Do You Worry Too Much About What Others Think About Your Actions and Appearance?

Do you find yourself worrying too much about being judged by others? Certainly it's a common thing where issues of anxiety, social anxiety, low confidence or low self-esteem are concerned. 

You may worry about doing something embarrassing, saying the wrong thing, or making an idiot of yourself in front of others. Or perhaps you worry about your appearance and what people are thinking when they look at you, and you assume it's some sort of negative appraisal they are carrying out. Such anxious thoughts about being judged can stop you doing things you really want to do, can make you wish the ground would swallow you up if you are around others and can mean you dwell on events and feel bad afterwards.

And whilst all those thoughts and feelings seem very real to you, research shows that you will be overestimating the extent to which your actions and behaviours are noted by others. 

In the video below I explain more about this effect and the research showing that people tend to believe they stand out in the eyes of others more than they actually do.

Read more ... →

Do Others Judge You As Harshly As You Think When You Mess Up? Anxiety & Fear of Failure:

When we mess up, fail at something, do something embarrassing or blunder in some way, we are often certain in our minds that other people are judging us and thinking negatively of us. More than that, we assume they are judging us harshly and think we are an idiot or not good enough or a failure in some way.

In practice, even the thought that you might mess up, fail or do something embarrassing may be enough to even stop you attempting that that thing in the first place. You don't want to end up having people thinking badly of you so you don't take the risk.

But although you may worry about what other people will think about you if you mess up,  are they actually thinking in that way? Are other people really judging you that harshly if you make a mistake? 

I've written in earlier articles about our human tendency to overestimate how much attention other people are paying to our appearance and behaviours and about how we tend to believe that we stand out in the eyes of others more than we actually do (have a read of that previous article here: Why You Should Probably Worry Less About What Other People Think About You - The Research on Fear of Failure and Being Judged). As I write about there, the research shows that a great many of your fears about what others think and fear of failure may be misplaced or exaggerated. Other people are less likely to notice or remember your shortcomings than you typically expect.

Yet is that really also the case where we do something embarrassing or mess up in some way. Do people really judge us as harshly as we might think?

Read more ... →

Can Other People Tell How You Feel? Anxiety About Looking Anxious:

One thing that people with anxiety often worry about is that other people will be able to tell that they are anxious and nervous. Those emotions are so strong inside you that you presume they will spill out of you and be noticed by other people. 

That concern over other people seeing you are anxious can exacerbate your anxiety and make you feel even worse. You start to worry about looking anxious and worry about looking worried.

But is that belief actually true in reality? You may feel strong anxiety internally yet do other people notice this to the extent that you think they will? 

That's what this article is about today. Can other people tell how you feel? Do you really need to feel anxious about looking anxious? 

Read more ... →

Why You Should Probably Worry Less About What Other People Think About You - The Research on Fear of Failure and Being Judged:

When I used to struggle with social anxiety and low self-esteem, one of my biggest fears was the fear of being judged by others.

I would worry incessantly about what other people thought about me as a person and what I said and did. In my teens I went through a stage where I was obsessed about my hair looking ok so that people wouldn't think I looked stupid. There were times in later years where I could be on the verge of an anxiety attack if I thought others might think I looked weird, or if there was a chance of messing up. I would massively overthink everything I was saying and doing to try and avoid being judged and I had a massive fear of failure because of the rejection and negative perceptions others may have.

And one of the biggest things that holds people back, as far as social anxiety and low self-esteem are concerned, is that fear of what other people might think. It can stop you doing things, or even attempting to do things. It can lead to anxiety and overthinking that others will notice you aren't good enough in some way. It can lead to worry about what people you know, or even those you don't know, might be thinking about you. And it can mean missing out or feeling bad because of the fear you might look bad to others in some way.

But are people really that focused on what you are saying and doing all the time? Do they really spend that much time paying attention to you rather than thinking about other things? Do you really need to worry about what other people think about you because of the fear of failure and being judged badly? 

If you worry about what others think about you and you fear failure then the research should provide you with some reassurance that your fears are probably far removed from the reality.

Read more ... →

Latest Video - Hypnotherapy Treatment For Anxiety - How Effective Is It?

In a recent article, I discussed the very latest research that has been recently published about the how effective hypnotherapy is as a treatment for anxiety issues. You can have a read of that article here if you haven't read it yet: The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment for Anxiety.

The research looked into the overall effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a treatment for anxiety and found some pretty awesome evidence and results.

This particular scientific research is pretty important stuff, especially if you are someone currently struggling with anxiety and looking for an evidence based way to deal with it. As it's so important in adding to the knowledge based around treatment for anxiety, I also recorded a short video to talk about the findings.

Read more ... →

Ed Sheeran, Social Anxiety and Feeling Like A Zoo Animal:

In a recent interview with The Sun, Ed Sheeran, the singer, has revealed that he suffers from social anxiety that makes him feel like an 'animal in the zoo.' 

For all the upsides of being famous and wealthy, even that kind of lifestyle can't protect you from social anxiety and Sheeran talks of his constant battle with it. And whilst his lifestyle is a little different from mine (just a little!), I have every empathy with him having battled social anxiety myself from school age and all the way into my thirties. 

Ed Sheeran describes living with social anxiety and the attention that comes with people filming and staring at him as making him feel like a zoo animal. I'd have described my own social anxiety as feeling like 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde' whereby in one situation I would be relaxed, comfortable and at ease and in another situation I would be frozen by fear, overthinking, anxiety and worry. 

