I’m in a conversation with her. I had so much approach anxiety I didn’t think you could do it. But I did.
And now I’m talking to her. And I start to thinkÂ¡Ã„
I made it this far. But what next?
This girl is amazingly cute.
And I have a shot with her.
But I don’t know where this is going!
What do I do next?!
Part of me wants to run away, to take her phone number and pick this up some other time when I can think about this more.
More thoughts start to flood my mind. I start to feel out of control. I’m a deer in headlights.
I’m getting more and more inhibited as the moments pass. Words aren’t flowing out of me. I’m caught up in a torrent of thoughts.
And then I notice it.
It’s shallow. It’s almost like I’m not breathing at all.
So I stop everything and take a deep breath.
As I slow down my breathing, all the talk in my head begins to subside.
I begin to relax. I’m here. I’m in my body. I’m talking to her. I’m present.
I don’t have to carry everything. I can let go. I can even drop the conversation and let her pick it up.
Everything begins to slow down again. I get more comfortable. I start to open up.
I become less inhibited. Words, thoughts and feelings begin to flow out of me. I can listen to her.
The very first rule of pickup is: Breathe.
And the second rule of pickup is: Keep Breathing.
Most guys who have anxiety usually have problems with their breathing.
Without realizing it, you may start to take quick short, chest-level breaths rather than slow deep breaths from the bottom of the diaphragm.
Short, shallow breathing is a minor form of hyperventilation. It alters your body chemistry.
Hyperventilation reduces the carbon dioxide in your blood, which constricts blood vessels that supply oxygen to the brain.
It can cause you to get light-headed or even pass out.
Poor breathing leaves your brain dried up and dysfunctional.
I’ve talked about how helpful it can be to just notice when you are inhibited. You can become sensitive to it.
At this point, I can tell instantly when my body begins to tense up and the free flow of thoughts and creativity are starting to become constricted.
Without fail this tension is always accompanied by short, shallow breathing.
Taking deep, full breaths is always the first thing that begins to get me back on track.
Anxiety and relaxation are incompatible. Learning how to relax is a perfect starting point for managing anxiety.
Loosening the tension in various muscles like your shoulders or your face can make a huge difference when it comes to social interactions.
Even if you are unaware of all the negative tension and the affect it is having on your flow of creativity, she will feel it. It will make her uncomfortable.
And of course, breathing can help immensely when it comes to relaxing during the approach.
There are specific exercises you can do to use your breathing to help you relax.
Here is an exercise called square breathing.
1. Breathe in deep and count to four.
2. At the top of your breath, hold it and count to four.
3. Breathe out and count to four.
4. At the bottom of your breath, count to four before breathing in again.
5. Breathe back in and count to four. (Repeat)