(This is NOT a short 2 minutes story of how I miraculously cured my social anxiety. It’s not justified to skip through important events that brought me to overcoming my social anxiety.)
Does the word “cold calling” sends a chill down your spine?
Or do you struggle for words beyond polite greetings when you’re attending a social gathering or networking event?
How about the fact that you’d rather walk on fiery coals than stepping up on stage to address the crowd?
In fact, for the past 15 over years, I’ve been living with social anxiety but mistakenly thought it’s all being an introvert.
That the fear of public speaking, and breaking in cold sweats when speaking up to strangers are natural traits of an introvert.
It wasn’t until I overcame my fear of public speaking and eventually hosted a series of corporate events that I realized that I have been suffering from social anxiety under the guise of introversion for so many years.
I am definitely an introvert.
But the extreme social phobia that I’ve experienced is not part of being an introvert.
Neither is breaking cold sweats and the stammering when I had to cold-call in my early years of self-employment.
If you’re having a massive fear of socializing, and wonder if it’s about being an introvert, I can firmly reassure you that it’s not.
In fact, introverts are pretty good with social networking, which I found out after I managed to overcome the social phobia that I suffered.
That doesn’t stop me from wondering how my social anxiety started. And the root cause could be more than one.
Ever since I have got over my fear of public speaking, I was curious of what actually causes it in the first place.
I don’t believe that I was born with social anxiety disorder etched in my gene.
In fact, I vividly remember that I was pretty outgoing in my early childhood.
So, what causes these severe symptoms of social anxiety disorder to develop later in my life?
I could cite the learning culture in my early education as one contributing factor.
In high school, students are often jeered by their classmates when they answered incorrectly in class. It’s humiliating and actually discourages participation in class. And the sad thing is, the teachers did nothing about it.
I learned to believe that the next time I open my mouth to answer a question, I risked being ridiculed by others.
Unless you grew up in a country where child abduction does not happen, you’ll remember the words “avoid talking to strangers” uttered to you in your childhood.
I grew up hearing the same words again and again from family members who have their best intention.
But when you’re repeatedly told not to speak to strangers, you’ll form a belief that strangers are bad or to be avoided. The irony is, if you don’t start talking to strangers, how could you turn them into your friends?
Your own root causes of social anxiety could be different. But somehow, I believe that social anxiety occurs as an accumulation of various conditioning that we received.
You may not believe in the power of subconscious mind. Or that the indirect programming in our growing age could lead to having social phobia.
But I did. After I managed to overcome my social anxiety without taking any medication.
If there’s anything that could aggravate my social phobia, it’s the constant need to be perfect.
Failure used to be unacceptable for me.
I got stressed out on needing to say the right words. Or delivering the best first impression.
That means my hair needs to be perfect. Along with perfectly matching attire.
If you’re a perfectionist, you’ll know what I mean.
And guess what; acknowledging the fact that it’s ok to be imperfect is one vital step to overcoming my social phobia.
Here’s how it started.
I spent 5 years of my early career communicating more with machines than human.
I was an engineer.
I spent the next 5 years on a design business. That was when the struggle with cold-calling, networking, and presentation started.
What are the chances of an introverted start-up business owner with social anxiety disorder going far in a landscape dominated by outgoing entrepreneurs?
Your guess is probably better than mine. The social phobia definitely does prove to be a disadvantage in many aspects of running a business.
Social anxiety, or lack of business skills? It doesn’t matter.
The collapse of my business was inevitable, followed swiftly by the breakdown of my marriage.
These major life setbacks sparked a series of changes that led to the overcoming of my social anxiety.
I went into a spell of depression. It lasted about 6 months. Or 9. Well, I can’t be sure as you definitely can’t draw a fine line of when your depression end. It’s a step by step recovery.
What happened was I decided to take on my first ever public speaking head on, in a reckless attempt to “face my fear“. After all, that’s what most people would urge you to do.
It was my first ever on-stage public speaking since I left college. It was horrible. The whole ordeal lasted 5 minutes but it felt like 50 to me.
“Facing your fear” may work. But only after falling hard in my first attempt. I wish there is a method that could avoid that.
Stepping up on the stage again was the last ever thing on my mind ever since. But it all changes in less than 6 months.
It started on a day when I decided to get back up from my depression and discard my “old life”. The life of self-imposed limitation that has brought more failure than successes.
By chance, I caught on a masterclass by Christie Marie Sheldon on Unlimited Abundance. It’s about energy clearance and I was initially pretty skeptical about it, being a very technical person.
Anyway, I was already rock bottom and had nothing to lose to sit through two hours of the offered free masterclass.
All I can say is that I ended signing up for the course after so many of my limiting beliefs are made obvious in that two hours session.
