Trembling Hands, Blushing, Nervous Sweating…
Social interaction can cause many people to experience bodily reactions that make them feel highly uncomfortable around others. Common problems are blushing in public, sweating, and trembling hands. None of these are harmful in any way, but if people become overly conscious of these symptoms, it can lead to shying away from social contact, sometimes to the point of leaving their jobs. I’ll describe part of the approach I teach people to help them end this problem. I’ll use the example of a trembling hand, but the approach is the same for both blushing and sweating as well.
I’ve communicated with many people—from dental hygienists to professional athletes—who are desperately seeking a way to stop their hands from shaking when they’re anxious or under pressure. In such situations, their careers were directly impacted. Other people may experience trembling hands with less frequency, such as situations in which they have to sign their names in front of others.
The trick to ending this problem is using the opposite approach from what they’re already been trying. Take, for example, the dental hygienist who immediately starts to shake as soon as the patient sits in the chair. It only takes the memory of previous shakes to start her hand trembling. She gets upset by the shakes, and she desperately tries with all her will to make it stop by tensing her hand and arm muscles. All the effort and stress only causes her hand to shake further.
To end the problem, she should reverse her approach. Instead of forcing her hand to be still with all her mental power, she should allow it to shake. In fact, she should encourage it to shake even more. If she can fully accept the shakes and encourage more of them, she ends the pressure she puts herself under, and with that, the shakes begin to fade away. The effort used in trying to stop the anxiety actually caused more of it. This same approach works for nervous sweating and blushing.
Note: if the hygienist didn’t care what others thought of her shaking, then the problem would disappear overnight. None of these problems (blushing, sweating, trembling) are ever a problem if people are alone. The man who cannot sign his name in front of bank clerk can always do it flawlessly when alone. So the problem is directly related to how people feel they’re being perceived in the eyes of others.
To ensure a complete recovery, train yourself to be less worried about the opinions of others. Tackling the social element of this problem is best done through visualizations. Each night, before going to bed, imagine yourself in a situation that would normally produce the reaction you’re trying to stop. This time, however, see yourself responding in the new manner:
My hand is shaking, but I’m not getting upset or embarrassed.
My face is red, but I’m completely composed.
My brow might be wet from sweat, but it doesn’t faze me.
You fully accept whatever way your body behaves, and you don’t get upset. You might even make light of it to those around you. The whole situation passes without any embarrassment.
This takes practice, but the goal is to override the idea of social embarrassment and replace it with acceptance and grace under pressure. Generally, people with social anxieties are too hard on themselves. In most cases, other people are never aware that there’s a problem in the first place. The real issue is in your mind because you distort the reality of the situation.
To learn more on how to tackle this issue I recommend you use my full course Panic Away.
It will not only teach you how to tackle this particular issue but will also help to reduce the feeling of general anxiety that is associated with it.
Click Here To Learn More About Panic Away
9 replies on “Social Phobias“
I really want to thank you for your kind emails. I have been having a terrible time with anxiety and stress and it helps to know that there is somebody like you out there who understands what it is like and wants to help people to get themselves better.
I’m very troubled about having social anxiety and selective mutism. It has seriously affected my functioning at work, social events, interacting w/friends and family. This situation has been going on for 10yrs.or more and overall attribute it to fear(False Evidence Appearing Real). I’ve allowed this insidious behavior control me but after reading some of the testimonies from people using your program, with pracatice and patiences, I know I can overcome it. Thank you for this valuable information and I will begin to use some of the tools you provided at your website. Claiming victory over defeat!!!
What kind of doctor are you..??? You’re really good…! ☺
I took a big gamble to look up this page, as it is not myself that has panic attacks but my grandaughter . I felt a desperate need to find answers for her , she has suffered huge panic attacks since she was eight, she is now almost 19 it all started with a fear of being sick. Recently they are coming more frequent and she feels out of controle, this is also affecting her health as she will not eat just in case she is sick. she rings me up at 4am in the morning to try to calm her down even though her mother is there she needs someone different to tell her she is ok. it is certainly getting more out of controle as she panics 2/3 times a day her whole life is being affected by severe panic attacks she thinks she is a freak and that she is not normal , and no matter how many times you calm her down and tell her she is ok it always comes back .So i am going to show her these pages that i have looked up and saved so she can start believing in herself again as she is such a beautifull person many thanks jen
Thank´s for the information, i have been suffering from this social “disorder” for 2 years, and this information , may be what i need , not focusing in what other people think, but leave the moment pass, without too much worries, or egocentric thoughs, God bless you.
I think that a lot of what u say has been said before Barry but u do seem to be able to put it in easy to comprehend language fo the lay-person.I could put it this way: if u have an exalted idea of what others see you as, and how they should regard u,then u r setting yourself up for a fall.This can be in your own eyes, which leads to our being too hard on ourselves personally.The other case leads to disappointment in the form of lost or diminished pride.This is not to be confused with a healthy self respect, by, both ourselves and in others.Thank you for what you are trying to do in helping others with these afflictions Barry.I am mainly interested in general anxiety and embarra ssment.I have a friend with panic attacks and she tries to drink it away which of course does not work well.Dallas.
Thanks alot for the work your doing.Have been going through the comments of many who suffer from panic attack and how your program has help them. I can identify with some of them.The issue of trembling hands when signing a cheque or writing my name infront of a bank teller or a witness is common.( this always leaves me feeling very low and useless!) When i am alone i dont have a problem at all. Will try your advice.
Thanks once again and God bless
Hi+thanks Barry!+ responders. I’ve been experimenting w your “fixes” + gotten some interesting + good results (+more self info).
I had recently noticed a new phenom of gradually increasing panic…turned out in these cases to be instead of thirst/hunger signals! I’m trying to not repress these initially faint signals pleading for my attention, to listen instead+respond, to reassure my body by talk+action that I am caring about its needs! To have an air of caring inquiry rather than judgement.
As a psychtherapist, I find your solutions sound+your consistent, confident, caring, knowledgeable,experimental manner respectful+supportive.
Thanks for the MiniCourse,+Good Luck to all!
I want to thank Barry for the free emails. I was having panic attacks and was oblivious to what they were. I simply thought that I was having a heart attack! When I had had 15-18 panic attacks in 4 weeks, I felt alone, scared, and had the feeling that something was horribly wrong. I figured that it was an illness that had been undetected. I googled “panic attacks” and began to cry because I began to realize that I was not alone! All of the other symptoms that I hid from my family and Drs. for example; fear of stopping in traffic, red lights, etc was shared by others who suffer from anxiety disorder. The email about telling the panic attack to “bring it on” I believe, started the first step to eliminating these terrible panic attacks. When I get into my car I always have a fear that I will have one while driving. Now I get into my car and tell the panic attack that I am not afraid of it, that it won’t kill me, and I’m not abnormal!! Recognizing my symptoms helped as well. So thank you for the emails. They are defiinitely helping in every way. I haven’t had a panic attack now in months even during stressful events. Thank You and May God continue to bless you!!!!
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