This is something I've been practicing for a few weeks now, read it in a book.
The brain takes in sensory information (emotions, body language, images, etc.) that cause anxiety. For example, someone could laugh behind you, and the laughter is processed by your brain and it tells you that the person must be laughing at you. Another example could be during a conversation someone makes a remark that sounds negative, and your brain assumes that the person is mad at you or judging you. These thought patterns almost become automatic and the more we accept them the worse they become.
Practice noticing EXACTLY when these anxiety causing situations start to kick in. It's hard at first but gets easier with time. Then sort of hit the pause button and ask yourself why the person would have any reason to laugh at you, or why someone would be judging you. Most of our thoughts are irrational. Learning to notice these thoughts when they occur is the key. Use your mind to translate these deceptive brain messages into reasonable thoughts. Replacing these negative messages with what they really are is super helpful.
I've been doing this for a while and am really starting to get good at it. As soon as I feel an anxiety arousing situation I've been sort of replacing the negative messages with positive, realistic ones and can calm down my level of anxiety big time.
For example, In Psych class yesterday we had to give a presentation, and of course my brain makes me feel like everyone is going to notice everything I do wrong, think my speech is slurred, or judge my every little action, so before the presentation I was feeling really anxious, so I kinda just took some deep breaths and told myself that my thoughts were irrational and that honestly, no one else really cares what I do as long as I give this presentation. No one has a reason to judge me. Overall the presentation went really well.
Essentially the brain reacts to the environment in automatic ways, which often result in anxiety. With your minds, we have the ability to realize that the reactions our brain makes are irrational, and we can replace them with positive and more reasonable thoughts. Don't let yourself become wired to your brains automatic and deceptive thoughts. Instead, use your mind to react to situations and make decisions!
SA causes irrational thoughts and reactions during social situations. Learn to notice what the origin of your anxiety is and use your mind to overpower your brain and tell yourself your thoughts are irrational, and calm your anxiety.
I feel anxiety when I have to talk to someone I don't know all that well. My brain thinks that the person isn't going to like me, if I don't agree with them they won't like me, or they will judge me based on my personality. However, now that I know this is the cause, I can acknowledge these negative messages and use my mind to tell my brain that my thoughts are completely irrational. I tell myself that what I think is going on inside someone else's head isn't actually what the other person is thinking, and that to be quite honest, people don't care what others do if it doesn't effect them.
This is good stuff man. SA really is caused by irrational thinking and misperceptions, and doing what you're doing here tackles that head on. The key is learning that not every thought that goes through your head is correct. When a person has SA, they tend to believe those irrational, negative thoughts about interactions with other people or how others will judge them. The truth is though that people really don't care that much about what you're doing!! This shows that those negative thoughts are just irrational, and once you realize that, you can finally start to kind of re-wire your brain to not believe those thoughts anymore. Keep up the good work!!
I think most people know their thoughts regarding anxiety are irrational but seem to be at a loss on how to control that. I realize pausing and trying to let logic win is a great approach but it's not an easy one and at times, may seem impossible for some of us. I hope you do well with this though and it makes me think that I should definitely stop and think more. I love hearing about techniques that actually work and people having success. It's inspirational to us all.
It doesn't "eliminate" anxiety.....it just lifts the tolerance threshold so that minor things won't cause anxiety.
Mine got tested BIG TIME this fall and it has changed the way I deal with things. I noticed old thinking creeping in and then question it whereas before I would let it cause an SA spike.
These days, SA spikes are for bigger things - things that people who normally would not have anxiety would be stressed.