Yesterday I attended a free workshop on anxiety and confidence. I thought it would help with my recent incursions wanting to dance with other people. I find it difficult to apply what I learned at the workshop unto the dance floor, so I will attempt to build that bridge as I write.
We experience emotions with different degrees of intensity. One might say that rage is anger intensified. Joy is happiness intensified. Sorrow is sadness intensified, and so forth. It is easier to manage an emotion that is not yet too intense than one that is raging on, but the difficulty lies in identifying the emotion before it grows too big.
You can't outthink an emotion. We tell ourselves "don't be nervous", but what use is that? How to you come from nervousness to a state of calm? You feel into the emotion, where do you feel your nervousness? You might feel queasy in the stomach. Breathe into it. Anxiety is the emotion that arises out of a feeling of threat, real or perceived.
I've noticed multiple times: I'm having a great time dancing alone. An attractive girl shows up and seems interested in me. I start thinking "oh I should go dance with her", this gets me out of my flow and into my head. I overthink. By the time I muster the courage to approach it's kinda late and I'm nervous. I prepared something to say, but when I say it, it comes out awkward. I used to think "I blow it as soon as I open my mouth", but as I write this, I see that I blow in the space between "Oh I should go dance with her" and the approach. That's where anxiety builds up.
It reminds me of plunging into a pool of cold water. The more you stand on the ledge finding the courage to jump, the less likely you are to jump.
So there should be no thinking, no prepared phrase. Perhaps only "would you like to dance?" and the answer to that is only a yes or no. The "no" is not a rejection, it is simply a preference to keep things as they currently are.
I have so many things to do today, I will leave it at that and get back to work.