Anxiety is real. It is something everybody deals with at different times in their lives and for different reasons. Even though we like to paint anxiety with broad brushstrokes, the truth is: there are all types of anxiety.
Currently, many of us are dealing with social anxiety. Returning to “normal life” following the pandemic is exciting and wonderful, but it does not come without its challenges and fears. After more than a year of isolation, we can move through this social anxiety, grow from it and live an even more joyful life on the other side of it. But what can we do to feel in control as we do so? What can we do to feel powerful in powerless situations? How can we stand in our truth, and finally feel some sense of normalcy inside when the world feels not normal?
We utilize Logotherapy at Soul Centered, leaning heavily on some of the fundamental techniques inspired by Dr. Viktor Frankl. One of Dr. Frankl’s primary techniques is “Paradoxical Intention”, which turns one’s attention toward the problem in a more intense, focused, even exaggerated way.
By using Paradoxical Intention, you can take back your power from your social anxiety through facing it, embracing it, and transforming it to empower you to confidently get back out into the world.
Here are three practical ways to choose to face your social anxiety and take back your power.
- Write about your anxiety. As you write, you not only get it out of your head, but you literally take control of the story. Start by getting as much out onto paper as possible. Don’t worry about what it looks like or sounds like. Then, go back and circle themes, underline truths, cross out falsehoods and scribble out the lies. Don’t underestimate the power of writing, and as you write, say to yourself, “I’m taking my power back!”
- Talk about your anxiety. The word “abracadabra” is an ancient, kabbalistic word which means, “I create through my words.” Giving a voice to your anxiety does not give it power, but rather gives you power over it. Speak to a professional, a friend, the Divine, the dead, or yourself. As you speak about it, feel yourself taking back the reins of your life and say to yourself, “I’m taking back my power!”
- Laugh about your anxiety. Take back your power through humor, as Dr. Frankl called it, “a weapon of the soul.” Get into your anxiety. Poke fun at it. Find something ridiculous about it. Make fun of yourself, of course in a kind hearted way. Play out the worst case scenarios and give them a ludicrous twist. Imagine the worst parts about your situation and see if you can take them even farther into the depths of the absurd. Really get in there and transform it from a Hollywood Drama into a Saturday Night Live skit. There is always something to laugh about and as you do, laugh to yourself, “I’m taking back my power!”
Are you ready to take back your power?
We would love to hear how you are utilizing these practices to transform your social anxiety into personal empowerment. Please share your stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.