Tool no 1. Show and tell (not publicly :)
when do you feel anxiety?
Social situations are different for each of us.
Some of us dread presentations. For others, dating is very difficult and for others, meeting authoritarian figures is a fearsome situation that they avoid.
So for this tool, try to think about the situations that are worrisome for you and then see what thoughts, behaviors, and physical sensations appear in your case.
Best to think about situations that you avoid or that you plainly don’t want to do, you just don’t take them into consideration.
Take 5 minutes to think about how it is for you to experience anxiety in social situations. Reflect on the way it appears and manifests and how this emotion is impacting you.
When you finish, you will have an overview of what is happening in your mind & body when you are feeling this anxiety and then can better intervene to manage your emotions.
What situations are difficult for you?
Giving a speech or a presentation; meeting someone new; dating; presenting a report in front of your team; spending time alone with a friend; attending a big social event such as a party or a family gathering.
It’s always useful to have an overview of what types of situations you want to focus on in managing your anxiety.
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What physical sensations are you experiencing:
those appear even before you start feeling anxiety so they are a good indicator of a stressful situation coming up (lump in your throat, sweaty palms, the tension in your body, you blush, feeling warm all of a sudden, etc). What sensations do you notice?
What behaviors are you doing:
Avoidance is the most common behavior that comes up when we don’t want to do something that comes with difficult emotions.
Write down what behaviors are typical for you: postponing; canceling; ghosting maybe; not answering your phone or texts.
What consequences are you noticing?
While it is common to feel uncomfortable and avoid situations in which we might feel embarrassed, nevertheless they are affecting the way in which you take on opportunities, spend your time, or advance professionally.
What is your avoidance costing you?
Remember, we are not here to judge but to unfold the situation in a way that is easier for you to work through your skills.
Next week we take a look at the most common enemy of giving presentations or talking publicly - hint - it’s not the anxiety :)