Slow Talk Causing Anxiety


#1

I feel the benefits of Slow Talk when I read aloud alone and when I use it in some conversations. However, there are many conversations where I feel like Slow Talk causes me more anxiety because people tend to focus on me more (and thus I feel more in the center of attention). While this could be described as a benefit of Slow Talk, for me, it is negative because it garners unwanted attention and focus on me. What would you recommend for a situation like this? I know I have the right to take my time and not be rushed, but oftentimes I feel as if my natural rate of speech is less anxiety producing because it does not cause people to focus on me as much. Thanks.


#2

Hi Joe, I’m Ryan from Scotland, 22 years old. I am currently working through the audio series and have reached sessions 5. Where are you from? What session are you on?

I’m exactly the same, I feel EXACTLY the same. I also fear that I am coming across a lit weird/serious/ un natural and then the ants come flooding in as I become the centre of attention.

I’m sorry that I am no help to you haha, I just hope someone can provide us with some assistance/tips :smile:


#3

Hey Ryan, thank you for your reply. I am glad I am not the only one! I am from the United States and have gone through the program once, and am working on going through the audio again. Hopefully someone else, or doctor Richards can provide us with some more insight.

For me, I think sometimes the thought that you are coming across a little weird/serious/unnatural is probably not rational. I would try to identify those as ants and tell yourself the truth: that people probably don’t care or notice a slightly calmer, slower rate of speech. I have also focused on making sure my muscles are relaxed when I do this (as they tend to get pretty tense) just to let the brain know that the situation doesn’t require a reaction of panic (e.g. anxiety).

But I totally get what you mean, and I see the potential benefits (people paying attention), but at the same time, I prefer not to have people pay that close attention on me. Perhaps, reading the Attitude Statements and Deserving statements could help. For example, you have the right to take time to think about what you want to say and say what you want to say, don’t feel rushed by others, and so what? or who cares? if people are paying closer attention to you.

Without any further guidance, this is the best I have come up with. I hope it helps and maybe Dr. Richards can chime in and let us know if we are on the right track. Best of luck and thanks for your reply.


#4

Hey Joe.

It makes so much sense what you are saying. I am probably too sensitive and over thinking things. ANTS are telling me that I am coming across as weird when I am speaking through slow talk. I should ignore these ANTS, as they are pathological liars and irrational bullies. I will try to keep as relaxed as possible also.

And yes - who cares? so what? if people are paying close attention to me. I don’t need their approval - ultimately, it’s my own approval that counts.

Thanks very much for helping me. This supportive forum really does make a difference when people help and share each others strategies to overcoming this awful condition. I am on week 7 now so I am hoping if I continue with the therapy, I will see some improvement. It’s hard to tell if I have made progress yet, however if realise it takes time and changes/improvements are subtle. Do you feel that you have made any progress after the first therapy you engaged in? What anti-anxiety strategies did you feel were the most effective for you?

Thanks again :slight_smile:


#5

Congratulations on being on week 7. It takes a lot of consistency, but it is worth it and it will pay off. I feel I made a tremendous amount of progress after the first go around. I am just revisiting the series again to solidify it in my mind and to remind myself of some of the basics.

For me, I think the Attitudes handout has helped me a lot. Also the Deserving Statements and the Power Statements have helped me the most. Also, just doing social experiments in small steps is key.


#6

I totally understand where you are coming from.

One of the benefits of slow-talk is that you are speaking much more clearly and calmly. As a result, people WILL pay more attention to you than they used to, because they can understand you much better, and they are hearing what you are saying as being valuable.

However, if they are paying more attention to you, they will of course also be looking at you intently. For somebody with severe Social Anxiety symptoms, this can of course provoke a reaction. I think this is why Dr Richards advises not to use slow-talk in high anxiety situations. The problem is that if you use it before you are ready, it will only reinforce an idea that it doesn’t work in your brain, which is the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

So do as Dr Richards says. Don’t use it until you feel calm about doing so. Take as much time as you need to practice it and when you start to use it in real life, use it in easier situations (maybe with family members or close friends?) until your slight nervousness disappears. Then gradually step it up to more stressful situations. This way, you build up the strategy to be a strong one that you can rely on, because each success you have will reinforce the idea that it works in your head instead of having these failures on your mind.

