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    About this Episode

    Each of us deals with feelings of embarrassment, awkwardness and feeling social self conscious every now and then. But social anxiety can cause us a level of emotional, mental and physical discomfort that disrupts out ability to build authentic connection and can hold us back. In this episode we break down the psychology of social anxiety, particularly deconstructing the belief that everyone is judging us or that the opinions of others matter. We look at the distinction between everyday anxiety and a social phobia, the links to perfectionism and overthinking and methods for managing our social anxiety including the "so what" mentality and treating our anxiety like excitement rather than fear to allow us to pursue social authenticity over perfectionism. All that and more, listen now!

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    ūüĒĎ Key Takeaways

    • Understanding the root causes of social anxiety and embracing our authenticity can help us regain control and manage our feelings of self-consciousness.
    • Social anxiety is a common experience, but it becomes a disorder when it causes intense discomfort, fear of judgment, and avoidance of social situations. Empathy and support are vital for those affected.
    • Challenging our fears, embracing vulnerability, and nurturing meaningful relationships can help us overcome social anxiety and lead fulfilling lives.
    • Alcohol may provide temporary relief from social anxiety, but it ultimately worsens the condition in the long run. Recognizing cognitive distortions and challenging negative self-concept are important for improving mental well-being.
    • Our emotions and perceptions may not always reflect reality, so it's important to challenge negative self-talk and focus on self-acceptance, just as we would with our friends.
    • Embrace authenticity and focus on being true to yourself rather than striving for perfection or trying to impress others.
    • Embrace your true self, be confident in who you are, and remember that other people's opinions don't define your worth. Use positive reframing and challenge negative thoughts to regain control over your mindset.
    • Our past does not define us, and we should not let fear or judgment hold us back. Embracing authenticity and confidence allows us to live a fulfilling life and positively impact those around us.

    ūüďĚ Podcast Summary

    Overcoming Social Anxiety through Awareness and Confidence

    Social anxiety is a common experience in our twenties, but we are not alone in feeling this way. We often worry about what others think of us, replaying past mistakes and feeling self-conscious. However, it's important to remember that most people are focused on themselves and not scrutinizing our every move. Understanding the root causes of social anxiety and recognizing the cognitive distortions that contribute to our negative thoughts can help us regain control. Overthinking, perfectionism, and fear of judgment are closely linked to social anxiety, but by embracing our authenticity and reclaiming our confidence, we can overcome these feelings. It's natural to feel anxious at times, but with knowledge and practice, we can learn to manage and control our social anxiety.

    Understanding Social Anxiety: From Everyday Embarrassment to Disorder

    Occasional moments of embarrassment and social anxiety around interactions are common experiences for many people. This discomfort stems from our evolutionary need for group acceptance and survival, where being outcast was detrimental. Our instinctual fear and anxiety in these situations are meant to protect us from negative judgments and rejection. However, it's important to distinguish between occasional feelings of self-consciousness and a diagnosable social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder affects a significant portion of the population, with an estimated 6 to 10% worldwide. It can lead to intense discomfort, fear of judgment, and avoidance of certain social situations. Examples include attending parties, public speaking, and meeting new people. Understanding the prevalence and impact of social anxiety can help promote empathy and support for those who experience it.

    Overcoming Social Anxiety: Embracing Vulnerability and Nurturing Meaningful Relationships.

    Our fear of being judged or exposing our vulnerabilities often leads to social anxiety. We worry that if people see our hidden sides, they will think less of us or see us as frauds. This fear triggers anxiety, and our brains tell us that avoidance is the best solution to minimize anxiety. However, avoiding social situations is not sustainable or healthy for our well-being. Deep social connections and everyday interactions are crucial for our mood and overall happiness. Additionally, constantly avoiding challenges and never proving our negative thoughts wrong only perpetuates our fears. It's important to remember that people are generally focused on their own lives and thoughts, not constantly judging us. By challenging our fears, embracing vulnerability, and nurturing meaningful relationships, we can overcome social anxiety and lead fulfilling lives.

