Ever notice how you say, “I’m great” when you’re not?
Do you keep a cheerful attitude just to fit in?
Or worry about what you say or do when in the company of other people.
Sometimes these things can make our day or ruin it completely.
The most common cause of social anxiety is fear and insecurity. We feel as if we lack in some way. We feel we’re not good enough.
These negative thoughts and emotions control our everyday lives and make us unhappy.
So how can we use mindfulness for social anxiety?
I used to struggle with this in the past. And, to be honest, still struggle to some degree even now.
I was always performing a role and saying things I didn’t believe in. All of it was done to please other people. And the worst thing about it: I was unaware of it. It was an automatic pre-programmed behavior.
The only thing that allowed me to uncover this deeply rooted flaw was my daily mindfulness practice. With time, I came up with a simple exercise that helped me stay in the present moment and not be controlled by my fears.
How to practice mindfulness for social anxiety
As you’re going about your day, identify situations and people that make you put on a mask and play a role.
It’s a part of life that we can’t escape. It comes with living in human society.
There will always be situations that make us behave in a certain way. Sometimes forcing us to do things we don’t want to do.
So the first thing you should do is identify those situations and be prepared to face them when the time comes. You need to be more conscious than usual.
Once you find yourself around people that make you nervous, turn your attention to your body.
Notice any subtle changes in how you walk, where you look, how you hold your hands.
Maybe there is a tension in your shoulders, or you start crossing your arms and act defensively.
These are signs that your body is in distress, and you need to prepare for the next step.
The next thing you should do is identify the emotion you’re feeling at that moment.
For example, you could be worried about what other people think about you.
We often grow up in a society that programs us to place value on things like good appearance, wealth, and high social status. So basically, if you’re not pretty, rich, or come from a good family, you’re labeled as deficient.
That’s just one example; it can be different for you. There will always be a negative emotion or programming that underlies your behavior.
The last step is to accept the emotion and don’t resist it.
So how does that work?
Resistance is the main reason negative emotions have such a tight grip on you and persist for a long time.
If we observe them and let them be, they lose all their power. So if you say, “I feel that I’m worried. There is a worry in me. It’s just a feeling. It’s not me.” Then go deep and feel it as not you but as energy field in your body. Suddenly, you become free of worry. It doesn’t control you anymore.
It’s all about accepting the present moment as it is. We connect with the inner stillness and realize that there is nothing to fear or worry about.
Go through these steps every day to practice mindfulness for social anxiety. With time you’ll be aware of the patterns that make you unhappy and will be able to let them go. They won’t be able to control you because you will not identify with them anymore.