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Generally Speaking

Feel the fear - social anxiety

A big part of the problem with social anxiety is a side effect of how fear works in human beings. With very good reason fear generalises, from one situation to the next.

For example if one of our ancestors was out hunting, and a tiger jumps out form behind a bush and chases us, fear kicks in and if we’re lucky keeps us alive.  However this fear response wouldn’t be much use if the next day a different tiger jumps out from behind a bush, and we weren’t afraid because it was a different tiger.

Our fear responses naturally generalise to ALL tigers.

tiger-fear-social-anxiety

Now our imagined ancestor also goes back to his tribe, and tells his family and friends about this tiger.  As humans we are capable of becoming afraid of just a story, idea or word.  So once he has told everyone about the tiger, how it chased him and he ran away, there will be a whole group of people who never saw the tiger that will be afraid of simply the idea of a tiger.  This is fear, generalised in the service of survival and via language and imagination.

Fear generalising has kept us alive and is in many ways a necessary adaptation to the world.

But in social anxiety this process can quickly turn against us.

A man is wrapped in red tape reading fear representing the paral

Often in social anxiety, fear of ideas and fear “over-generalising” is a part of the problem.  For instance, one bad embarrassing and fearful experience socially can quickly take root and drive fear of things and situations that may not actually be a threat to our survival.

Using the skills in my approach can help you overcome and learn how to better understand this process and manage your social anxiety.  While we might be wired this way, it’s entirely possible to manage our mind, body, behaviour and relationships so that social anxiety doesn’t take over your life.

All the best, Kyle

 

 

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