Stop Social Anxiety – Why Willpower Doesn’t Cut It

One day, inspiration and adrenaline smacks you in the face. You feel enlightened, ready to take on the world, ready to take massive leaps to overcome social anxiety. Bursting with energy and willpower, the first day goes great! The next day is pretty good too. However, a week or two later, that feeling has worn somewhat and you slump back into hiding, your hard work disappearing back to nothing.

Many, many people try to overcome their state of mind using just this. The sad fact is most people can’t beat social phobia with just sheer willpower. It is a very temporary state. As you probably know from experience, overcoming social anxiety isn’t as simple as just getting out there and ‘doing it’.

Willpower comes and goes, fades in and out. Psyching oneself up over long periods of time just doesn’t work. Instead, use careful planning and set yourself up for success (no direction for all that willpower is wasted energy anyhow).

Limited energy is not the only reason why pure willpower doesn’t cut it. While consciously you may be completely aware that your fear of social situations is irrational, all your subconscious knows is that social equals danger. The aim of overcoming social anxiety is to re-train your subconscious on how it views certain situations. Your subconscious doesn’t listen to willpower.

Secondly, when trying to beat social phobia, you have a very strong rope pulling you back. You may not consciously realise it, but you have a certain pleasure in avoiding situations and pretty much just staying at home. Your mind thrives on this comfort and doesn’t want to let go. That is one heck of an obstacle to overcome and few people can hurdle it on will and energy alone. Some people that do manage to escape this ‘pleasure’ for a few years end up going back to it because the pull is so strong.

So how does one stop this? You have to create some sort of alternative that gives you the same sort of pleasure that avoiding social situations does. Without this alternative, you will keep going back to your old ways.

So, be careful if you are acting on willpower. This may get you going, but you need to be able to keep going. Willpower as your only motivation won’t accomplish large obstacles. You may go well for a few days, but as established, you won’t be able to keep it up. It wears off too quickly. Also, you need to have something to replace your old habit or you will drift back to your old ways. Find a strategy that works for you. This may take some trial and error. There are many techniques out there within both therapy and self help.