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Learn to Live LLC
P.O. Box 19672
Minneapolis, MN 55419
DATE OF LAST MODIFICATION
December 31, 2014
Learn to Live LLC (“we”, “us”, “our” or the “Company”) operates the site located at www.learntolive.com (the “Site”) providing, among other services, self-help information and skill development based on the fundamentals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to educate people with social anxiety and related issues (the “Service”). The Site should be regarded as a general approach to self-development and not as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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Learn to Live LLC
P.O. Box 19672
Minneapolis, MN 55419
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Learn to Live LLC
P.O. Box 19672
Minneapolis, MN 55419
Date of last modification
December 31, 2014
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, or Safari
Adobe Flash (v. 10 or later); Adobe Reader (required to view PDF files); desktop computer, laptop computer, or iPad 4 (or later)*
*The Social Anxiety Program is not currently available for mobile devices such as phones and tablets.
Turning your audio on and having occasional access to a printer are recommended to maximize your experience.
Physicist Richard Feynman once noted, “You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you’re finished, you’ll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird… So let’s look at the bird and see what it’s doing—that’s what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.” This week, I want you to get to know more about your social situation. If you have social anxiety, you no doubt already understand that certain social situations can be complex and challenging. But it’s one thing to recognize the difficult situations and quite another to understand the difficulty itself.
Each day, our bodies and minds are collecting data automatically. We sense that the water is too hot to touch, smell rotten food and know it’s time to take the garbage out, or notice the car merging and move over before we collide. I’d like to challenge you to consciously collect data about your social situation, i.e. the people around you and your own actions. You may think, “Why do I need to collect data? What kind of information would I collect, anyway?”
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) uses data collection in a unique way. You will be collecting information about what REALLY happens in a difficult social situation. For example, a trip to a restaurant may involve you thinking SO much about talking to the server, making dinner conversation, or wondering what others think of you, that you don’t actually notice the interactions. Was the server actually rude to you? Did people find you interesting? Were people staring at you, or were they involved with their own conversation, enjoying their food or texting on their smart phone? These are the interesting and useful data points for a social anxiety sufferer.
Collecting this data can actually be fun. Think of yourself as Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible: this is your mission should you choose to accept it:
Mission accomplished! The more you are able to take a step back and collect information about your surroundings, the more you may find that most of the time, your dire predictions do not come true. You are taking steps to improve your life, learning to live again.
* But here’s the thing—people who have no anxiety problem tend to assume that things in life are just fine unless there is compelling evidence that something will go wrong, or has already. The opposite is true for those of us with problem anxiety, who automatically predict that bad things will happen (or assume that have happened already) unless we see compelling evidence to the contrary. So, as we collect these data, we want to be aware of this unfair bias we make, and try to think more like less-anxious people. We want to be looking for COMPELLING evidence that we are being judged, gossiped about, stared are, or viewed as boring. Time to bring a high standard for evidence here—we have not found compelling evidence that someone is judging us if they simply don’t smile at us enough, or evidence that they are bored with us, simply because they go talk to another. Most of us think we can read others’ minds, but we can’t. So we need hard evidence here.
Tags: Anxiety, CBT, cognitive behavioral therapy, data collection, dealing with social anxiety, dr. russ morfitt, help for social anxiety, learn to live, Learn to Live Online Social Anxiety Program, learntolive.com, social anxiety, social anxiety disorder, social phobia
This post was written by Dr. Russ Morfitt