The recently amended CDC mask mandate means another step toward the return to “normal” life again. Although this is exciting, many people are feeling an increase in social anxiety with this news. What can we do to feel in control? 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 recently explained three practical steps to productively face your social anxiety, but this time, we’re digging deeper. Throughout the pandemic and life in quarantine, we’ve all experienced trauma. Whether we realize it or not, we’ve been forced to make a decision every day to either avoid the pain our anxieties and trauma have been causing us, or align with our spiritual truth, which helps release our anxiety and stress.

Avoidance can look like eating and drinking more, watching too much Netflix, shopping, using drugs, or excessive social media use. While trying to keep our mind off of our anxiety and fear, we become exhausted and disconnected from ourselves as well as others. In turn, this emotion suppression forbids the release of any tension, pushing it deeper and deeper into our minds, eventually causing more stress and a downward spiral. 

The healthier option is to confront our anxiety and heal the trauma. Here are the three ways to get there.

Step 1: Root

Fear, doubt, and anxiety throw us off balance and threaten to destroy our foundation, even more so than the world’s instability. When we face our social anxiety, we are presented with the opportunity to understand and find compassion for where our fear originates. Taking the time to find the root allows us to have better control over how we greet and handle our feelings. Being kind and forgiving ourselves is the best way to release anxiety and stress, opening space for more positive feelings. By understanding the roots of your emotions, you demonstrate control over your anxiety. 

Step 2: Align

Aligning with your highest truth happens when you exert the great pause. The great pause is when we slow down or stop, leading us to think about and make the best decisions. Instead of making rash decisions based on anxiety and fear, ask yourself, “How can I best serve in every situation in my life?” Taking time to consider the most practical outcomes allows us to focus on our mental and physical well being as well as open our hearts to healing and love. Thinking with both the mind and heart reminds us that our anxiety and stress do not control us. Pausing thus presents the opportunity to live by our highest and best decisions.

Step 3: Feel

When we slow down, our emotions arise and invite us to feel, ultimately healing anxiety. Anxiety is the inability to pause and truly feel. Giving our minds and hearts permission to feel and release anxiety and stress allows us to live in peace. It will take time to heal our minds and bodies, but confronting, understanding, and accepting our anxiety allows us to participate in a higher way of thinking and living. 

Be sure to prioritize yourself for the rest of the month of May. Your mental health is more important than ever during this awareness month and transition to a post-pandemic world. If you use these practices to transform your social anxiety into self-empowerment, please share your story with us at infro@mysoulcentered.org.