If you would like to know how to be more social then a useful technique on breathing for help with social anxiety that Sean discusses in The Shyness and Social Anxiety System could be useful to you! What Sean writes about and discusses here is something called your Diaphragmatic Breathing.
Essentially what this is about is not to breathe using shallow breaths but instead breathe using stomach and not your chest. This is an automatic response and kicks in when you sense you’re in potential danger. Danger in the context of shyness is the fear, or the fear of rejection or the fear of what people might think of you if you say or do something. This can ultimately make you feel more shy and fuel social anxiety.
So one of the tips on overcoming shyness is to breathe slowly which will help stabilise your voice too. Your voice may sound weak and may waver if you’re feeling social awkwardness or feeling under pressure in social situations.
Another one of the symptoms of social anxiety disorder / shyness is cold hands. This is due to the shallow breathing as mentioned above. When your breathing is more shallow, this means the body doesn’t receive the necessary oxygen needed for your blood cells. This can mean while your arms are nice and warm the hands and tips of your fingers remain cold because the oxygen isn’t able to get pumped that far.
So as you can see breathing in different way may subtly improve how your physical wellbeing and also may make you feel a little less anxious.
So just how do you breathe with your stomach and ease the shyness and social anxiety symptoms described above? I tried doing the technique that Sean suggested and to be honest it was weird and felt rather alien. You don’t usually pay attention to how you breathe as you just do it without thinking.
However when someone shows you there is another way to do it and you can actually see the differences in the way you breathe it does make you think and perhaps raise an eyebrow!
So onto actually how to do it so you guys and girls can give it a try!
1) Sean suggests doing this lying down initially and this is a good idea as you need to get relaxed and comfy and try to relax your neck and shoulder muscles as much as possible.
2) Place one hand over your belly button, and the other on your chest
3) Breathe normally and as usual. Pay attention to what moves. If your chest and shoulders move up and down then you’re breathing is using the shallow method.
4) When you breathe in, your stomach / belly should expand and rise and when you breathe back out your stomach should contract and lower again. The chest and shoulders should not move at all.
5) You need to take long and slow breaths and also breathe through the nose and slowly release it out through the mouth, as if you are breathing out a candle and easing the breath out naturally without forcing it.
This method of breathing is likely to be completely different and go against what you normally and naturally do without thinking. However with regular practice you should be able to make this a routine and make this method feel normal and natural.
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