I suffered from one of the worst cases of anxiety, and I wanted to share how I got over it. Since anxiety affects thirty per cent of the population, I thought it would be useful to some people.
My anxiety was bad, really bad. Forget a pounding heart or a shaky voice. I was visibly sweating and couldn't talk when the attention was on me. I felt judged and that everyone saw my insecurities. A lecturer asking me a question in class—my worst nightmare. Talking to a girl—inconceivable.
I did two key things to get over anxiety:
Approaching strangers is terrifying because you don't know how they're going to react, and that's why I did it. You can start with something simple by asking them for the time or directions. Once you gain more confidence (you will with repetition), you'll start asking beautiful strangers on dates. That's what happened to me, and it catapulted my dating life.
The second solution was public speaking, surveyed as people's biggest fear, even more than death. There isn't really a dip-your-feet method to this approach, so you'll have to dive into the deep end.
I did, and it was humiliating. I joined a toastmasters club, and I was picked for an improv topic. As I stumbled through the speech, my face flushed, and I walked off stage. Everyone applauded, pitying me.
I had a few more similar incidents on stage, such as sweat covering my face and my voice cutting out thanks to my dry mouth. An audience member handed me a glass of water, making me feel even more embarrassed.
But I kept returning to the stage, and repetition made me more confident. Eventually, I won a few improv speech contests.
I'd love to know how your anxiety makes you feel and what methods you used to get over it.