20 years ago, I was dressed up a pandit ji during a fancy dress competition in my school. Coming from a versatile background of an artistic family, I was quite okay about the situation. With that confidence, I started climbing the stairs to the stage. On the last step, I accidentally stepped on my dhoti and had a Humpty-dumpty fall on the stage with my dhoti open. The entire audience went into laughter and started hooting me and whistling at me. The audience even had my so-called friends. This episode gave me a grave situation of social anxiety and it not only affected my relations but also the way I did other things like study, playing, etc. I was convinced that I should keep my mouth shut, rather than speak and get laughed at. The things only worsen, and I was diagnosed with a General Anxiety Disorder!
But deep inside I knew that this underconfident, shy guy was not me and I always wanted to get out of these black clouds of anxiety and soar like an eagle. Today, for the last 14 years I have led a successful corporate life and along with that, I am an author, a mindset and a memory coach, a TEDx speaker, and a public speaking coach. It has been quite a journey and I will be sharing few Mindset hacks (do not read short cuts) to overcome social anxiety and GAD.
1) Confidence is a skill and not a gift: well how many of us have been living with this belief that confidence is something you’re born with. Let me Break this MYTH here and announce that it is indeed a SKILL that can be acquired and developed. Initially, it is tough as you must break the inertia and therefore you need to “FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT”. Believe me guys, this single technique helped me break the initial resistance and move ahead in public speaking, hence becoming more confident. It does not mean that the road ahead is easy. The most confident people in the world are the ones who have been through the trenches. They have climbed their way up their respective ladders and earned their way through life
2) Practice it daily: Bathing does not last long nor does confidence, hence we recommend it daily. I soon realized that for me to become more confident, I need to practice going outside my comfort zone daily. I left no opportunities to go there and speak on stage and every time I did it the confidence was reinforced. Yes, it does not happen overnight, and one must follow the 3P technique which I also did to overcome my public speaking anxiety i.e. Practice, Practice, Practice.
3) Exercise: When our body is worried or experiencing this discomfort which we term as anxiety, there are certain patterns that it follows. For example, you might experience your heart palpitating, sinking feeling in the chest, load on the shoulders, heaviness in the gut. The immediate thing one can do to get rid of this discomfort I to break this pattern physiologically and the best way to do it to get into action. Do some exercise and release some sweat. Physical exercise can affect how much of certain proteins are made in the brain. In particular, the levels of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (or BDNF for short) increase after exercise. BDNF has already been shown to enhance mental abilities at the same time as acting against anxiety and depression
4)Junky Junk! : Research shows that eating large quantities of processed food can lead to an increased risk of anxiety & depression. So, if you are hoping to improve your mental health, reducing the amount of junk food in your diet is a great way to start. I understand that we all love eating a footlong cheeseburger but is it a good deal at the risk of your mental health? Including brain-healthy foods like blueberries, walnut, turmeric, broccoli, Dark chocolate, etc will only make it strong and better placed to fight with the evils of anxiety and depression.
5) Suppressing it makes it Dangerous: Well, we all have those times when we feel discomfort and want to vent out the anguish, but most of the time we decide not to do it and suppress it. Well, it is the most harmful thing you do to your body and mind. These suppressed emotions take the form of toxins, ulcers, cancer in our body, and further deteriorate your ability to fight. So it is advisable to vent out the feelings, it is okay to cry if you wish to, pen down your thoughts in a journal, talk to a friend/family but just let it out of your ecosystem!. If you want to fight back and get rid of your anxiety, adjusting your daily habits is the best place to start. Hence, every day, ask yourself: “What actions can I take right now to stop letting anxiety control my thoughts?”
I have put together holding a session to address Anxiety, exclusively @NLP India Summit 2020
Reserve Your Seat Now to get some mind-blowing techniques to tackle anxiety and move it out of the window.