Music Coloring Page from Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal

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Hi everyone! This is my fifth week sharing coloring pages from the soon-to-be-released Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal (available for pre-order now.) Previously, I shared:

The nature coloring page
The vacation coloring page
The technology coloring page
The animal coloring page

How would you answer the question in the middle?

It’s hard to narrow down my favorite music, as I imagine is true for most of us. But there are certain songs that are particularly meaningful to me because of the memories they evoke, including:

1. Wonderwall, by Oasis (which I played on repeat, with friends, for much of my sophomore year of high school)

2. So This is Christmas, by John Lennon (one of my favorite holiday songs, and the finale number of one of the most memorable regional shows I did in college)

3. Mad World (the song my boyfriend sang at karaoke the night we met, a song I already loved from Donnie Darko)

4. Cheer Up, Sleepy Jean (a song we often sing to commemorate my late grandmother Jeanne, when my aunt pulls out the karaoke machine)

5. Sweet Caroline (a song I’ve sung while jumping many times at karaoke, and a few times with fellow Red Sox fans near my hometown in Massachusetts)

6. Pretty much everything from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Coldplay, Radiohead, David Gray, and Ray LaMontagne, for far too many reasons to list.

Now I’d like to hear from you! What songs and musicians do you most appreciate, and why?

If you haven’t already, pre-order your copy of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal here, then forward your purchase confirmation email to to receive three free bonus gifts!

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal is available for pre-order now. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

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It is in the everyday thoughts that we need to pay attention to if we are wanting to create a more positive and abundant life. Our mind can go on automatic in the every day of life.  When we have the same kind of day through working, running errands, and doing all the things that […]


The Stop Worrying Today Course is Now Open to Join (but Closes on Monday)

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The 7-week Stop Worrying Today Course is now open again to join.

If you join during this period you also get free life-time access to all the material in my The Invincible Summer – an 8-Week Course in Optimism as a special bonus.

Plus, you get free access to 6 extra bonuses I created last summer.

The registration to join this course will only be open for 5 days this time, until 1.00 p.m EDT (that’s 17.00 GMT) on Monday the 29th of May.

Click here to learn more and to join the course

I started working on this course two years ago but it all started 10 years ago when I made a decision to not let this toxic habit limit and control my life.

And this course is filled with all the best things I’ve learned about that in the past decade.

These are the strategies, exercises and simple step-by-step methods that have helped me to stop worrying so much.

The habits that have been a true life-changer for me.

How would your life change if you stopped worrying so much?

Each week of the course you’ll get a written guide, a worksheet to help you gain better understanding of your own situation and results as you go through the course and an audio version of that week’s guide that you can listen to anywhere when you need a boost.

At the end of the weekly guide you’ll get just a few specific action-steps to take that week to minimize the risk of you feeling overwhelmed and getting lost in worry again.

Because I want as many as possible to not only to read the information. But also to take small steps forward each week to make a real and lasting change in their lives.

In this course you’ll for example learn how to:

Understand the 5 basic reasons for worrying. So you can understand yourself better and where you need put your attention.
Use the same small, 3-step method I use to put a stop to a worry in about 2 minutes so that I can relax and fully put my focus and energy into what I want.
Start your day with a morning routine that only takes a few minutes and will get you off to a day of less worries popping up in the first place.
Work through and overcome persistent worries by using a step-by-step exercise that will help you to finally see the situation and what you can do about it with clear eyes.
Stop getting lost in worries, fear and in limiting yourself so much. And start living a lighter, happier and less anxious life where you go after – and stay on course towards – what you deep down want in your life.

And a whole lot more.

The window to join The Stop Worrying Today Course closes at 1.00 p.m EDT (that’s 17.00 GMT) on Monday the 29th of May.

Click here to learn more about The Stop Worrying Today Course and to join it



How to React Calmly in Stressful or Frustrating Situations

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“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them; ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” ~Unknown

Working in an office requires us to spend more time with our co-workers than anyone in our personal life. How those co-workers act can have a big impact on us. Noticing a co-worker’s interactions during a recent marketing job gave me insight into how I react in stressful or frustrating situations outside the office.

My cubicle sat next to a team of individuals who were required to be on the phone nearly every minute they were at their desks. It seemed unimaginable to me that a person could work this way day after day.

I could listen to their conversations as I worked, and was impressed with their finesse at handling difficult conversations, or tact when delivering unfavorable news to their clients on the other end of the phone. I sincerely admired their talents.

