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Social Anxiety As Spiritual Practice

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about social anxiety and how we can use it as a kind of spiritual practice. So as we go about daily life, I think most of us do experience some form of being concerned or worried about what other people think of us, you know, wanting their approval, feeling a bit nervous around them, a bit tense, or even inferior around other people. Sometimes it might be really subtle, like a background unease or nervousness. And other times, it can be really quite uncomfortable, really even debilitating.

And importantly, it can really get in the way of true connection with another person. Instead of true connection, we might get kind of caught up in trying to impress them, trying to be better than them in some way, you know, prettier, smarter, more successful or more knowledgeable. So at the heart of social anxiety like this lies the primal fears of the human mind. We all have these two primal fears. They are one, the fear that we're not enough.

And two, the fear we won't be. We have these fears because of the way our mind evolved. You know, in order to survive in the caveman days, you had to fit in the tribe, with the group. If you got rejected, humans just didn't survive. Humans really only survived in packs in those days.

So because of that, we all have these two fears and we tend to constantly seek the approval of others. So, what does the mind do to ensure that it will be approved of? It constantly assesses: Am I good enough? Am I contributing enough? Am I special enough? Am I doing anything that's going to get me rejected? This hypervigilance in the mind is what makes us feel kind of fear and unease around others. But we can transform this kind of social anxiety into a part of our mindfulness practice with three steps. First, when you noticed any kind of anxiety or nervousness arising in social settings, just notice that the nervousness is really just made up of body sensations. You know, a little rise in heart rate, maybe a funny feeling in the tummy, whatever that is, you know, maybe a bit sweaty palms.

And see if you can just relax with the sensations, just accept them and stay present and grounded rather than allowing the mind to go off on a tangent of evaluating and comparing and worrying. Secondly, remember that these primal fears are really just like an out of date software program running in the human mind. We don't live in tribes now. And so if this person doesn't like you or decides that they aren't really very interested in you, or if they're better looking than you or whatever, it's not going to harm you or injure you in any way. And rejection now doesn't equal deaths.

So remind yourself that you're fundamentally okay at the core of your being, no matter what anyone thinks of you. And third instead of just being focused on what other people think of you, try to, you know, or trying to get their approval, put all your focus on being truly interested in them, who they are, what their story is, what's going on inside of them. Really give them your presence and enjoy the sense of genuine connection and greater ease and confidence that this brings. So that's the invitation to use any social anxiety as a spiritual practice. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us.

And let's now settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

Social Anxiety As Spiritual Practice

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Duration

Your default time is based on your progress and is changed automatically as you practice.

Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness. Today, I'm going to talk about social anxiety and how we can use it as a kind of spiritual practice. So as we go about daily life, I think most of us do experience some form of being concerned or worried about what other people think of us, you know, wanting their approval, feeling a bit nervous around them, a bit tense, or even inferior around other people. Sometimes it might be really subtle, like a background unease or nervousness. And other times, it can be really quite uncomfortable, really even debilitating.

And importantly, it can really get in the way of true connection with another person. Instead of true connection, we might get kind of caught up in trying to impress them, trying to be better than them in some way, you know, prettier, smarter, more successful or more knowledgeable. So at the heart of social anxiety like this lies the primal fears of the human mind. We all have these two primal fears. They are one, the fear that we're not enough.

And two, the fear we won't be. We have these fears because of the way our mind evolved. You know, in order to survive in the caveman days, you had to fit in the tribe, with the group. If you got rejected, humans just didn't survive. Humans really only survived in packs in those days.

So because of that, we all have these two fears and we tend to constantly seek the approval of others. So, what does the mind do to ensure that it will be approved of? It constantly assesses: Am I good enough? Am I contributing enough? Am I special enough? Am I doing anything that's going to get me rejected? This hypervigilance in the mind is what makes us feel kind of fear and unease around others. But we can transform this kind of social anxiety into a part of our mindfulness practice with three steps. First, when you noticed any kind of anxiety or nervousness arising in social settings, just notice that the nervousness is really just made up of body sensations. You know, a little rise in heart rate, maybe a funny feeling in the tummy, whatever that is, you know, maybe a bit sweaty palms.

And see if you can just relax with the sensations, just accept them and stay present and grounded rather than allowing the mind to go off on a tangent of evaluating and comparing and worrying. Secondly, remember that these primal fears are really just like an out of date software program running in the human mind. We don't live in tribes now. And so if this person doesn't like you or decides that they aren't really very interested in you, or if they're better looking than you or whatever, it's not going to harm you or injure you in any way. And rejection now doesn't equal deaths.

So remind yourself that you're fundamentally okay at the core of your being, no matter what anyone thinks of you. And third instead of just being focused on what other people think of you, try to, you know, or trying to get their approval, put all your focus on being truly interested in them, who they are, what their story is, what's going on inside of them. Really give them your presence and enjoy the sense of genuine connection and greater ease and confidence that this brings. So that's the invitation to use any social anxiety as a spiritual practice. As always, thank you for your practice and your presence here with us.

And let's now settle in for today's meditation.

Melli O'Brien

4.8

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