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We all have a safe zone. This is where we are calm, quite happy and don’t worry about stuff all the time. There’s only one problem with the safe zone: if you allow it, you could quickly create a tiny space where you thrive and everything else becomes off-limits.
One of the key ways to build your confidence and reduce your anxiety is to gently and gradually push these boundaries away. Yes, this is difficult, but the rewards you gain are huge. If you are willing to leave your comfort zone, you might just find that it opens up to accommodate new things. And that’s how you gain a rich, full and healthy life.
Create Small Tests
One of the first things to do is to write a list of things that cause you to worry. For someone who struggles with social anxiety, this could be a list including meeting new people, going to a party or talking on the phone. Whatever your anxieties are, be honest with yourself, what are you avoiding and what makes you anxious?
Next, rate your fears out of 10. This step is important because you should expand your boundaries slowly. Facing your biggest 10/10 fear straight off isn’t likely to work but facing a fear that is closer to 6/10 is enough discomfort to be worthwhile but not so much that you will make yourself ill!
Set Your Experiments
A behavioral experiment is simply a way to face a particular fear. Just do one fear at a time and build up slowly. An experiment can be anything and should work to eradicate your anxieties. The best experiments are basic in that they aim to resolve one anxiety at a time and gradually building up to your biggest fears.
So, if the idea of performing your own music in public makes you feel shaky and anxious, you might consider performing for some friends first. Then once you’ve done that and you feel more confident, you could consider doing an open mic night. This article will give you an idea of what’s out there: What are the best places for open mic nights in Texas?
Track Your Progress
It’s easy to forget just how far we have come. This is why it’s important to set your experiments and record what happened from what your fear was to what the actual results were. Often, our anxieties project the worst case scenario but the reality shows us that this isn’t a guaranteed result.
As you build up your experiments, you will see that it is possible to push your boundaries out and extend your comfort zone. It’s okay to feel nervous before a performance but it’s not okay to allow that to develop into paralyzing anxiety. This is true of any anxiety: if it prevents you going ahead, you need to think about why that is and gently push at the belief.
Proving your anxieties wrong over and again is the best way to build your self-belief and confidence. Just look at all the evidence you have.