One particular day evoked a light-bulb moment for me. A young man named Dan was frustrated with the person he was speaking with on the phone. He stepped into the break room and unloaded his frustration loudly, with hand gestures, a flushed face, pacing, and a string of not-so-kind words.

I didn’t think anything of this type of behavior. To me, it seemed like a natural reaction. It was only after he left the room that I realized no one else saw the situation this way.

I listened to my friends talk about this young man’s behavior as unprofessional and imbalanced. It even caused them to question his worth as a team member. They expressed how this had happened in the past and how he obviously had some problems.

Wow. I knew I had behaved this same way many times in the past.

After that, I started noticing how I reacted to difficult situations. I realized that when my peers were complaining about work, management, co-workers, etc., I took on those feelings. I also could react similar to Dan did when I was frustrated with something I couldn’t control.

I could see it in my home life too. I realized that my reactions to small life occurrences were much more pronounced than my boyfriend’s. This caused friction.

For example, if my boyfriend made a comment about another woman, I would yell, slam doors, and exaggerate about how much the comment had hurt me.

My behavior made me look small and out of control to my mate. He said nothing after the first time, but after the twentieth time, he didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

Why did I blow things out of proportion? Looking back, I realize I was feeling vulnerable and scared when I behaved this way.

How could my responses be more in line with my mate, co-workers, and others? I knew what it was like to be around irritated, riled people, since that was my experience growing up. Not much fun. I didn’t want to be that person for anyone else.

It helped me to realize I’d been modeling the over-the-top reactions I’d witnessed during my early years. It’s what I’d been taught. .

After asking my friends how they would have handled certain difficult situations, and tuning into myself, I found six techniques that help me react calmly. As a result of applying these ideas, I’m now leading a much happier life.

1. Train yourself to notice your physical feelings in stressful situations.

Notice when you start to feel clammy, fidgety, tight in the chest, outside of yourself, or any other physical discomfort. The more you practice noticing how you feel physically, after someone has said something upsetting, for example, the better you will be able to understand and alter your reactions.

In time, you will be better able to sense when something is emotionally affecting you by noticing the physical manifestations.

As you feel them, visualize the negative physical feelings running down your body and out your fingertips and toes.

For instance, your co-worker gets high praise for a project for which you provided key input. You receive nothing. You might notice your breath start to quicken and recognize that this physical reaction is a sign of defensiveness. You could then visualize your breath slowing and the defensiveness running down your body and out your toes.

2. Be aware of when people around you begin to get upset.

Once you’ve trained yourself to notice your physical feelings, look outwardly to how others react physically. Is your co-worker speaking more quickly, or does he maybe have a flushed face? Has she started to re-arrange items on her desk, or is she fidgeting in her chair?

As you become aware of physical behaviors that can signal agitation, dislike, etc., you can train yourself to leave that negative feeling with the person feeling that way.

That negative feeling is theirs. Let them have it. Don’t engage.

Visualize the negative feeling as a box, and leave it squarely on the other person’s lap. Think to yourself, “Let go,” then slowly blow out air while thinking, “gooooo.” This is an instant calming technique.

I eventually became able to use this “box” technique in my relationship with my boyfriend. If he’s upset with me, I now quickly assess whether I’ve been unkind, inconsiderate, judgmental, or whatever he’s accused me of being.

If I know I have, I own up to it right away and apologize. But if his accusation isn’t true, then I can see his it’s coming from how he’s feeling about himself. If that’s the case, I leave the box with him.

I try to to help him figure out how he’s feeling. I speak calmly and leave a lot of room for him to speak, so as to be a good listener. But I don’t take on his feelings as my own.

Remember their feelings are not your “box”—not your problem.

3. Spend plenty of time quiet and alone.

Another technique to calm how you react in difficult situations is to build up your bank of quiet, stress-free air. Visualize the air surrounding you when you’re calm, thinking positive thoughts. Give the calm air a color—pale blue, pink, or whatever.

Now, visualize the air going into a large bank. Test out different amounts of quiet time each week. Maybe for you, ten minutes a day fills up your bank. Maybe thirty minutes of quiet reflection each Saturday is enough to calm you throughout the week. Make it right for you.

For centuries monks, clergy, nuns, and lay people have practiced silence. When quiet, a person can reflect, re-charge, and center oneself. Each time you sit in silence, remember, you’re depositing more quiet, calm air into your serenity bank.