    The link between alcohol and social anxiety

    Alcohol may temporarily alleviate social anxiety, but it can worsen it in the long run. While alcohol initially releases neurotransmitter GABA, which promotes relaxation, the brain later produces glutamate to counterbalance the effects of alcohol. This leads to increased anxiety, memory reactivation, and cognitive functioning. Additionally, our tendency to assign excessive importance to others' opinions and cognitive distortions contribute to social anxiety. We often catastrophize and expect the worst due to uncertainty about others' thoughts, leading to isolation and overthinking. Moreover, negative self-concept can worsen anxiety, as we perceive ourselves more negatively than we actually are. It's important to recognize these patterns and challenge them to improve our mental well-being.

    Challenging negative thoughts and reclaiming self-perception.

    Our negative self-talk and overanalysis often leads to distorted perceptions of ourselves and our actions. It's important to recognize that our emotions and perceptions are not always an accurate reflection of reality. We tend to focus on our own anxieties and insecurities, forgetting that others may be experiencing the same feelings. The opinions of others should not define us, as their judgments are often fleeting and insignificant. Just as we easily overlook and forgive the mistakes of our friends, we should extend the same compassion and acceptance to ourselves. By challenging negative thoughts and reclaiming the narrative of how we are perceived, we can live authentically and make the most of our social experiences.

    The Perfectionist's Cycle: How Perfectionism and Overthinking Lead to Social Anxiety

    Perfectionism and overthinking are strongly correlated with social anxiety. Perfectionistic individuals tend to have high personal standards and critically evaluate their every mistake, just like how they want to come off as perfect in social situations. This perfectionism also leads to setting unrealistic standards in all areas of life. Furthermore, perfectionists often criticize themselves harshly when they don't meet societal standards, especially in social situations. This can result in avoidance and a fear of being exposed and feeling shame. Overthinking compounds this cycle of anxiety, as we obsess over past embarrassing moments in a misguided attempt to find closure or lessen the pain. Instead, we should aim for authenticity, being committed to behaving in alignment with our true selves rather than trying to impress others.

    Embracing Authenticity and Self-Love in a Judgmental World

    Our authenticity and self-love should not be dependent on the acceptance of others. We are multidimensional individuals with unique qualities, and it is important to recognize and embrace our true selves, regardless of societal norms or opinions. Confidence plays a crucial role in being authentic, even if we need to fake it till we make it. It is crucial to remember that other people's opinions of us are fleeting, and we don't have to engage with those who treat us poorly. The judgments of others reflect their close-mindedness and insecurity, not our worth. By regularly implementing these reminders, we can recondition our brain to view social situations as opportunities for personal growth instead of fear-inducing events. Anxiety can be reframed as excitement, allowing us to approach new experiences with positivity. Challenging negative thoughts and using the "so what" method can help us regain control over our thoughts and recognize irrational thinking. Lastly, it is important to perceive our emotions as friendly advice rather than absolute truth.

    Overcoming Fear and Embracing Authenticity

    Our past experiences of rejection or exclusion often lead to worry and anxiety in similar situations. However, it's important to remember that we survived those past events and are still here today. Our brain tends to project those negative experiences onto future scenarios in an attempt to protect us, but it cannot predict the future accurately. We are not defined by our past or our emotions. Instead of labeling ourselves as embarrassing, awkward, or cringe-worthy, we should recognize that those situations made us feel anxious or uncomfortable, but they do not determine our identity. Four affirmations can help us overcome the fear of judgment and the obsession with perfection: no one is judging us as harshly as we judge ourselves, others' opinions do not define our character, we will not be criticized by someone who is doing better than us, and we choose authenticity over perfection. True freedom comes when we realize that these fearful thoughts do not change the outcomes of our lives. We can approach every situation with authenticity, confidence, and kindness, knowing that if someone doesn't like us, it is their loss because we have the ability to elevate their lives and the lives of those around us.

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