Authentic Engagement

A radical way of being.

The Anxiety of Being

Anxiety is a part of being human. It is how we relate to it that makes the difference whether or not we have a rich existence. Read More


I don't know what to always nervous, tense, sweating etc when expected to say something in a crowd, of which I will utter a word or two and freeze. at 38yrs and I cant stand in front of people and say something is rather serious.

Fortunately most of us...

Fortunautely, most of us don't have to speak up in front of groups. I think you can either get a "cure" for your public speaking anxiety, and learn how to be more confortable in front of groups, or you can choose a life where you don't have to do public presentations. I don't believe either choice is superior to the other. Both of these choices can make you more comfortable with yourself. There are a lot of books on introverts that have been out lately. Some of them might be pretty good reading. Good ouck to you, Glenn

Gradually desensitizing yourself may be helpful, perhaps with Toastmasters Club participation


Fear of public speaking or public performance (of various performing arts skills - e.g., dancing, singing, playing a musical instrument, engaging in sports events, participating in public contests, etc.), is a very common source of anxiety. I believe this often arises from either having no experiences speaking/performing publicly, as a child, or else having received harsh, critical feedback from key adults, during childhood. Though I sang and played multiple musical instruments from a young age, I'm unable to keep my hands from shaking when I play in front of others, though I can sing for hours without difficulty, regardless of the number of audience onlookers. Guess which activity I got a lot of harsh criticism on, during my upbringing?

Believe it or not, the main reason most primary grade teachers use "show and tell" time in their classrooms, is to introduce youngsters to the world of public-speaking. The format is one in which the child speaker can select both the topic to be discussed (something pleasant & meaningful to her/him), as well as, the how much information will be presented about it. Ideally, the classroom speaking experiences will build on that relaxed, simple framework to increase the range, quantity, and quality of topics students learn to comfortably discuss in front of others.

For those of us who weren't taught all of the public speaking skills that would make our adult lives easier, either college courses or joining Toastmaster's speaking clubs are helpful supports. Toastmaster's groups are small, offered at all times of the day/evening, and filled with other learners who want to improve their speaking skills, often for a specific, upcoming event. Getting feedback from a small group can provide the safety and insights about speaking rate, articulation, body mannerisms, eye contact, etc. that can help improve your successful presentation.

Each person takes turns speaking and giving feedback. Thus, you can learn from the strengths and weaknesses of others in your group. With sufficient rehearsals, in front of a supportive feedback group, your confidence in public speaking will improve. Rehearsing in front of a video recorder can, also, give you excellent rehearsal feedback, though is less risky than giving your presentation in front of others. Best wishes to you!

As you rightly say it's not

As you rightly say it's not about identifying with anxiety, but an awareness and understanding of it.
For me, it's involved a great deal of getting to know myself, to realise that I am highly empathic, highly sensitive and highly introverted - there are some very specific types of environment combined with the types of people within that environment that I find totally overwhelming and physically draining and hence avoid these environments at all costs or if it is necessary to enter into one of these environments (which unfortunately at this current moment in time it is - as my situation dictates that I have no choice - hence the need to change my situation, which is never quite as straightforward as it sounds due to my personal responsibilities - changing yourself is one thing, changing the environment, which is mainly beyond my control is an entirely different thing) - anyway in entering this 'type' of environment I get in and out ASAP. Whilst in this environment I feel highly vulnerable - and rightly so - hence heightened anxiety - which can, and has at times, if I'm not careful transform into anger.
In avoiding these 'types' of people/environments it has in no way limited my life, in fact exactly the opposite has occured - I've discovered an entirely different way of living, got back in touch with nature, discovered my 'soul'/Self - and discovered ways that I can generally maintain my anxiety at levels whereby I can remain functional.
The conflict however tends to arise that my definition of functional is not a 'socially acceptable' definition - but as Jiddu Krishnamurti said - “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Hi,is strange to be talking

Hi,is strange to be talking about my anxiety but i felt the need to do this.From maybe 4 years to now i started feeling that anything would be really good or i would not complete any of my goals in life.I feel stoped in a point of my life where i think i will never go through.It`s strange to see life in bad way but i think that i honestly sometimes prefer to keep myself in bed than go to the streets and fight for living the way i really wanna live,I always had to fight to do the things that i wanted to do,obrigations or challenges were always a part of life,i would like to know how is living life in balance,pleasure and obrigations,side to side because i think i don`t know how to live like this.Thank you for your time.

Sometimes, that staying in bed...

Sometimes, that staying in bed isn't such a bad thing. We're not always 100% on, and when you fluctuate between going out and taking on the world, and staying back and hanging around in bed, I'm just saying that once in a while, that bed's not such a bad choice. There is nothing "wrong" with you if you have anxiety, even if you have a lot of anxiety. Sounds like you are doing your best to punish yourself for it, or at least hold yourself in contempt for having anxiety. There will be times where life will be a lot easier. It does get better. Glenn

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Bob Edelstein, L.M.F.T., M.F.T., is an existential humanistic psychotherapist based in Portland, Oregon.


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