You may have noticed this peculiar habit of saying “I’m great” or maintaining a cheerful attitude just to fit in, even when you’re not feeling great inside.
You may also find yourself worrying about what you say or do in the company of other people. If something goes wrong in social situations, you may ruminate on it, ruining your entire day.
The most common cause of social anxiety stems from fear and insecurity. You may feel inadequate or not good enough. These negative thoughts and emotions can dominate your daily life and make you unhappy. So, how can you use mindfulness to counteract social anxiety?
I used to struggle with this in the past as well. I always played a role and expressed beliefs I didn’t truly hold, all to please others and avoid standing out from the crowd. What made it worse was my unawareness of this pattern in my behavior.
Only through my daily mindfulness practice did I uncover this deeply ingrained flaw. Over time, I came up with a simple exercise to help me remain present and unburdened by my fears. In this article, I want to share this process and hope it can benefit anyone who reads it.
How to Practice Mindfulness for Social Anxiety
1. Identify Trigger Situations
Throughout your day, take note of situations and people that make you put on a mask and play a role. This aspect of life is inevitable within human society and often requires you to act in ways you don’t want to act. Be prepared to confront these situations consciously.
2. Tune into Your Body
Once you find yourself around people that make you nervous, shift your attention into the body. Notice any subtle changes in your posture, gaze, or hand gestures. Perhaps you’re tensing your shoulders or adopting a defensive stance by folding your arms across your chest. This body language is a sign of distress.
3. Become Aware of Your Emotions
Next, identify the emotion you’re feeling in that moment. For example, you might be worried about what other people think of you. Societal norms often condition us to place value on factors like appearance, wealth, and high social status, leading to feelings of inadequacy. Acknowledge the negative emotion or programming underlying your behavior.
4. Accept and Release
The last step is to accept the emotion without resistance. Resistance amplifies negative emotions and prolongs their hold over you. If you observe them and let them be, they lose their power. Acknowledge your worry by saying, “I feel worried. It’s just a feeling, not who I am.” Then go deep and feel it as not your self but as an energy field in your body. Suddenly, you become free of worry, and it doesn’t control you anymore.
By following these steps daily, practicing mindfulness for social anxiety will gradually heighten your awareness of detrimental patterns, enabling you to release them over time.
Hi, I’m Gavril, the guy behind this blog. What you see here is the combination of my three favorite things: reading, writing, and mindfulness. While you’re here, subscribe to my blog updates and gain access to free mindfulness resources for stress relief.