In today’s article, I would like to share a reliable strategy that has helped lots of my clients defeat anxiety-related dilemmas like agoraphobia and social anxiety.
If you are troubled by social phobia or agoraphobia, then the following characteristics will be well known to you.
A feeling of Intense self-focus
Regularly feeling that many people are looking at you almost like you are the center of attention.
Increased sense of worry.
Fear that people may take advantage of you or abuse you because they can see a clear weakness in you.
A feeling of humiliation that leads you to look away or look down regularly.
If you feel any of the above is recognizable to you, then you will benefit from using this technique.
So what’s the technique?
This is it: Look up and look around any time you are in the general public. Get an idea of what people are really doing.
Now before you decide to quit on me and think this Idea is ineffective to you, permit me to encourage you to give the strategy a try out for at least 7 days.
Please don’t make the mistake of assuming that the simplicity of this exercise means that it won’t be of any use.
What is a reason why you think people pick up this tendency to look down or away in these situations?
Typically, it may be because somehow, they presume that there is a strong reason to feel humiliated. It may be because they feel ugly, fat, peculiar or too tall. Hence they think that they are going to be isolated by people, laughed at or made a scape goat.
Looking up and around at people frequently will help to ease the anxious edge off for two reasons.
Firstly, Looking up and around enables us to realize that almost 99% of people are not even interested in us at all as they are consumed by their own concerns and activities. 1% is far smaller than 99% and a lot easier to handle. Regrettably, failing to look up and about most of the time makes us conclude that if 1% of the people we come across look at us negatively, then everybody else will do the same.
Secondly, the beast that we fail to look at becomes bigger in our minds because we are not looking at it. This gives social anxiety or agoraphobia more teeth to bite us with. Try this out.
Ask another person who can help you out with this (It works better if the colleague is someone you don’t know too well).
Gather a list of phrases containing the items you think people assess you negatively on, then get your helper to pretend and read the sentences in a rude fashion twice (e.g. What a hideous looking girl). For the first read, make sure you are backing your friend, then for the second time the statement is read, turn to face your friend again.
You will notice that whilst your mate reads your list at you, looking away made you feel so much worse even if ever so slightly. This is so although you gave the colleague the sentence to read back to you. (I usually find that the effect of this experiment is clearer the higher the sense of shame is).
Now how can you take advantage of the ideas offered in this text?
This technique will work better for you if you can get a different person to work with you. It is very important that the person you opt for is objective so if you can, don’t choose family. In addition, a pair of sun shades can help you feel more confident about looking around.
You’ll be needing some paper and pen, which will help you take an objective account. Now, make a prediction. How many people do you think will look at you? It is good to differentiate between an innocent glance and an obvious 10-second glare. Okay, once you have completed this, go for a walk. Maybe to town or to the shopping complex. It does not matter as long as you find sufficient people around.
Now, mark a tick for people you see staring rudely at you and a cross for people who do not look at you.