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social awkwardness
outer game
inner game
center of gravity
body shape
funny thing
realities
martial arts
scenarios
accent
A Neat Little Trick To Help Overcome Social Awkwardness
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A Neat Little Trick to Help Overcome Social Awkwardness

There are many causes that can contribute to social awkwardness, from being just naturally clumsy (and aware of it) through to being too self conscious about some perceived defect (e..g speech, accent, body shape etc.).

Whatever the reason, some people find themselves in situations where they just feel plain awkward, and they tend to shut down, mumble, withdraw or even try to become invisible because of what is happening. What is happening in their heads that is.

You see, there are two realities - the external reality and the inner reality. And the inner reality wins hands down when it comes to those who are shy or become socially anxious.

There are two sets of skills needed (if one is taking a coaching approach) to helping people overcome social awkwardness - those skills that have to do with the Inner Game and those skills that have to do with the Outer game.

Here is a little trick that may help some of you with your Inner Game. It may not work for everyone, but when combined with some of the Outer Game skills, I have seen it work wonders (particularly that other articles often portray).

Now, I used to train for national competitions in judo, and one thing that is essential to learn in martial arts is balance and breathing.

"So what has judo got to do with overcoming social awkwardness?" I hear you say. Well, I won't go into all the details, but here's the thing, when someone is 'in their head' (you know, running all those scenarios in that make you feel anxious and then block you from saying anything intelligible), a funny thing happens. Their center of gravity shifts upwards ever so subtly, and they become top heavy and off balance. It isn't something you are normally conscious of, but it is something we were trained to observe in judo.

Social awkwardness can sometimes be unconsciously linked to physical awkwardness which can be linked to being physically off balance which can be linked to being in your head. (breathe!)

So, here's the trick - find your balance and lower your centre of gravity. You will feel more grounded, balanced and funnily enough, those thoughts in your head begin to quiten down. Here's how to do it:

  1. Make sure your feet are shoulder width apart.
  2. Look down and make sure those feet of yours form a V (i.e. they are pointing 90 away from each other)
  3. Take a deep breath and as you breath out, ‘sink’ ever so slightly into ground (imagine you are becoming connected to the earth or something). Bend the knees ever so slightly, as you do so, as if you were ready to spring into action.
  4. Balance your head on your spine and look straight ahead.
  5. (Optionally) If you want to, rotate your hips ever so slightly either way, as you may find a specific point where you feel like you become even more 'grounded'.

That's it. I'm not going to try and explain it all, but I would like you to go and practice a few times in private, then go find yourself a (safe) location, but one where you naturally become anxious - e.g. maybe a friends' party or something - and play with it.

Most people in my experience feel much more solid and less off balance when they try this. And often find this a useful trick for overcoming social awkwardness.

The point is, the inner game is as important as the outer game when building the skills to overcome shyness or social anxiety. And the inner and outer worlds reinforce each other - either negatively or positively. Keep practicing this skill and you may find it useful in other areas of your life.


Street Talk

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