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NLP Tip: What to do When You’re Self-Conscious

exhale talking nlpA lot of us deal with shyness, self-consciousness or social anxiety.

Some of us are even Smart Anxious Misfits!

When you’re highly self-conscious and socially anxious, it’s all too easy to clam up, disengage from others, and tail spin into panic.

At that point, the only goal is to get the hell out of wherever you are so you can regain your composure.

Is there anything can you do to take the edge off self-consciousness in the first place?

There’s lots you can try. How successful these tips will be is another matter entirely. Still, I submit that tips such as those that follow are worth learning. They can help, even if only by small degrees.

Let me repeat: While psychological and interpersonal communication tips can be helpful, they are not cures for social anxiety. Still, they can be helpful, so why not learn and apply as many tips as possible?

Here’s a tip straight from the annals of classic NLP, or Neurolinguistic Programming. This may very well help with social nervousness and disconnection from others. It won’t resolve full-blown, active social anxiety or panic in the moment.

Tip: Exhale while the other person is talking.

Exhaling while the other is talking accomplishes a few things:

• It gives you something to do, mentally
• It takes your focus off of yourself
• It creates a connection with other person (breathing somewhat in sync does this)
• It regulates your breathing, which can help keep you remain calm

If you’ve never thought about this before, consider that people talk on the exhale….then pause for a breath….and talk on the exhale….and so forth.

Assuming you’re with people who talk at an average pace, you should be able to regulate your breathing with theirs.

Here are a couple of tips to help you do this well:

• Don’t obsess about getting it just right
• If the other is talking too quickly or slowly, this may not be the right method
• Don’t stare at their mouths (or any part of their body, to track breathing)
• You still need to listen to what they are actually saying…that’s the priority
• Don’t expect miracles.

Just try it!

NLP Tip: What to do When You’re Self-Conscious

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2016). NLP Tip: What to do When You’re Self-Conscious. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 8 Sep 2016
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