WHAT IS SOCIAL ANXIETY?
Social anxiety is the third largest psychological problem in the world today, but few people understand this.
A woman hates to stand in line in the grocery store because she’s afraid that everyone is watching her.
A man finds it difficult to walk down the street because he is self-conscious and feels that people are watching him from their windows. A man hates to go to work because a meeting is scheduled the next day. He knows that these meetings always involve co-workers talking with each other about their current projects.
One of the worst circumstances, though, is meeting people who are “authority figures” such as bosses and supervisors at work. The anxiety level is very high and they’re so focused on “not failing” and “giving themselves away” that they don’t even remember what was said in the conversation.
Current research has shown that cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly successful in the treatment of social anxiety.
Yoga offers a solution to this type of problem through physical as well as breathing and meditation practices.
According to yoga this problem of social phobia/anxiety is recognized as excessive concentration of mind on you limitedness. The fact is that you are made of the unlimited stuff. The basic stuff of the universe with which we are all made of, is described as “Anantam” – endless, margin less and expansion. It is the years of habit of focused thinking that has coned on to this level of excessive concentration on inferiority complex. Hence the remedy for this social anxiety is to realize your true nature. Go on remembering “I am unlimited”, “I am made of the same stuff as all others around me”. “Every one loves me”, etc. Repeating this sentence several times in the day will be possible only after you have come out of the whirlpool of the speeded up loop of the mind which is pulling you down into the bottom of the river that shows up as anxiety and loss of self esteem.
- Step I of yoga : “Recognition is half solution to the problem”. During your good moments, look at your own mind and get a glimpse of “What is freedom”. Try to relive that anxiety and make out the building up of the speed and constriction that is resulting in social anxiety
- Step II : Reduce the speed of the mind. Start with gross level practices such as (a) simple vegetarian food. Food has enormous influence on mind which you may not make out now. It is only possible to recognize this effect much later when your mind is softer. Hence have faith in the experience of others who are softer, confident and blissful and follow the injunctions. If you eat non-vegetarian and spicy food mind becomes constricted; if you drink juices, eat vegetables, fruits and freshly cooked ( and served with love) grains without much spices, mind expands. (b) Cleansing technique – Sage Vasista says that constricted and speeded up manomaya kosa has settled down in pranamaya kosa as blockage of Nadis, in unhealthy functioning of nervous and digestive systems. Hence Kriyas, clean up the internal organs including digestive (dhouti), respiratory (kapalabhati) and nervous(trataka) systems. In initial days (3 to 4 weeks) you may perform these kriyas daily, later on, one has to do it once in a week. (c) Dynamic yoga asanas going on to advanced complex asanas. Fast dynamic repetition of simple. Movements of body followed by simple asanas in the best way to release the prana blocks in different nadis. Try this simple experiment. Do fast jogging for 100 counts and deserve the state of your mind you will be surprised to see that the mind slows down, anxiety vanishes and you feel every one around you are so loving and caring. When you go on with more and more difficult postures in which you maintain with feeling of ease and expansion it becomes an enjoyable experience.
When you are much upset and have to face a difficult situation, do Kapalabhati. Fast breathing used several times in the day is the best instantaneous remedy for releasing your mind. It may be a very temporary remedy but it is your own self corrective technique. Hence before you face your boss, do Kapalabhati and enter his room; then you can immediately remember your unlimited nature and not allow yourself to get lost in your loop of self annihilating thoughts.
Step 3 : is working directly with the mind. Japa is a wonderful tool. Since you have enormous capacity to concentrate, shift your mind after pranayama to Japa. Repeat long sentence (4 to 10 words) about your ishtadevata (beloved deity) at least 108 times per day. Fast repetition of the same name can work miracles during the episode of anxiety to shift your focus. Once the shift has happened even momentarily, you are ready for Step 4.
Step 4: Resolve. Repeating a sentences such as “I am confident”, “I am made of consciousness”, “I am unlimited” etc. is the way to completely come out of the whirlpool after you have struggled physically hard to move from the bottom of the river.
What a joyful sigh of relief when you can take one single breath of fresh air as soon as you are out of the water! The fight has succeeded by your self effort resulting in total effortless expansion and freedom from anxiety.
Read spiritual scriptures that describe your true nature for half an hour every. Start the day by repeating and dwelling on the thoughts of morning prayer “pratasmarana slokas by Shankaracharya, “Pratasmarami Hridisamphuradatma tatvam…………”.
Repeated regular practice for one hour daily of Asanas, pranayama, concentration practices and reading books can change your system remarkably even within days.
- Sit in Padmasana
- Extend your arms in front on the floor, arms parallel to each other.
- Lift your buttocks up and shift your body forward, lie on your abdomen so that the Padmasana faces the floor.
- Now slowly perform namaskara mudra at your back, palms fully touching each other.
- Inhaling lift the chest upward, look straight, maintain the posture with normal breathing.