Dealing with Social Anxiety: Don’t Forget to Breathe

Ever find yourself unable to speak in class, despite the fact that you’re the smartest person in the room?

Are you seemingly unable to say hi to a cute girl even when she makes it painfully obvious that she’s into you?

Is it impossible for you to engage in small talk with others?

I’ve written about my own social anxiety before. Even though I have made huge personal progress in the last couple of years by practicing NoFap, meditating, and visualizing, social anxiety is still a problem for me. My chest tightens whenever I’m forced to talk to a stranger. If I’m called on in class, it takes every bit of willpower I have to keep from tripping over my tongue, despite the fact that I’m better prepared than my fellow classmates.

I’ve written before about the necessity of positive self talk for overcoming personal shortcomings, but that is a more advanced topic. If social situations make you nervous, there’s a simple, actionable step that you can implement today.

Don’t forget to breathe.

Yes, it really is that simple.

When I’m feeling the most anxious, when I’m unable to speak and my brain is sabotaging me with messages of inferiority, I’ve noticed I’m also not breathing. A calm, deep breath can make all the difference in the world. While it’s certainly not a magic bullet to get you laid with the cute blonde girl that works in the library (I’m still working on that one), it’s amazing how big of a difference simply taking a breath will make.

In my bigger classes, my default is to forget to breathe and close off my body language, like a little beta monkey. If I fall into that trap, I feel increasingly anxious to the point where I’m trapped inside my own head, not even present in the real world. That’s no way to live life.

Instead, I have to consciously catch myself (that’s where meditation comes in). I lift my chin up and take a nice, long inhale. I imagine the air as a powerful antioxidant, rushing in and cleansing my body of all anxiety. Then I take my seat with my legs spread wide, my shoulders back, and my arms open.

Ahh, that’s better.


Do you suffer from social anxiety? Do you ever forget to breathe? What tips work best to help you minimize your anxiety? Share your experiences in the comments below.

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