Positive Affirmations for Social Anxiety: Do’s and Don’ts
If you’ve been thinking about using positive affirmations for social anxiety, you must read this article first or you might do yourself more harm than good.
You have probably heard of positive affirmations as a solution to almost everything: from depression and anxiety to business and dating success.
But do they truly work?
Can repeating positive statements turn your life around?
Is it really that simple?
Before I tell you whether you should use positive affirmations to help you overcome social phobia, let’s take a look at some important facts related to the functioning of our mind.
Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interconnected and influence one another. Thoughts create feelings and vice versa. I personally believe it goes both ways, but scientists and psychologists don’t always seem to agree which one comes first – a thought or a feeling.
Behavior comes as a consequence of our thoughts and feelings, and it can also change them. For example, if we go out running, our thoughts and feelings will be different than if we stayed in bed resting.
Taking all this into account, the theory of positive affirmations assumes that if we think and say positive thoughts, positive feelings and behavior will follow. Makes perfect sense, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, but the reason why not is simple. The theory’s assumption is built on a false premise because:
As a result, you can end up generating even more negative emotions and feel even worse.
On the other hand, if you already feel quite good about yourself, thinking a positive thought like “I am confident and attractive” will most likely make you feel even more confident and attractive. There’s no big gap between the statement and how you already feel, so the statement reminds you of your positive qualities and reinforces your positive feelings.
So what can you do if you have social anxiety, which means that your self-confidence is at the rock bottom?
Does that mean that you should avoid positive affirmations for social anxiety at all cost?
Not at all. Repeating positive affirmations actually helped me a lot. However, using this method alone will not overcome a complex condition like social anxiety. As a side note, if you’d like to learn more powerful methods for overcoming social anxiety, stay tuned and sign up for my emails on top of the page or in the sidebar!
3 Things To keep In Mind When You’re Deciding Whether To Use Affirmations Or Not
1. Always listen to your feelings.
How does repeating an affirmation make you feel? If it makes you feel better, then by all means, go for it. If it doesn’t make you feel good, read next point.
2. If an affirmation brings up unpleasant feelings, you can adjust it in a way that will make you feel good.
For example, if you suffer from low self-confidence and depression, saying “I am very confident and full of joy” will probably feel fake and create an inner resistance to these words. So what you can do is find a statement that is more neutral and feels more real. You might say “I feel better and stronger every day,” or “I am more in peace with myself with each day passing.”
These are just examples to illustrate the point – you should find your own statements that make you feel better.
One of my favorites is “I am completely calm and relaxed deep within.” While saying that, I also intentionally bring up the memory of a moment when I was calm and relaxed.
Another one of my favorites is “I am connected to other people with harmony.” Once again, besides just pronouncing the words, I intentionally bring up the feeling of a moment when I felt that with someone. It could be a close friend or a family member. Then I imagine experiencing this peaceful feeling with other people as well.
Remember, the whole point is to create new, positive feelings, not just to pronounce words. Words themselves are just letters put together. You are the one who gives words meaning and with meaning come emotions.
If you cultivate positive feelings through affirmations regularly every day, those feelings grow and become a natural part of you.
3. When choosing your affirmations, consider the following:Our subconscious mind takes our statements literally. If you use affirmations in the future tense, your feelings will most likely reflect the absence of what you want because you project the desired outcome somewhere in the future. As long as you project it in the future, it will stay there and you won’t be cultivating the feeling of having what you desire here and now. In the same way, if you say “I want…,” the feeling you will create will reflect exactly that: wanting. The feeling of wanting and not already having is probably not something you are looking for.
This brings me to the next point: Don’t use words that imply a struggle or lack of something, like “want,” “wish,” and “try.” For example, instead of saying “I want to feel relaxed,” or “I will try to stay calm,” say “I am more and more relaxed every day,” or “I am completely calm.” Our subconscious mind doesn’t know the words “no,” “don’t” and “not” very well. So instead of “I am not feeling anxious,” say “I am at peace,” or “I am calm and relaxed.” Use only positive words and statements. Besides the “no” and “not,” it’s also better not to use any words associated with unhelpful states. For example, don’t say “I am overcoming social anxiety.” Instead, say something like “I am connected with other people in harmony.” You can even use a general affirmation like “I am calm and relaxed deep within me.” Keep your sentences short and simple. Use only present tense and speak as if it’s already happening. Once you choose your favorite affirmations, write them down and stick with them for at least one month. It’s important to repeat the same affirmations regularly to truly imprint them into your mind. Using different affirmations every time is far less effective.
To sum it up, when you want to use positive affirmations:
Examples of positive affirmations for overcoming social anxiety
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration on what kind of positive affirmations to use for overcoming social anxiety, here are some that I like and used with success:I am completely calm and relaxed deep within. This inner peace is expanding into everything surrounding me.
I am connected to other people with harmony, love and compassion.
I trust in the infinite abilities of my higher self.
I allow the infinite power of my higher self to guide me.
I am ok, I can do this.
Everything is ok.
Everything will be ok. (Yes, I break one of the rules here because sometimes things really aren’t ok and it just feels good to remind ourselves that everything changes and that it will be ok. As long as using the future tense is an occasional exception to the rule, it’s fine.)
I connect with people openly and spontaneously.
I can always find something good in every person I meet.
I focus on everything that’s good in my life, no matter how small it might seem.
I am in complete harmony with myself and others.
I am more confident with every passing day.
I feel stronger with every passing day.
Complete peace and harmony are taking over my whole being.
I am grateful for all the good people and things in my life.
Relationships enrich me and help me grow.
I welcome new friends into my life, and they welcome me warmly as well.
All the power is within me.
Use the affirmations above or create your own. They will help you redirect your unhelpful thoughts from anxious and depressive overthinking to a more constructive and helpful train of thoughts.
If you find that positive affirmations bring up even more unhelpful emotions within you, you might want to try hypnosis. The big advantage of hypnotherapy is that when we are under hypnosis, the conscious mind is less present than subconscious, and therefore our mind doesn’t “object” to the positive statements that are induced to us. Hypnosis influences our feelings directly, which is why hypnotherapies can be so powerful and effective.
Check out my article on hypnosis to find out more about it and discover my proved and tested resources for learning and practicing self-hypnosis.
If you’re committed to overcoming social anxiety and are ready to attack it from all sides, check out my extensive guide “Bye bye, Social Anxiety”. In the guide I talk about several different aspects you need to put into practice (and how to do it) in order to grow rock-solid confidence and develop peace from within.
Let me know how affirmations work for you and feel free to ask questions in the comments below. If you enjoyed this article, spread the love and share it on your favorite social media!