PM

Just lately my dad said am possessed evily, just of the way i easily get afraid of people, but he doesn't know its my social anxiety, he just mistook the whole thing...... First! what can i do? Secondly! What can i do to boost up my self esteem?.... Please i need answers

39d290f0fc2ca0d12006a9147b3584aa

(144)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:54 PM

You really mustn't take any notice of that comment, it was made in ignorance. Secondly, did you know you get back what you give out? Take a photograph of yourself doing what you think of as a smile. Chances are it's little more than a grimace, so try to improve on that . . . smiling for shy people is so hard . . . . but you will reap the rewards for people may be misinterpreting your shyness as unfriendliness. Ask questions . . . lots of them . . . listen and absorb the answers . . . focus more on others and you will become less self-aware.

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on July 17, 2012
at 05:07 PM

I know this is an old question, but recent events made me think of a possible answer. I'm house sitting for a friend, which means my schedule is off, and I noticed feelings of reclusiveness are much higher than usual. I am an introvert, but this weekend the urge to be alone became very strong. What if the primary problem isn't social, but the lack of a home? If there is no refuge, no downtime, no peace, no balance, etc... well, then why the hell would I want to go party? I don't want to party, I want to fix the problem, decompress, and then maybe later I might be amenable to a little company.

0
7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

on January 30, 2012
at 12:27 PM

Though this may appear to be my answer to everything lately, it may be because it's my answer to many of my own issues - you may want to look into food sensitivities. If you're allergic or intolerant of foods or classes of food chemicals, they can cause central nervous system stimulation and tachycardia (rapid heart rate). It also causes histamine release, which is a neurotransmitter implicated in anxious feelings. I have found a direct correlation to eating something to which I'm intolerant (which, unfortunately, could be one of multitudinous things) and having flushing and anxiousness - and having no control over it. When I'm toxin-free, these feelings don't happen (some latent fear that it will happen is always there - but then I'm pleasantly surprised when I speak to someone and my heart rate doesn't go up and I feel quite at ease). While I've gotten good at cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, mindfulness meditation, hardcore do-or-die willpower and what-have-you I've found that food intolerance was always the root problem. My first improvement was getting rid of gut dysbiosis because yeast is one of my many triggers, and I most certainly had fungal overgrowth in my early twenties when these symptoms were at their worst. (If you happen to have dysbiosis, just be careful that you don't treat it with "food remedies" to which you may also have sensitivities, as was the case for me.)

This is something of a wild guess here, but ever since I've pinpointed this in myself I've suspected that many people with social anxiety are at the mercy of their overly-amped nervous system in constant flight or flight mode caused by food chemicals. My previous degree is in psychology so there can be any number of potential reasons for social anxiety or phobia however I have a strong hunch that food is at least a potentiating factor, even if there is significant genetic/epigenetic hardwiring at work as well.

91882203467f64f68f25f58f1caeee68

(1017)

on June 08, 2012
at 10:34 PM

What did you end up being allergic to?

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:50 PM

all the other aforementioned things. So I can do some lower-salicylate fruits and veggies ok, but some high-salicylate foods like strawberries, almonds (all nuts really are problematic except hazelnuts are proving ok), coconut oil, olive oil and so forth will really get me going. I am also very highly reactive to coffee and teas, which I assume is a combination of the high phenol content and possibly mold/histamine content.

7636e1e02ef91a46f20a42e07b565a4b

(367)

on June 11, 2012
at 05:46 PM

Shawn, tons of stuff unfortunately. I have delayed IgG-mediated allergies to gluten, all forms of dairy and eggs (including yolks). I know that I am sensitive to mold, yeast and yeast-containing foods (which again, means dairy); histamine-containing and histamine-producing foods: spinach, tomatoes, chocolate, and in particular, anything fermented or too old (leftovers are problematic). Probably the worst things are the fermented foods - especially beer, wine, cheese, yogurt, vinegar. Finally I am sensitive to phenols and salicylates, but the upshot is that my tolerance is improved if I avoid

0
0ca52abaa9fce14c44a351fccd1b9fc5

on January 29, 2012
at 09:43 PM

How old are you?

9ac8a7b68cf079b22de42b703e466e64

(787)

on January 30, 2012
at 05:49 AM

read the question

0
20eefe24d8ccf096096f05b5bce1ea40

(988)

on January 29, 2012
at 09:34 PM

Its all in your head, pretend it doesn't matter and it won't matter. You can think yourself out of anything you thought yourself into. Or maybe the society you're in is awful, and you badly want to leave, maybe the society is what has a problem not you.

5e5ff249c9161b8cd96d7eff6043bc3a

(4713)

on January 30, 2012
at 12:56 AM

I think in the end this is true. Ultimately is all in your head, or did Inception teach you nothing?!!?!? Seriously though, this is where I'm at now, but ten years later. I think this is the ultimate goal, but it's a long road, and the opposite of what I meant about starting small :)

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