When you reflect on how life has been going recently, can you identify how anxiety led to any missed opportunities? Do you wish you had the courage to overcome the fear? Maybe a twinge of regret over what was lost? Regret is such an awful feeling to have. Luckily, you do have the ability to seize these opportunities — of course, the way it works is that you have to DO the thing that scares you! I know, gee thanks, easier said than done, right? The good news is that it’s never too late to change your approach to certain issues or situations. Just because you haven’t done it yet, doesn’t mean you can’t do it now. Who knows when and what other opportunities will present themselves to you!
COVID is making social anxiety worse for a lot of people, without them even knowing. Many of my patients with social anxiety actually expressed relief and happiness when the quarantine began, because it gave them an excuse to keep away from (at least face-to-face) social interactions. Unfortunately for them, part of being human is needing to engage in social interactions in order to thrive. In fact, during these ever-present Zoom meetings, it can be even easier to hyperfocus on yourself or people in the group. Clearly, the socializing part of life isn’t going to completely disappear anytime soon!
You have probably heard at one time or another that the more you avoid something, the bigger and scarier that thing seems to get. Find a way to grow your social confidence instead during COVID. The “way” could be minuscule or extremely ambitious. Examples: Speaking up once during a work meeting, telling the cashier you like her shirt, joining an online interest/hobby group; support group; or Toastmasters; or really examining the fear itself for the first time with a therapist or counselor. It doesn’t matter how tiny or gigantic your plan is. The MOST important thing is to do something even the slightest bit uncomfortable to you, at least a few days out of the week. That in and of itself will be a confidence-building accomplishment! You may be asking yourself, “But what if I say something stupid? What if I embarrass myself? I don’t even want to chance it. I won’t be able to handle it if I fail.”
Cliche as it sounds, whether you mumble your words or come off as a confident charmer, the effort itself is what counts. It’s absolutely necessary to simply put forth the effort so that you can get where you want to be. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”, right Wayne Gretzky or Michael Scott? By the way, when you do this chosen uncomfortable thing, reward yourself. Acknowledge your effort in building a new habit. Remember that you are strong and courageous for having simply put yourself out there. (Yes, you are. Even invisible steps towards progress count towards the final result.)
I’m excited to hear about what you may have tried, and your ideas may very well benefit other readers. Feel free to comment below and tell me about something you did along these lines for self-growth since March. If you haven’t done anything yet, let me know what you’ll do tomorrow or later this week!
Disclaimer: All blog content is intended for information only, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Using, accessing, or browsing this website does not create a physician-patient relationship between you and Dr. Masifi or any site contributors.