Trying to use it in highly stressful situations before you are ready is the same thing as jumping in at the deep-end of the adult pool, when you are only used to paddling around in the kiddies pool! You will sink, panic and never want to try it again.

One other thing: The best way to approach the therapy is not necessarily strictly one week per session. If you find it takes more than one week of practice to feel comfortable using slow talk, then take more than one week. You are not tied to a timescale here. The therapy will only work if you allow yourself the time to practice thoroughly. So hey, relax, take it easy, practice and allow yourself as much time as you need. In the meantime, take comfort in the fact that you are taking action against your SAD and that there is a community here that totally understands the discomfort you are experiencing.


#7

Sorry for the barage of posts. But I wanted to put what I’m saying above into clearer therapeutic context.

It is important to understand how CBT works. And that is:

By Associating POSITIVE experiences with the practical strategies put in place during therapy.

This is how a belief in the strategy takes root deep within the subconscious of your brain. Through the association of positive feedback when using it. If you are highly anxious about using slow-talk in a given situation, you end up forcing yourself to use it, quite unnaturally, and that can have the opposite effect. ie:

Associating NEGATIVE experiences with the strategy put in place.

Ultimately, this will turn a good strategy for dealing with anxiety into a less effective one. Every negative experience you have will make it harder and harder to use and will actually provoke anxiety rather than calm it. Conversely, every positive experience you have will make it easier and easier to use and allow you to feel calmer and calmer each time you use it.

This is why you start by using it in easier situations and deliberately not use it it highly stressful situations.

In these most difficult situations forget about deliberately forcing yourself to use slow-talk for now. Use it In easier situations until you automatically start using it without thinking. If necessary, use it on someone who doesn’t provoke any anxiety at all. And while doing so, focus on how much calmer, clearer and relaxed you are when talking to him/her than you normally are. Really take this comforting experience to heart afterwards and reflect on how good this strategy really is. This will bore the effectiveness of the strategy into your subconscious mind and it will slowly start to believe in the strategy. When this happens slow-talk will become habitual: Whenever, you feel stressed, you will automatically start using slow talk because your brain is telling you it works… Unconsciously.

It should feel a natural thing to do, not forced or uncomfortable.

The reason our SAD symptoms have developed over time is because we place great effort in reflecting on all the negative feelings, emotions and thoughts we have regarding uncomfortable social situations. Even thoughts that are not actually truths (ANT’s). If we want to get better, we need to place just as much of an effort on focusing on the positive feelings from using these strategies, even if only in easy situations to begin with. So DO just that and constantly reflect on your successes and give yourself a pat on the back! Maybe buy yourself some chocolates to reward your successes :smile:


#8

As far as slow talk (s.t) is concerned its important to understand that it works in coherence with the other cognitive and behavioral strategies described in the series. st can only fully benefit if it becomes a normal habit and not a conscious effort, though in the beginning its ok. People assume that st is a pill without any side effects, but in reality its fruitfulness is very conditional. It will only benefit if it is made a habit and harmonized with other ccbt strategies. If st in not working then consider the following possibilities,

1-one is not able to implement it as directed. cos he is a beginner, and that is only natural, practice is required.
2-one does not need st. His pace of speech is already normal, he needs to work on the other factors of sa. if this person uses st its bound to backfire.
3-One is magnifying on it and subconsciously expecting it to be a quick fix, as if applying st should magically make him feel like Friedrich Nietzsche’s social superman.
etc


#9

I have been practicing using slow talk with my fiancé. Every time I use it I lose track of what I’m saying because I’m more focused on the speed of my speech rather than what I’m trying to say. Does this get easier with practice or am I doing something wrong?


#10

Thank you for that- it makes sense and makes me feel better about my reaction.
Slow and steady slow talk!