I’m all for exposure therapy and reducing anxiety the old-fashioned way, but sometimes it’s fun to (accidentally) think outside the box.
Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve stumbled across 2 tricks for muffling or reducing how much social anxiety I feel in the situation in question.
Trick #1: Take Off My Glasses
This will admittedly not work if you have good eyesight without glasses.
I need glasses for distance — I wear them all day.
We took the kids to the swimming pool the other weekend, and I decided to leave my glasses in the locker for a change. (I needed a break from getting pool-water spots all over my lenses and I wanted to show the kids how to use their new goggles.)
The unexpected side effect?
I couldn’t read people’s facial expressions!
This was freeing (if a little headache-inducing) because:
We tend to be hypervigilant, always scanning our surroundings for threats in the form of negative expressions (or body language).
I didn’t realize how much I was scanning and being hypervigilant until I couldn’t do it anymore. All I could see was whatever was right up close to me, so just my kids and husband.
It was like putting noise-cancelling headphones on my eyes! I had a much less stressful time swimming than I normally do.
I haven’t tested this in a more open space like the mall yet.
And obviously this won’t work for driving anxiety… please wear your glasses behind the wheel.
But maybe try going glasses-free in a safe test environment and let me know!
Trick #2: Leave Voice Notes
DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN SEND VOICE NOTES IN MESSENGER AND INSTAGRAM?
I did not know this until a wonderful human I recently connected with on Instagram (@mckenzie_valenta) sent me a “hello” message, and I wanted to give it a try and reply.
I thought it was so great! One of my biggest anxiety triggers is the phone. Receiving calls, making calls, listening to voice messages… all of it.
But the key to reducing anxiety is to ease into your fears. Baby steps up the fear ladder.
- For me, making phone calls and answering the phone is still way up there, anxiety-wise.
- But sending a voice note? That, I can do. It’s still scary, but it’s manageable-scary.
SURPRISE! HERE’S MY VOICE! I cannot guarantee audio quality as I have never done this before.
I’ve started sending messages to friends and relatives, and I feel so much more connected to them!
The audio message sends as soon as you lift your finger off the microphone icon, so you can’t re-record and “perfect” your message endlessly.
I totally recommend this as a way to keep in touch with people, and not just for those of us who have social anxiety! It’s so intimate and heartwarming to hear your friend’s voice once in a while.
Next step: VIDEO MESSAGES?!
What Do You Think?
Would you be up for trying either of these tricks? Or do you have some tricks that I should try? 🙂
Thanks for reading!