October 1, 2013 at 12:01 pm #14884
People with social anxiety disorder tend to be overly critical of themselves and often believe others are assuming the worst about them. While many people beat themselves up once in a while, people with get stuck on negative views of themselves. I think anyone struggling with social anxiety will agree with this?
Researchers at Stanford have some advice for those prone to social anxiety disorder: meditate.
In a study headed by psychology researcher Philippe Goldin, a research scientist and head of the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience group in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, participants with social anxiety disorder underwent mindfulness training.
After the nine weekly sessions of this form of meditation training, participants were less anxious, thought of themselves more positively and were less depressed.
Before and after meditating, participants went into an MRI scanner that observed their brain activity and were told to decide if various positive and negative adjectives presented on a screen appropriately described them. After meditation, participants were more likely to pick positive words like “admired” and “loved” and less likely to choose negative adjectives like “coward” and “afraid.” The finding suggests that mindfulness meditation might make it easier for people to shift between ways of viewing themselves. The meditation also caused an increase in brain activity in areas that involve visual attention.
People with social anxiety often try to avoid things by diverting their gaze from people and things that might be threatening. But this increase in visual attention “means that instead of running away they were staying with the stimulus,” In many ways we are back to the first item in this forum – to look or not to look!
Anyone any positive experiences of mindfulness practices in this respect?
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