I Wasted Years of My Life Beating Myself Up

In Dr. Richards' audio series, "Overcoming Social Anxiety: Step by Step" one of the therapy handouts focuses on how patients with social anxiety beat themselves up over situations that they thought could have gone better.  

Thoughts like "Did I make a fool of myself? "  "Did I look silly?"   "Did I make too many hand gestures?"  "Did I say the wrong thing?"  

We call this type of thinking "ANTs" thinking because it's an automatic negative thought (ANT) and it's part of a very strong belief system.

Beating yourself up makes you feel down and depressed, which just makes it easier to stay in a bad mood, continuing to blame yourself for something that probably never happened.

Beating ourselves up is incredibly harmful to our recovery because beating ourselves up only makes us focus on the negative and does not allow us to think rationally.  It only makes us worse.  It never helps us get better.

In addition, if you don't stop the cycle of beating yourself up, you are reinforcing all of the negative, irrational beliefs and thoughts that feed your social anxiety.

By catching and stopping yourself when you start to beat yourself up, you are ensuring that your negative self-talk won't have the power over you that it once had.  You will be able to see that even if something bad happened, you can move forward, instead of backward, and that maybe, just possibly, next time could be better.

I've spent too many days being depressed and beating myself up, and I want my life to be different...starting today.

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The Social Anxiety Association

The Social Anxiety Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1997 to meet the growing needs of people with social anxiety.  The SAA became inactive for several years due to lack of resources.  We are in the process of re-doing our website, listing all active, structured CBT groups for social anxiety, and renewing all our licenses.  Major changes will be happening by the end of 2013.  We publish new web content -- concerning social anxiety -- almost daily on the site now.

The Social Anxiety Institute is the largest website on the internet about social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Therapy programs have run at the Institute full-time since 1994.  Major new help for overcoming social anxiety is under development and will be introduced in 2013. 

For treatment: Overcoming social anxiety: Step by Step   A structured guide to overcoming social anxiety (a "How to" guide to get over social anxiety).

The Anxiety Network explains and describes five major anxiety disorders.

Guidelines for listing social anxiety groups on this site.  We cannot officially endorse groups, so check them out thoroughly.  We ask that they be groups that are operating, have a definite leader, and are thoroughly structured.  Social anxiety therapy groups are very different than the groups that operate for other mental health conditions.