Social anxiety comes from our thoughts. Negative thoughts we have about ourselves and what others think about us. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has helped me to recognize and change those negative thoughts. I did self-CBT by reading books and listening to audio programs. One such book was A Guide to the Present Moment by Noah Elkrief.
Elkrief explains that all of our pain and suffering in life comes from our thoughts. In the book, he goes into great detail to prove that these thoughts we have are not actually true. Therefore, we should not let thoughts control our behavior and emotions. Our anxiety and depression comes from ruminating on the past and worrying about the future. The key to happiness in life, says Elkrief, is living in the present moment.
If we believe the thought that someone will not like what we have to say or will think it’s stupid, then we become afraid to speak. Hence, social anxiety. But that thought is not true. We don’t know that a person won’t like us or will think what we say is stupid.
It’s impossible to completely eliminate the negative thoughts inside our heads, but what we can do, is learn to ignore them. Realize that a thought is just a thought. Our thoughts are not us.
The book isn’t specifically about social anxiety, though Elkrief does mention social anxiety and its related problems several times. When we find ourselves in a social situation, if we can learn to stop worrying about what others think, and remain present, then our social anxiety will disappear. Of course, that’s easier said than done, but with daily practice, we can get there. I’ve found meditation to be helpful in that regard.
In addition to his book, Noah Elkrief provides several free videos on Youtube, including one on how to mediate, and not one, but two on how to lose social anxiety. I would recommend A Guide to the Present Moment and Noah Elkrief’s videos to anyone suffering from anxiety, depression, or any kind of mental or emotional pain… Which is pretty much everybody, isn’t it?