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Great book for social anxiety


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A great book I'm reading, and would reccommend to anyone with social phobia, is called 'Goodbye to Shy: 85 ShyBusters That Work' by Leil Lowndes. Ill admit when I read the name I wasnt too convinced it would be any good. But I've had so many 'a-ha!' moments and I'm not even finished yet. Shes all about Gradual exposure therapy, which is what I already learned in my anxiety course, but its good to be refreshsed. And shes a good writer, its easy to follow. She breaks social situations down to an unintimidating and savvy level, from small talk and eye contact, to parties and dating. I'm realizing how much control I have over my social phobia and just by practicing a few techniques, Ill be able to have more confidence, or atleast appear more confident. If you can, try to pick this one up. I wrote out some parts of the text that I found helpful, to give you an idea of what its like. Maybe something to get you started,

Think back to a recent experience where you felt confident. Perhaps it was at a summer picnic with your family. You are all seated at a wooden table in the woods, gobbling up hot dogs and guzzling pop. You watch your little nephew as he dribbled mustard down his chin. What a messy kid, you muse. Your brother in law is sounding off about how hot dogs are made. You mumble to yourself ' He thinks hes an expert on everything. I wish he'd shutup' You smell the dogs on the grill behind you. Mmm, smells good. Id like another. So you hop up and get one. You are now in the field perspective. In other words, you are viewing the scene from your perspective, forming your own opinions. However if you were in a situation that made you tense, like a picnic with people you didnt know well - you might be thinking 'Everyone notices that I havent said a word. They probably think Im dense. Im hungry. Should I ask to have another hot dog, or should I just go get one? No, I better not. Theyll think Im greedy. Besides, Ill probably spill mustard on my shoes and theyll think Im clumsy. I dont think anyone here likes me anyway. The next time you start to think about the impression you are making, turn your mental camera around. Start consciously forming opinions about the other people rather than speculating about what they might be thinking about you. Its good practice to get you in the confident field perspective.

A few hints that VIP confident people do instinctively:

When you agree with someone, nod your head up from neutral (which is jaw parallel to the floor), not down.

When passing someone, be the last to break eye contact.

Naturally, give a big smile, but let it come ever-so-slower. That way it looks sincere, not nervous.

(I cant remember if it was this book or another, but a trick I once read about greeting people is, dont smile the second you see them, stare at them for a few seconds and then flash a smile. It seems more genuine that way. Plus, not smiling is a sign of dominance.)

Babies think theyre pretty cool no matter what they look like. And they assume that everyone else thinks they are too. So they confidently keep gazing at me until they get bored. 'Ho hum' they decide 'Now Ill stare at some other silly adults face.' A great place to start becoming comfortable with lingering eye contact is to stare right back into a babys eyes, just the way he or she gawks at you.

Comment-Question Technique

When someone asks 'how are you?' Dont just respond with the traditional "im fine, and you?' That aborts the conversation before it ever takes off. Extend it by adding a sentence about your day. Then ask a related question and you can immediately earn a place on his of her 'confident friendly colleagues' list.


them : 'Hi how are you?'

you: 'Fine. Im really looking forward to the game tonight. Are you going to watch it?'

them: "Hi how are you?"

you: "Fine. I hear its going to be warm and sunny this weekend. Do you have any special plans?'

Even after such an inauspicious opening as the weather, something lovely happens. The more small talk two people make, the more apt it is to evolve into a more interesting discussion. Small talk is the precursor of bigger talk.

No matter how boring you think your statement is, present it in a this-is-the-greatest-thing-since-velcro tone. And guess what? It sounds interesting to your listener.

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Oh and another trick I liked about making eye contact:

When greeting someone, look at their eyes and silently say, in your head, "I like you" to your eye contact recipient. There are 3 advantages.

1. The time it takes for you to say to yourself 'I like you' is precisely the amount of time lingering eye contact should last (a few seconds).

2. Saying those words silently gives you a warm expression. Unless you really work at it, your mind cant say "I like you" and your face say "Im scared stiff" at the same time.

3. Your inner monologue keeps your mind from racing to other thoughts like "I wonder what they think of me"


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  • 9 months later...

That books sounds really good. I just randomly got to this post and looked for it on amazon. Right now, apparently, you can download it as an audiobook free if you sign up for some 30 free trial. I did, and as soon as it downloaded, I cancelled the trial membership and managed to get a free audio book on social anxiety :(

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