Whether it is approaching someone to ask them out on a date, going to a job interview, speaking with a client or meeting someone new at a party, social interactions can be fraught with anxiety. This anxiety can all build up until you start telling yourself that you are not good enough, that people don’t like you, or that they have already made their minds up about you. This is not only crushing to your own self-image but can also leave you missing out on opportunities.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way – rather than letting yourself be held hostage to your anxieties, why not use some simple meditative techniques to push past the barriers and present a calmer, better you?
Meditation is often seen as being ‘alternative,’ but many different philosophies and traditions use it as part of their regular practice. Some people like to talk of mindfulness or being ‘in the moment,’ while others will say how much help they find from prayer or speak of the benefits of yoga or Tai Chi. In many ways, these are all about contemplation and quietness, but they are also about being present and aware of the moment you are in, paying full attention. Being both calm and aware can help you to stay focused and prevent your anxieties taking hold.
When you get anxious about other people in social situations you are actually letting your own insecurities take hold. Listening to the constant mental chatter that goes through your head can be a problem – especially when it is not being particularly helpful or positive. Learning to quiet this voice and take control of a situation may seem like it is difficult to do, but it is surprisingly simple.
Take a moment to breathe deeply and calm your nerves, then try to really pay attention to your surroundings. Look at your surroundings, notice the sounds and smells and try to live in the moment rather than in your head. Once you have done that you can focus your attention on the other person and what they are saying. Use your senses to anchor you into the moment so that you don’t get distracted by your anxieties.
There is always a small part of you that will dream up negative consequences for any interaction or situation. This is the same part of you that will stop you jumping off a cliff or make you wary of a vicious dog, so it is important. You just need to know when it is being rational or not. Not all social situations will go as you hoped – whether that is asking someone out on a date or trying to make a new business contact. You shouldn’t see this as a fault of yours and know that you will bounce back. Don’t let your anxieties stop you from acting with real freedom in your life and going out to achieve great things. Rather than living life in your shell, breathe, feel your surroundings, and focus…
Let yourself live in the moment rather than fearing it!
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