As I went through every single session on the course, I felt that something within me changed. I am no longer confined to the old beliefs that once shaped me. New, constructive beliefs started to form.
There is a constant high level of energy as I continued the energy healing session.
I definitely felt good, transformed and motivated.
Placebo effect? Maybe so.
But I believe what’s happening when I was being “emotionally healed”, is that my thought patterns are being rewired.
I am no scientist but I have read about neuroplasticity. When you’re engaged and motivated consistently, the way your brain communicates changes.
I found that I became more socially open and confident. The second time I stepped up on a stage and addressing the crowd came in the form of being a host for a non-profit event.
It was an official event, and it turned out pretty well.
There was still a hint of nerves but it’s a dramatic improvement compared to the first.
I started to believe that changing how my subconscious mind work will change my life.
By chance or fate, I came across Harv Eker‘s masterclass, The Spiritual Law Of Money and I got myself sitting through another free session.
I signed up for the course, hoping to turn my life around completely. But here’s an unexpected result from the course.
I wouldn’t want to go deeply into Harv Eker’s course. But there is this one thing that you’ll be asked to practice daily.
Repeating mantras like “I’m a money magnet” or “I’m a spiritual millionaire” five times, before your meal each day.
I thought it was crazy and I almost asked for a refund.
Until it was a couple of weeks into it and I felt that I was able to stop anxious thoughts right before it overwhelmed my brain system.
And it was then revealed that the whole purpose of the mantras was to break my current thought process.
But spending more than $500 for two online courses just for the sake of managing social anxiety is an overkill. And plugging in your headphones for two hours just to overcome my social phobia is unrealistic.
I did these programs as part of a personal development program to turn my life around. Overcoming my social anxiety was a nice extra bonus.
I then thought of mindfulness meditation. And bringing mindfulness into daily life practices.
The only problem is it’s been years since I last meditated.
I started almost like a beginner.
It’s easy to meditate when your mind is in a calm or neutral state. But when you’re struggling to recover from depression and anxiety it could be tough to meditate alone.
Even more so when you have limited time to do so. I was striving hard to recover financially, and doing my best as a single parent.
I was under no illusion that it would that permanent recovery will be swift and simple.
But I was pretty sure it has something to do with altering the mind. Because going through Christie Marie Sheldon’s energy clearance program, Harv Eker’s Spiritual Law Of Money and mindfulness meditation has brought me to host a series of corporate events attended by corporate leaders and ministers.
But I can’t be relying on hours of personal development programs and meditation in my already packed daily schedule.
I have a relapse recently. I suspect it’s much to the change in my lifestyle and environment that triggered the social anxiety again.
But I am determined that I would overcome this relapse again, with a simpler solution.
I know what has worked before and I believe there is a much better solution than listening to a two hours track of healing session.
I came across hypnosis, as I was building up my blog. One particular track has never failed to deliver the much-needed sleep to me.
Here’s a thing or two about hypnosis.
I thought it’s about staring at a swinging clock watch and losing your mind at the count of 3.
It was nothing like what I’ve always seen on TV.
I was in no danger of losing my consciousness or letting someone into my mind. In fact, hypnosis brought me into a super attentive state where I could focus for days before losing the effect.
While meditation has the general goal of being at peace with your thoughts, hypnosis tracks are made to achieve a specific goal, and in this case, overcoming social anxiety.
If a certain hypnosis track could give me much-needed sleep easily, then surely there are hypnosis track that could reduce my social phobia right from the root.
I found one from a reputable hypnosis download site specifically tailored to counter social phobia. It was run by an experienced team of hypnotherapists. I know this has a good chance to work and it’s a tiny fraction of what I’ve spent on personal programs to overcome my depression.
The hypnosis track was approximately 20 minutes. The first time I played it with my headphones on, I ended up having the same confident and dignified feeling that I have felt, when I managed to overcame my social anxiety and speak in front of a thousand people.
You can read more about this track on this review.
It’s not a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No’. If you’re suffering from social anxiety or anxieties of any sort, you know it’s more complicated than a single solution.
It may take a combination of workout, healthy eating, enough sleep, mindfulness meditation and hypnosis to push you through.
There is also the question on how severe your condition is. I’m self-diagnosed at above-average social anxiety.
I have never been a fan of medication and wanted to recover or at least manage social anxiety naturally.
If you have experienced hypnosis in the past and you’re comfortable to know that hypnosis works for you, then I highly recommend this hypnosis download for social phobia for you.
Else, I will encourage you to read this review I’ve written on this particular hypnosis track I’m using to manage my social anxiety.
And try out these tips to keep your anxiety at bay.
21 Brain Foods That Help Depression And Anxiety
How To Overcome Depression Naturally (10 Simple Effective Ways)