I, too, struggle with eye contact: how much to give and where to look. This has been a problem for me for several years, but it has become worse with a move and starting a new job. Stress and lack of sleep make mine worse, so you may want to see if they have an effect on our anxiety as well. The only thing that has really helped is reading Dr. Richard's book. Short and sweet, here are my does and dont's that have taken me a very long time to figure out:
1. Overthink it, rehashing what you did right or wrong over the course of your day. This will only waste tons of your time and my belief is thinking about it only makes that groove in your brain that is related to the anxiety deeper (more set).
2. Prepare yourself for interacting with people...I think this, too, is strengthening that eye contact anxiety groove in your brain. Both #1 and #2 cause my anxiety to go up and therefore get my thoughts racing (Lesson 2) from Dr. Richards.
3. Watch any vidoes on the Internet about how much eye contact people should give. I tried this a couple of times and it shot my anxiety out the roof the next day. It made me super self-conscious. The key/goal is to live without these thoughts again and thinking about having the issue does just the opposite!
1. Buy Dr. Richard's book and audio tape series and follow his sound advice!
2. Get enough sleep
3. If you have a bad interaction or day, move on...DO NOT dwell on it! Relax and stay positive for your next interaction.
4. What has helped me the most is trying to stay calm throughout the day. I think getting our systems all worked up has a huge effect on our anxiety. The slow talk is difficult for me, but I am able to calm my movement and thoughts, which really helps me when interacting with someone. Try just moving slower throughout your day. Somehow this seems to calm our nervous system and has a positive effect on anxiety.
5. I got a great suggestion a couple of weeks ago on the SAI Community to read Nofear.me.uk. It suggests saying a positive mantra to yourself as many times a day as you can for two weeks. The first word I chose has to do with how I want to feel: CALM and the second word I chose is what I feel I am lacking and what may be part of the cause of my anxiety: CONFIDENT. I say calm and confident to myself several times throughout my day and especially if I begin to feel anxious. I am on week 2 and it has really been helping. I suggest checking out the website for clearer information.
6. My poor husband also has to often hear about my difficulties, but he knows that telling me this is all in my head and nobody cares how much I look at them does help me. You might consider asking someone you are close to to do the same for you. Even though I know he is right, it is still hard for me to believe, however, just hearing it over and over again has seemed to help...I am starting to believe it.
Good luck and stay positive! You can beat this thing!