This article applies to everyone learning to overcome social anxiety. It is particularly important for those who are having a difficult time doing the therapy because of anxiousness and worry and/or because of low mood.
Your mind must be prepared before you can get the new cognitive ideas, strategies, methods, and concepts to "drop gently" (step by step) into your brain.
If you are anxious or nervous or too worried about something, your brain is already working overtime ... and there is no room for the cognitive therapy that you want to sink down into your brain.
That is why I emphasize on the series that it is best to be alone while doing therapy -- somewhere you can be less self-conscious -- so that you are relatively calm and at peace.
In addition, although most of us experience a "low mood" associated with social anxiety, if this mood is too strong -- and we could say if you are "depressed" -- then the therapy is not going to have a chance to work well. We must be in a relatively calm mood when we do the cognitive therapy, because if we have strong, depressing negative thinking going on ... then there is not much chance the new cognitive ideas and strategies will have the opportunity to drop down deeply enough into our brain.
Being relatively calm and at peace WHILE you are doing the therapy is necessary so that your brain has "room" to accept the new cognitive ideas and strategies. If your brain is too busy with anxious feelings and thoughts, then it will be very difficult for you to drop these cognitive ideas gently down into your brain.
So, you ask, what do you do if you don't feel relatively calm and relaxed? Or, if you are feeling depressed?
There are several answers to this. But please note: We do have to prepare ourselves, and our mind, FIRST, before we start the daily therapy... to make sure that the time we spend in therapy is always useful and advantageous to our progress.
Some things you can do ahead of time to PREPARE yourself for the therapy (pick what works best for you):
1. Exercising for 30 minutes so that the flow of endorphins ("the happy neurotransmitter") through your body calms you down and puts you in a better mood.
2. Singing along to songs that you enjoy. Humming along to these songs also works. Your focus and attention on singing (if you do this long enough) depletes the "thinking/worrying" area of your brain and strengthens the "thinking less/feeling better" parts of the brain.
4. Reading rational material in slow talk for 15-20 minutes BEFORE you start the actual therapy time. As you read more slowly, you will fell more relaxed, calm, and peaceful.
So, please PREPARE yourself and your mind BEFORE you start therapy each day.
It is important that you be relaxed, calm, and relatively peaceful.
If you prepare your brain ahead of time, by using the relaxation methods we discussed, the end result is always more effective. In addition, it shortens the time it takes to overcome this disorder.
If you do this every day, your feelings of calmness will grow stronger and you will feel the difference. This calmness and peace will make you feel more in control of your emotions and your life. It is an essential element in overcoming social anxiety.