Yet whether it's Ed Sheeran, the younger me or one of the many people who come to me for help to overcome it, social anxiety has many familiar patterns that lead to doubt, insecurity, lack of trust and fear.  The better news is that all of these anxious thoughts, feelings, beliefs, patterns and behaviours can all be tackled, amended and changed.

Read more ... →

The Effectiveness of Hypnotherapy as a Treatment For Anxiety:

Anyone who has browsed through the articles on my website will soon pick up that helping people to overcome anxiety is one of my main passions.

Having been there and struggled with anxiety in the past, I know the all encompassing nature of those unwanted thoughts and feelings that seem to grow more and more out of control. I also know from my own personal experience, from the feedback of my anxiety hypnotherapy clients and from research, that hypnotherapy can be very effective as a treatment for anxiety. 

Anxiety problems and anxiety disorders are some of the most impairing and limiting mental health conditions that you can struggle with. They are also one of the most common mental health issues that impact upon people at some point in their lives.  All of which means that having effective treatments for anxiety available is more important than ever, both for you as an individual and much more widely too.

Hypnosis has been scientifically demonstrated to offer very effective help with a whole range of issues and conditions. However, whilst more and more controlled studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of hypnosis in alleviating anxiety in areas such as general anxiety, dental anxiety, medical anxiety and performance anxiety, there has never been a meta-analysis quantifying the overall effectiveness of hypnosis as a treatment for anxiety. 

Pretty hot of the presses (the research was published in July 2019), we now have that analysis. A recent thorough study has now quantified the effectiveness of hypnosis for reducing anxiety by conducting a meta-analysis of all controlled studies of hypnotherapy for anxiety and has published the results.

Read more ... →

Overcoming Driving Anxiety - My Latest Video Hypnotherapy Testimonial:

Driving anxiety is one of the most common anxiety and fear related things that I help people with. Whereas you can try and avoid some things that cause you anxiety, like flying or public speaking, pretty much everyone needs to get in a car at some point.

And of course, driving anxiety can vary greatly from person to person. I've worked with those who haven't driven much for a long period and find themselves getting anxious and worried even thinking about driving, let alone getting behind the wheel. And there are those who struggle and dread even being a passenger in a car, perhaps particularly on faster roads.

You may find that local roads are generally ok as the speed is much slower, there are places to pull over and you know your way around a bit. Yet when it comes to faster roads, like motorways and dual carriageways, most people with driving anxiety find that their fear, dread and worry rockets. Everything moves so much quicker, there is more to think about and you can't just stop and pull over if you feel like you want to. People often feel trapped and out of control as their mind races to process everything going on within and around them. The anxiety can be so great that you may decide to avoid them altogether if you can, even if that means taking a much longer route.  

And all of that driving anxiety and fear can cause stress, worry and frustration, particularly if it stops you going places or doing the things you want to do.

As you'll have gathered from the title of this article, I've got a new hypnotherapy testimonial video that I'm excited to share with you today from someone who overcame their driving anxiety and is now confidently driving anywhere they want to .

Read more ... →

How To Increase Willpower and Self-Control:

Do you struggle to find the willpower and self-control you need to achieve what you want to? It's something I hear a lot from clients, how they lack the willpower they need, whether that's to stop smoking, lose weight, get exercising, study, get to bed earlier or any number of other areas. 

When it comes to taking action and making better decisions, almost all of us struggle at one time of another to act in our own best interests or to forego something that seems more enjoyable or easier right now (especially compared to much longer term goals). 

You know what you ought to be doing yet, even knowing this, you find that your willpower, motivation and self-control quickly evaporate. It may seem like one ever lasting battle with yourself to make better decisions for yourself. All those short term temptations and rewards are irresistible and we give in and promise ourselves we'll do better in the future; for example, in our eating habits where we take the sugary/fattening option in front of us (who has told themselves when it's gone, it's gone and then I'll be healthier?), or quitting smoking (but the habits and stress kicks in so the decision gets pushed to another time) or it could be procrastinating by watching that next episode on Netflix, having a look at one more you Tube video, 'quickly' checking out social media or surfing the net and a whole host of other things that can mean you don't get around to exercising or getting stuff done or getting enough sleep.  

Knowing what we should be doing isn't enough to stop us doing what we want to do in that moment. We struggle to prioritise our long term goals over our more immediate behaviours and choices (and all the while promising ourselves that we will do better in the future).

Willpower and self-control are things we need more and more to make sure we achieve what we want to rather than jumping from one urge and instant reward to another. So how can you increase willpower and self-control so that you actually make stuff happen?. 

Read more ... →

Boosting Your Happiness and Well-Being:

Could you benefit from boosting your levels of happiness and well-being in some area of your life right now? I think we can all take deliberate steps to both increase and maintain the kinds of happiness, well-being and mental health that we want.

Recently I've been working my way through a really good online course from Yale University which is all about the Science of Well-Being. One thing that comes through pretty clearly is that a lot of our thoughts and expectations about what will make us happy are well wide of the mark.  

Another thing that comes through from the research is that increasing your happiness and well-being takes daily, intentional effort over a long period of time. This is something I often cover with my clients. Waiting for change to happen, hoping for the best or waiting until you feel like it, are usually not great strategies if you want to make positive changes in your life.

I'll cover a bit more about well-being and happiness a bit further down this article.

Read more ... →