4. Commune with nature daily.

As you hear the quiet, notice the natural breeze and visualize it carrying away any heavy emotions that weigh you down. I guarantee you will start to feel physically lighter as the breeze blows your troubles away.

Researchers found a decrease in both heart rate and levels of cortisol in subjects in the forest when compared to those in the city (as reported in the Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine).

Take in nature through your pores so you can carry it with you to that boardroom, with fluorescent lights and stale air.

5. Journal about worries.

Journaling through any worries can diffuse negative thoughts. When worry is becoming prominent, first write down the concrete facts of the situation. What do I know for sure? Not what I think may be the case, just the facts. Can you see why this is upsetting to you? Next, write the worst possible outcome.

After seeing the worst-case scenario, walk through the solutions that are available to you. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt as helpless or worried? Remind yourself how you made it through that situation, and that you’ll find a solution for today’s worry too. If you don’t have time to write, use these same techniques in your thoughts.

6. Keep your muscles strong.

We’ve all heard that we release endorphins when we exercise. Let this be a reminder to consciously use these hormones when you need it.

I find it easier to work out when I think of the emotional benefit I’ll receive from the physical exercise.

For example, while practicing yoga or Pilates, the stretching, the slow muscle movement, the blood flow to large muscles as they work hard, all bring our thoughts to the present. Focusing on your body movement is a great way to let go of whatever is on your mind.

It may have taken me four decades to realize I reacted unfavorably because of my early home environment, but I’ll hopefully have four decades to practice a new way of reacting.

If we foster calm in our lives as much as we can, when a situation occurs, we will have the tools and techniques to react calmly and wisely.

About Debra Happe

Debra Happe is a marketing professional and writer based in Iowa. She is letting go daily, in order to live a more peaceful life. To read more by Debra, check out or where ever she is writing at the moment.

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The Best Things in Life Are Free (and Healing)

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“The six best doctors: sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise, and diet.” ~Wayne Fields

I’ve always believed the best things in life are free. Sunshine on your skin next to a body of water ranks up there as one of my favorite experiences. I love nothing more than to be in a pool in the summertime.

Though doctors have helped me with my depression, nature has provided me with my best doctors. When I’m in nature, I feel restored.

When I was a child, I used to like to go on adventures. I would venture off into my parents’ backyard with the neighborhood kids, telling them we were going on an adventure into the forest.

I was a little nature child in love with the flowers, the sunlight, and the trees.

Those were some of my best memories of childhood. But, as I grew older I forgot about the restorative power of nature.

I started working all of the time and using the weekends for chores. I stopped doing the things I loved. I forgot to venture into the forest.

For years, I suffered from seasonal affective disorder. In the winter, a deep depression would overtake me. I was exhausted. I didn’t want to get out of bed.

Being inside felt suffocating. The dark nights and the cold winters seemed to drain my spirit. In the spring, I’d feel reborn.

Once I realized there was a definite seasonal aspect to my depression, I started taking preventative measures. I bought a light box and started getting up earlier each day to get some sunlight in the winter. I made a point to go meet friends and not stay at home all day.

There are many tools I use to cope with my depression. I see a therapist and take medication. But, for me, the best medicine is preventative. It’s getting out into the world each day.

Getting enough sunshine is vital to my well-being. I almost feel like the sun is recharging me when I’m outside. I take a morning walk each day to walk the dog and listen to the birds. I use that time to say positive affirmations to myself and reflect on having a good day.

If I have time, I also take a walk during my lunch break or at least spend some time outside. I remember the days when I would stay inside at work eating my sandwich while staring at the computer. No more eating at the desk for me!

I take another walk when I get home from work. It relieves the stress from the workday and sets me up for a nice evening. These are short ten-minute walks, but they really do make a difference.

After dinner, I try to find some time just for me. Soaking in a hot bath seems to melt away all of my worries.

Being a Pisces, I’ve always been drawn to water. I live in a land-locked state, but take every opportunity I can to go to the ocean. As kids, we used to go fishing on the weekends. I remember how quiet those days were. Just looking at water seems to cleanse the negativity from my mind.

I like to watch the way the sun sparkles on the water and the way it ripples. Water has a very meditative quality. You can’t help but feel mesmerized looking at it.

