Yes? Then don’t underestimate the power of a book.
I’ll just say this. Books, for me, have played an essential role in overcoming social anxiety.
And life-changing is the word that comes to mind when I think about these seven books, in particular, out of hundreds I’ve read.
That’s why I’ve made it a point to reread and digest these books—because of the power each of them holds.
And if you struggle with social anxiety, I recommend you do the same. The more times you read a book, the more the philosophy becomes ingrained into your way of being.
In the words of Seneca…
Be careful, however, lest this reading of many authors and books of every sort may tend to make you discursive and unsteady. You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind. Everywhere means nowhere.
Seneca, Letters to a Stoic
Previously in my life, I hopped from book to book. (Read: How to Listen to a Book a Day). I thought mass-consuming books was most beneficial.
But I was wrong. And I’ve changed my ways.
Although I still enjoy reading new books. I’ve made it a point to go back and reread the books from people that Seneca deems “master thinkers”.
And the authors of these seven books certainly fit that profile. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
1. The Power of Now
This is the book that “awakened” me. I was a very heady person my whole life—from school, video games and television.
But when I read The Power of Now I became connected, once again, with my body. And more importantly—I got out of my head.
And that’s the whole reason anxiety exists: it originates in your head. You get worried about the future and the uncertainty around it.
That’s why The Power of Now is essential reading material. It helps you to get out of your head and into the present moment.
When you’re attention is in the present moment—you can’t be thinking about all the bad things that might happen. And that, of course, creates an environment where social anxiety cannot exist.
2. Gorilla Mindset
I stumbled upon the work of Mike Cernovich, at Danger & Play, one year ago—and my life has changed course since.
With over a thousand articles, hundreds of podcasts, and the best practical mindset advice in the world, his book Gorilla Mindset is a must-read.
The whole book is full wisdom for the ages. But in the case of social anxiety, the one thing you’ll learn is that posture plays a massive role in how you feel.
For most of my life I was shy and had little confidence. And my posture reflected that—slumped shoulders, caved in chest, lowered head.
But when I read Gorilla Mindset, I adopted more expansive and upright posture. And my entire sense of how I felt inside my body changed.
My self-image changed. And I felt more respect for myself and the space I occupied.
I felt a lasting surge of confidence in myself; a self-assurance I hadn’t felt before.
Amy Cuddy’s work happens to be the place Mike Cernovich took inspiration from—in regards to the mind-body connection and posture.
And that’s what Cuddy is most famous for: her revolutionary work in uncovering the relationship between the body and the mind.
Before Cuddy, no one understood how doing simple things like expanding your posture could actually change the way you feel.
A study performed in 2010—by Carney, Cuddy, and Yap—revealed that the more space your body takes up, the higher your testosterone levels (the confidence hormone), and the lower your cortisol levels (the social anxiety hormone).
Cuddy’s book, Presence, explores this topic—the mind-body connection—in-depth, with scientific research backing up every claim.
Reading it will, guaranteed, change your relationship with your body. And it will give you tons of actionable advice that you can implement today that will change your life.
4. The Alabaster Girl
Those with social anxiety, often, aren’t skilled with the opposite sex.
If you aren’t comfortable with who you are, it’s impossible for someone else to be comfortable with who you are. Your outer world always reflects your inner world.
And that’s why diving into the land of relationships can help you overcome social anxiety. Interacting with the opposite sex exposes your flaws and insecurities and forces you to overcome them.
If you’ve been clueless your whole life when it comes to the opposite sex—it can be problematic to take that first step.
Thank God for The Alabaster Girl. Zan Perrion, after writing for 10 years, has put together the definitive resource for understanding relationships.
He grew up a “nice guy”, like myself, and was lost and clueless when it came to understanding women. But because he loved women so much, he devoted his entire life to understanding the intricacies of becoming “that guy” (the guy who naturally attracts beautiful women).
And that’s why this book is such a great resource. And If I had to choose *one* book to read for the rest of my life, it would be The Alabaster Girl, without hesitation.
After all, on your deathbed, relationships and how you connected with people will be the only thing that matters.
5. What Every BODY is Saying
In every interaction there’s two conversations happening. Above the surface, words. And below the surface, nonverbal communication.
Nonverbal communication is all about how your body communicates with the world.
Those with social anxiety, like myself, usually aren’t aware of this language that the body speaks. That’s because with social anxiety you’re wrapped up in your own thoughts and self-judgment, leaving little space for anything else.
That’s why reading What Every BODY is Saying is massively important.
The premise of the book is that every BODY is giving off unconscious signals from moment to moment. Understanding these signals helps not only in understanding other people better, but it also helps you understand yourself better.
6. Power Cues
Power Cues is all about becoming a more powerful and dynamic person in your interactions with people.
Nick Morgan also talks about how the mind-body are connected; but he takes it a step further. Because they’re connected, you can work from the inside-out, or, you can work from the outside-in.
This is undiscovered territory for most: the fact that you can improve yourself from the outside-in. You can change your body language to change how you feel.
An example in the book Morgan gives is your hands. Your hands mirror your mind. So when you’re nervous or anxious, your hands will express that through fidgety movement.
Working from the outside-in…you can become aware of when your hands are fidgeting and you can consciously relax them. That will relax your mind.
Bottom line: this is an essential book for those with social anxiety.
Humans are creatures of comfort. We cling to what we know.
And that includes all the unconscious behaviors we repeat, over and over. Most of us bring the baggage of our pasts into the present and future.
The only true answer I’ve found to start living life on my terms? Awareness.
Awareness gives you insight into the patterns that unfold in your life. And that light of awareness is what sparks a change.
With awareness you stop living out your past conditioning and your able to act from your center—the only place that hasn’t been conditioned by society. And that means you start living true to yourself.
And that’s also when social anxiety starts to fade. You stop bringing all your past mistakes to the table…and you start living in this moment.
That’s why Awareness, by Osho, is so powerful. Digesting the book will certainly change your view on life, and your view that the only thing that really matters is awareness.
Everything else is superfluous.