Change Your Self Image and Change Your Life
In general social anxieties are perpetuated by deep seated thought patterns which are deeply ingrained but not set in stone. There are a number of methods of dealing with it but a consideration of any one of them should first involve assessing whether or not it truly goes to and tackles the root cause of the problem. The causes of this condition relate to some form of negative conditioning or experience, usually but not always in childhood, and if you're thinking about how to overcome it then the good news is that the effects of this negative conditioning can be reversed.
Your perception of yourself comes from your habits of conscious thought, and your thoughts imprint themselves onto your subconscious which "reflects" those thoughts back into the reality that becomes your life. In other words if you're always thinking of yourself as being anxious, tense or worried then your subconscious will ensure that your life is full of situations and circumstances which will reinforce this feeling. Changing your thoughts and perceptions of yourself for the better is achieved by training your conscious mind to alter these negative thought patterns and one of the most effective ways to do this is through self hypnosis. First, though, it may be useful to take a look at some of the facts.
This condition is characterized by having a pronounced sense of self consciousness, shyness or emotional unease either in some fairly specific situations or in social situations generally, as a result of the individual having an innate expectation that he/she will be viewed negatively by others.
The root of this is usually in childhood though many children pass through this with no lasting effects, but in some cases it persists, in varying forms and degrees, into adolescence and beyond. In other cases it reappears, for a variety of reasons, only later in adulthood.
Some people experience social unease only in quite particular circumstances, such as a situation involving some kind of public performance or speech, even if only to a small gathering or audience, while others have a more generalized form which means that they feel some level of distress or unease in any social situation.
This more severe form obviously has a debilitating effect on the quality of life of the person involved, but should not be thought of as being any less treatable. The whole issue of social anxieties in general is closely tied up with self esteem, or lack of it, and can be dealt with in broadly the same way, by using self hypnosis and the power of the mind to "reprogram" the negative thought patterns that cause the person to hold deeply negative views about him or her self in the first place.
Characteristic traits of this condition include a feeling of always being negatively appraised by those immediately around you, of being uncomfortable when being introduced to strangers, of feeling incapable of approaching and conversing with acquaintances and strangers alike, feeling uneasy when being observed doing something, and of feeling incapable of taking the lead in any group conversation.
Other common symptoms are a reluctance to make eye contact, and a tendency to speak in a low, almost mumbled voice. These negative emotions also often express themselves in physical ways, such as blushing and sweating.
Many people with these symptoms are aware of the irrationality of their feelings, but feel that they still can't overcome them. It should also be recognised that the "face your fears and you'll overcome them" approach does not in at least some cases go far or deep enough to bring about the required lasting change in the individual's perception of him or her self.
Peter's story :
"I think I first became aware that I was having problems socially when I was about 11 or 12. My home background was tense and unhappy as my parents didn't have a good marriage and there were lots of arguments, yelling and so on.
They divorced when I was 13 and I lived with my mom and my sister, though my sister was older than me and she moved out to her own place when I was I think 14.
Anyway by this time I'd fully realised that I wasn't communicating well with others in or out of school. It was like this feeling had built up in my mind and then just stuck there, a feeling that I had little if anything worthwhile to say or suggest to anyone. I was quite sure that everyone saw me in the same way that I saw myself. I was extremely shy and almost constantly embarrassed and uneasy when in any kind of group or social circumstance.
Things went on like that for a number of years, I didn't have my first girlfriend till I was 18 and that didn't last long, I think because I couldn't really talk to her friends when I was with her, I think they thought I was just weird or something. It wasn't that I didn't want to talk to them, I just couldn't.
I'd always had an aptitude for computers and IT. I felt that I could lose myself in exploring how all these things worked and eventually managed to get a good qualification in it. My turning point came when I was offered a great job which I'd thought involved working mostly on my own, but it turned out would also involve me doing 1 or 2 afternoons a week teaching trainees. I knew that there was no way I could stand in front of a class of 20 people and teach, and so I felt myself compelled to turn down the offer.
I knew then that I finally had to accept that I needed help with my social anxieties. I'd heard about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, did some research on it and contacted a therapist. It helped me quite a lot, I felt that things were improving but at the same time felt that it wasn't getting through to me quite as powerfully as it needed to. My case was fairly extreme after all.
I then looked into hypnosis as a possible solution, or at least as something I could supplement the CBT with. I had several sessions with a hypnotherapist and then followed that up by using an audio hypnosis download aimed at overcoming social anxieties.
I'd relax my body and my mind and listen to and absorb it every morning and every night for I think 2 or 3 weeks. It was towards the end of that time that I began to realise that I'd changed - deep down - and that I simply couldn't feel the same sense of intense shyness, awkwardness and embarrassment in social scenarios that I'd always felt before, right back to when I was a kid. It was just, well, gone. Not only that, but I knew deep down, in my gut so to speak, that it was gone for good".
The cause of social anxieties in general is rooted in the individual's deeply entrenched negative self view. Any effective treatment has to be capable of reaching and changing this negative self view to a positive one. Hypnosis/self hypnosis, under the right conditions of physical and mental relaxation, has been consistently shown to be effective in relieving social anxieties and many other conditions, precisely because through a program of visualization and suggestion the conscious mind learns the "habit" of sending positive thought energy about yourself to the subconscious instead of negative thought energy. Your subconscious mind creates whatever reality in your life is suggested to it by the nature and quality of your conscious thought, irrespective of whether it is positive or negative. More info about downloads dealing with this specific condition is available here.
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