I don’t always get the opportunity to be near a body of water, but I love the springtime. Opening the doors to let in fresh air after months locked inside is invigorating. I like to do some spring cleaning with the doors and windows open to let in the light and a light breeze.

No matter what time of year it is, proper rest is vital to a healthy body and mind. I used to go for days staying up late and waking up early, and didn’t understand why I felt so lethargic and terrible all of the time.

When I don’t get enough sleep, I’m crabby with others, I eat unhealthy food, and I stop being productive at work. I get in the habit of powering up with caffeine throughout the day and not being able to get to sleep at night. The next day, I wake up tired and the cycle begins all over again.

When I do get enough sleep, I have the energy to exercise. The combination of rest and exercise leads to feeling much better.

I can see a big difference in my outlook when I don’t exercise. When I’m active, I smile more, breathe easier, and get more done.

When I skip a few days, I become irritable and tired. I snap at my husband. I don’t want to play baseball with our child. Ironically, using energy to exercise creates more energy for love.

However, I’ve also found that I have to do exercise that I love or it feels like a chore.

I love yoga and taking walks outside. I love Zumba because it makes me feel like I’m dancing. But, ask me to run and I’ll resist and procrastinate.

I want to enjoy exercise and moving my body. When I opt for what I enjoy, I look forward to doing it.

For me, all of the other elements come before diet. Perhaps for others, it’s the opposite.

For years, I’ve battled with trying to eat better. What I’ve found is that when I’m getting the other four items, I naturally want to eat better. It’s not as much of a struggle as it is when I start with diet first.

By all means, use every tool that helps you to enjoy a full, healthy, and happy life. But give nature a try.

Revel in the warm weather! Get out and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Get some rest, take a nice walk, and eat some fresh, healthy vegetables. End the day with a nice, warm bath.

It may be just what the doctor ordered.

About Melissa McCaughan

Melissa McCaughan, the author of Legacy, is a literal ghost writer, choosing ghosts as the protagonists of her novels. She is currently working on a sequel, Epiphany, coming out later this year. She teaches an Adventure e-course called There’s No Place Like Home: Finding Adventure in Your Own Backyard and writes a blog called Carpe Diem. Follow her on Facebook.

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When in Doubt

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When in doubt, be aware of your thoughts.  When you see that you are doubting, ask yourself if the doubt is a way of keeping yourself from being disappointed.  When you are in doubt, you are thinking that maybe, just maybe, things won’t work out.  Not only is doubt creating a cloud of doubt around […]


How a Terrified, Socially Anxious Guy Became Relaxed and Confident

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“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” ~Viktor Frankl

Life is hell… or so I thought for most of my thirty-four years.

My intense social anxiety, an over-the-top and uncontrollable fear of people and social situations, ruined much of my young life. I operated completely alone, living only inside my own head, without even realizing it.

Now, it’s rare that I’m too afraid to talk to anyone. And I face multiple difficult decisions, discussions, and even confrontations in any given week.

Just a few years ago, a client could make what I would mistakenly take as an angry comment (even just by email), or someone could look at me funny, and I’d tailspin into a three-day episode of fear, shame, and self-hatred. I’d literally lose sleep over it. Every time an emotional breeze blew, I uprooted and fell over.

But I no longer struggle like I used to. Similar situations sometimes cause mild anxiety, but often, none at all.

This transformation surprises me as much as friends who’ve known me for my entire life. How did it happen? Why do I no longer turn every little social cue into a psychological catastrophe?

I learned three lessons after decades of trial, error, failure, reloading, and trying again. At times, I was filled with hopelessness and despair. Occasionally, suicide appeared a viable way out.

But somehow I mustered up just enough resolve to keep going. It made no sense that life should be filled with misery exclusively.

I finally found what worked. Or maybe it found me.

Here’s what I learned, and the actions I take to hold social anxiety at bay and keep my peace, confidence, and happiness today.

1. Fear and anxiety always lie, and never serve your best interest.

I can’t tell you how long I chose to trust and obey my fear of people. I never questioned it. I always assumed the anxiety and fear spoke the truth.

Both had been present my whole life, after all. Fear and anxiety owned me. And I learned to sink my shoulders, lower my head, shuffle my feet, and do exactly what they said:

“Don’t talk to that person! They’ll reject you.”
“See the way they’re looking at you? They hate you.”
“Forget about asking anyone on a date. You’re a loser. They’ll say ‘no’ anyway.”
“You’ll miss the shot (in basketball). You’ll just be a failure. Everyone will laugh.”
“You’re stuck. You can’t get anywhere in life. You’ll never amount to anything.”
“You’re doomed to a bleak, lonely existence.”
“Don’t even try. You know how this ends anyway.”

