Heightened self-consciousness can be a serious problem. It can prevent us from relaxing, especially in social situations, and can make us hyper self-critical.
I personally suffered from heightened self-consciousness for years. In my early twenties, anytime I would socialise I would always feel pressured, and my mind would be flooded with thoughts like, “What are people thinking of me?” and “I don’t fit in.”
These thoughts and concerns prevented me from relaxing in public and from enjoying any kind of social life.
Then I started meditating. Meditating completely changed my relationship with myself. By meditating, I learned to observe my thoughts mindfully and to be less affected by self-criticism. I got so into meditation that now, years later, I’m a meditation teacher, and I help over people to overcome problems with self-criticism.
Meditation really is a game-changer for people who are either self-critical or overly self-conscious.
By meditating, we slow the mind down and learn to be mindfully aware of self-criticism so that it no longer affects us. Then, we can be calm around others and feel good about ourselves. Plus, we can also use meditation to develop self-acceptance and self-love too.
There are five meditations in particular that can be very beneficial for people with heightened levels of self-consciousness. Let’s take a look.
Use These 5 Meditations To Overcome Self-Consciousness
Mindfulness is the practice of focusing the mind on the present moment without judgment.
One way to practice mindfulness is to sit quietly, focus on your breath, and observe your thoughts. Anytime a negative thought or self-judgmental thought comes along, remind yourself that it is just a thought and nothing more. This will train you to be less reactive to thoughts so that when you do experience self-criticism, you are no longer affected by it.
2: Loving Kindness
Loving Kindness Meditation (otherwise called “Metta”) is a method through which we develop compassionate thoughts both for ourselves and for other people.
We perform this technique by sitting quietly with the eyes closed and visualizing sending love and kindness to other people and to ourselves. We also visualise other people sending love and kindness back to us.
This trains the mind to see other people in a loving way, and makes us feel much more supported, so we are no longer nervous around other people. You can learn more about this method here.
Karuna meditation is a meditation for compassion. Traditionally speaking, it is closely related to the loving-kindness meditation we looked at above and is performed in a similar way.
The difference is that with Karuna, we focus on the struggles of both ourselves and other people, and we visualise helping both ourselves and others in compassionate ways.
I personally find that this method reminds me that no one is perfect, that we all have our flaws, and that we can all support each other.
This method helped me with my self-consciousness because it made me more receptive to the compassion of others, so that even when I was being critical of myself, I felt other people supporting me.
This is a potent meditation for anyone who feels self-conscious about their looks, their weight, and other visual aspects of themselves.
To perform this technique, stand in front of a mirror.
Begin to meditate on yourself.
Start by focusing on your hair. When you look at your hair, do you feel judgmental or self-critical? If so, observe those thoughts mindfully and then say the mantra “I am fine just the way I am.”
Now, continue in the same way as you look at your face, then your torso, your arms, and so on, all the way down your body.
Listen to any thoughts or self-criticism, remind yourself that they are just thoughts, and tell yourself that you are fine just the way you are.
This method will teach you to accept your body so you are no longer self-conscious about your weight, your looks, or other factors.
5: Meditate in public
This one will be a challenge for people who feel self-conscious in public. However, it will also be an absolute game-changer.
When you’re in public, you might think negative thoughts about yourself, and naturally you want to quieten these thoughts.
When I was younger, I constantly thought brutal thought about myself anytime I was in a public setting, and those thoughts prevented me from socialising to the point that I would always just sit in the corner of the room minding my own business. Then I tried this technique, and it changed everything.
To do this technique, sit somewhere public but also relaxing (like a park bench), meditate on your breath, and observe your self-talk.
You might find that you experience negative self-talk when in public. If so, remind yourself that self-talk and thoughts exist only in your mind and that they are not important. This will train your mind to pay less attention to negative thoughts and will help you to relax in public settings.
I personally used these meditation techniques to overcome my own self-consciousness years ago. They helped me to relax and to feel much more confident in public settings.
Always remember that your self-consciousness and self-criticism exist only in your mind. They are not real and do not reflect you as a person. The more you remind yourself that negative thoughts are only thoughts, the less they will affect you, and the more confident you will become.
About the Author
Paul Harrison is a meditation teacher in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and the creator of meditation blog TheDailyMeditation.com
Image source – DepositPhotos