The following is an email correspondence between me and my health coach, Sam Thorne. His response helped me understand where my social anxiety was coming from — and how to manage it — after I moved to a new city and started a new job. However, this advice can be used to manage anxiety associated with other types of change.
Hey Sam! Things have been going well. I'm in Boston now. It's cold but I love it here. Overall, everything is good. However, entering a late stage startup is an interesting experience, especially when you're shy like me. There are a lot of new people to meet, and meeting all these people takes a lot out of me. I get a little anxious and then I can't be myself, which I don't like. What I need to practice is being more optimistic and not taking things so seriously. Meeting all these new people should be fun, and it is, but my nerves get in the way of me enjoying the experience sometimes. I've always been like this and I don't like it. Usually it's manageable but now it's much harder because there are so many changes going on. I know things will calm down soon, but I want to enjoy the moments I'm currently living. Each day, I feel a little more comfortable around everyone, so this anxiety problem will eventually go away. I'll come away stronger and more confident because of the experience. Everyone I work with is awesome. Everyone is friendly, personable, and approachable. They have a really great culture there. I'm fortunate to be part of it. I think they all like me, too. I hope my true personality is showing through even though I'm tired yet on edge. I think it is. Anyways, I wanted to join a great team with amazing people, and that is a success. Check. I also wanted to join a team with an awesome product, and I learned today how awesome the product is. One of the product marketers gave me a demo of it. While I don't want to make a lifetime career out of marketing/writing for businesses, this is a good place be for the foreseeable future before I start writing and selling some screenplays! Again, I'm very fortunate, and I'm here because of some luck and hard work I put in over the past four months. As for my screenplay and learning Spanish, those are both on hold right now. I'll probably pick up writing my screenplay after the holidays. I just need a lot of rest right now. The AirBNB I'm currently staying at while I find an apartment close to the city is pretty far away from work and I have to take public transportation. I've also been walking ~4 miles per day so I'm getting some good exercise in the very cold weather. I have a love/hate relationship with the cold. It makes you appreciate the warmth of a home so much! I'm excited to move into a new apartment close to work and the city (looking at some lofts right now), but, again, I'm going to try to enjoy the AirBNB as much as possible when I'm here. The host is friendly and she has a cute dog. The space is also comfortable and classy. It's professionally designed, so that's cool! So this is what's going on with my life right now. Lots of changes. Lots of great people. More anxiety than usual, but slowly adapting. There is a meditation session at work tomorrow morning so that will be nice. I'm definitely going to do an EBR3 session before that too after I wake up and shower. This has become a favorite of mine! If you have any recommendations for easing some of my anxiety, I'd love to hear them! Rob
Hello Rob, Thanks for the detailed update, it sounds like a lot of great change, congrats on the job it sounds fantastic! Regarding the anxiety during the beginning, being kind and compassionate to yourself during this process, feelings come up that are natural during this process, during meditation it’s important not to ignore any emotions but simply to watch them, see them for what they are and understand them, suppression of anything causes and feeling of discontent. Lack of sunlight can also be a big player in this so get out whenever you can (I’m a big fan of sunrise as it’s particularly powerful and fresh then). We run like the seasons so going the saker speed and style as summer is not realistic, or those that try to usually burn out to some degree. In order to grow the inner qualities/feelings that you like it takes practice (the practices we did days/weeks/year ago before the defence and tools for now) feed the qualities you’d like through focused attention, e.g. the more we think about fear the more it’s fed and therefore grows, to reduce it we acknowledge it, smile then move to higher aspects and qualities you’d like to expand such as compassion, acceptance, joy etc. There are seeds of both negative and positive qualities in everyone.. this is like habits the more we put our attention to them the more power they have. This is why daily routines are the foundation loosening and strengthening though sustained effort. Take this as a fantastic opportunity to develop your meditation practices while increasing your enjoyment as much as possible. Let you pure fun be your fuel for you all aspects of your working, friendship and health.We often get pushed into self development thorough life-situations, best to look for the fun and the lessons in each tough situation, then gratitude can come about form positive and even from what might seem like negative experiences. 1. Give yourself time to adjust and enjoy the process. Great work keeping up the EBR3 practice! Keep it up. 2. To mix it up you can add Vipariti Karani as your relaxation, it’s a great way to energise and relax after heart opening exercises. https://druyoga.com/yoga-online/video/vipariti-karani. 3. Keep connected with people that give good support and foundation as well as positive learning material (below). Daily comedy is a great way to help loosen the changes so they flow better. Soften the changes though humour and keeping grounded is a great way to go. The more grounded we are the less we worry about things, people and situations. It’s also linked to how much we tolerate pain both physically and emotionally. Having a role model with such qualities is a good way to connect yourself to these qualities. Remember to ask yourself what gives me most energy joy and fulfilment? It’s crucial as with lots of energy it not only offers us the inspiration and drive but at the same time acts as a defence against negative thought patterns and emotions, self criticism and so on..therefore see it as part of your work to feel good. Keep connected with great reading and listening material, it will inspire and keep you on track, below are a couple of recommendations for you: Audible is a great recourse I use for when i’m walking or commuting. I recommend Thich Nhat Hanh, he’s a fantastic teacher on mindfulness which came to the west predominately via his efforts. For books overall this one is fantastic, I highly recommend it, it’s an endless tool I use in my work. Stay in touch if you’ll need anything just let me know, (i’ll be online except key holiday dates). All the best, Sam