These thoughts kept me lonely, isolated, unemployed, and full of self-hatred.

After years of trying different approaches, and sometimes even the same things, I finally asked myself, “What if everything fear told me was a big, fat lie? What if something different could happen?”

I realized that my own mind told me the worst possible stuff. It lied outright. So, I learned not to accept my thoughts or feelings as reality.

Eventually, I started doing exactly what fear told me not to do. At first, I rarely got the outcome I wanted. But slowly, I developed freedom from fear. More good things happened. And life got better.

I felt more confident. Got married. Bought a house. And enjoyed my work.

I didn’t think I’d ever have any of those things.

Acting first, and letting the feelings follow (but not necessarily expecting that change immediately in the moment), works like a charm on fear.

2. Happiness and confidence come from within, not from anything external.

I got sucked in by society’s portrayal of happiness.

Someone owns a massive house, and they seem to have it all. A quarterback tosses a touchdown pass to win the game, and they become an infallible superhero. James Bond always knows what to do and how to win the day.

Though I didn’t realize it then, for a long time, I thought confidence and happiness came from all this… stuff. After I had one of those externals, I thought, I would feel happy, confident, and good about myself.

So all my energy went toward pursuing these things. Sometimes ruthlessly, harming others along the way.

I got a small taste on occasion. But it offered only fleeting happiness. None of it lasted, so I needed another thing from the list to feel happy and confident. And of course, that didn’t work either. On and on it went…

Where do happiness and confidence come from? Things you can’t buy. Working on yourself.

This has resulted in much more than just happiness and confidence. I now feel:


Compare this to how I felt before:

Filled with despair
Like a fraud/imposter/outsider
Full of self-loathing

The comparison’s not even close, really.

3. Regardless of the extreme power social anxiety has over you, you can become confident and happy.

During high school and early college, my social anxiety was at its worst.

I had plenty of excuses for not going to social events. I’d stay in on Friday and Saturday nights. Almost every interaction with a human being, and even just the anticipation of it, triggered shockwaves of social anxiety.

Making a friend and having a real relationship with them? Not a chance.

Instead, I’d drink too much at parties. Usually, I wouldn’t remember them. I didn’t want to because of the incredible stress they caused.

And of course, drinking was really avoidance of intimacy. Long term, it actually increased my anxiety and desire to avoid real interactions with others.

The more failure I met, the more anxious I became. And the more the social anxiety grew, the less I was able to meet people and make friends.

Down and down I went, feeling empty and alone the whole way. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I make friends and hold down a job with ease, just like everyone else?

How do you break that cycle?

You do the opposite. Create an upward cycle instead. One that works like this:

Forgiving myself for mistakes, and realizing when I do and don’t have responsibility

In the past, I would constantly criticize and put myself down whenever things didn’t go “right” (read: my way). I mistakenly believed I had more responsibility for outcomes than I did.

One time I bumped into a guy’s $100,000 car with a tire I needed fixed. He was screaming and cursing a blue streak at me. I plummeted into guilt and shame.

These days, I’d take responsibility for the accident, but not for the other person’s feelings. It would be tempting to feel guilty and ashamed. But I could recognize that and share how I felt with someone I trust instead of telling myself how stupid I was.

Today, I constantly forgive myself for mistakes of any kind, and I let outcomes be what they are.

Challenging myself to speak up

For example, let’s say someone disagreed with something I said. Before, I’d immediately get anxious and fearful, and likely wouldn’t stand up for myself.

Now, instead, I’d pause and think. If I felt strongly about my opinion, I’d continue standing up for myself rather than going along with what the other person said. Nice confidence boost there.

Or, if a customer service associate refused to offer a refund, socially anxious me would simply take it and go about my way. Now, I’d pause and think, and rather than give in to anxiety, ask to talk to a supervisor. Instead of feeling bad about myself, my confidence would go up.

Loosening my grip on the things I think I have to have

My social anxiety constantly wanted control. I had to have the girl, the job, the laugh, or whatever it was.

I usually didn’t get those things because I was too afraid to try. Or, I did try, but acted from a place of fear and ended up making too many mistakes and chasing those things out of my life.

I’d get too anxious at work, fearing that my boss would see my mistake. Then I’d second-guess myself, and make more silly mistakes because of that anxiety. Or I’d get too anxious to move a relationship forward, and the girl would pick up on that, then she was gone. If I wanted people to laugh, I’d get so anxious about needing that outcome that I’d forget the joke or say it awkwardly.

Letting go of control and attachment to my desires has helped me feel more at ease, and far less anxious.

Accepting what happens, without blaming myself or judging it as “good” or “bad”

If I have a conversation with a potential client, and they don’t want to work with me, I try not to get upset with myself. My instinct is to feel guilty and ashamed, like I didn’t say the right things necessary to win the business (judging the situation as “bad”).

Now, I say, ”Well, that didn’t work out. Let’s see. What happened?” Sometimes clients get busy doing other things. Some want to see what they can get from you for free. Other times, clients don’t get the budget they thought they would. And they might move on to another company.

I accept that I don’t know why the prospect didn’t become a client. I learn from the situation what’s possible based on the evidence available, and let go of the rest.

Correcting my wrongs with others

Sometimes in the past, I avoided others. Or, I talked negatively behind their back. And in some cases, I got angry to their face.

Now, when I fall into these old habits, I waste no time apologizing and doing everything I can to not repeat the wrong in the future. It helps with social anxiety because I have to go directly to the person, face-to-face.

In cases where I talk negatively behind someone’s back, I correct the wrong with those who heard it instead of avoiding people. This rebuilds the relationship, which melts away social anxiety.

Sharing the troublesome thoughts spinning around in my head

The longer anxious thoughts spin around in your head, the more power they get. So today, I share them with people who understand and care. Not a single one has social anxiety, but they all want to see me heal.

Not blaming others

When things went wrong because of my social anxiety, like the two jobs I got fired from and the other I quit, I wanted to only look at what the employers did wrong. That didn’t help at all. So today, I look at my part in the situation, even if it’s just 1%.

When I blame others, I do so because I’m too anxious and afraid to look at myself. I don’t want to experience the embarrassment of seeing what I did wrong. But how can I relieve my anxiety without looking at my own actions?

When I look at what I did, and take positive action to correct it, I gain confidence because I’ve improved as a person. My struggle with my wrong weakens. Over time, it goes away completely.

This allows me to take real action to improve my life. Blaming keeps me inactive, and a slave to the same old attitudes.

Serving others in big and small ways

I’ve adopted a lifestyle of service. Usually not big things, but I make myself available to help others out with personal problems, quick errands, or whatever it happens to be.

At first, I served others just to get out of my negative social anxiety. That’s okay at first. With continued practice, you serve others mostly for their gain.

Practicing self-awareness and working on my actions and reactions

I don’t have a single tactic that works for fixing or improving other people. Life doesn’t work that way. So, I simply focus on improving myself daily.

I have a list of thirty character defects. I’m capable of just about any wrong any human can commit, but generally I act on these thirty.

When tempted to act on one, I pause for a moment and choose a positive action instead. I’ve not had one perfect day yet, but my internal life improves daily. And I feel increasing happiness and connectedness to others as a result.

Discarding unhealthy mindsets: playing the victim, pitying myself, feeling entitled, or self-righteously judging others

I played the victim because everyone else got the girlfriend, job, or car first. Because I was anxious and afraid to go for those things, they came much later in life for me than most people.

Social anxiety caused me great fear, guilt, and shame. I didn’t get the external things when I thought I should, so I felt entitled to compensation for my suffering.

I’d judge others because truthfully, I didn’t like myself. My self-esteem was through the floor, so I wanted to bring everyone down too.

Unfortunately, this only increased social anxiety’s power over me because all of these choices kept me separate from others. So when these feelings come up now, I don’t act on them. I don’t even allow myself to think about them. I simply acknowledge their presence and move on.

My social anxiety wants to weigh me down like an anchor. And it can, if I don’t strictly adhere to the above list. But now, I live in a beautiful upward cycle that leads to happiness. Because these steps work.

But it takes time to learn and put all this into practice. Sometimes decades.

Hopefully learning from my experience shaves years of struggle off your growth and enables you to experience happiness, joy, and freedom—starting right now.

About Dan Stelter

Dan Stelter is the author of, where he helps socially anxious people overcome their fear, heal, relax, win confidence, and enjoy life again. Get strategies for all five when you sign up for his free e-mail course.

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