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Episode Info: This week I've returned to behavioural experiments. I've been to a conference and have left my safety behaviours behind - at least I tried to! How did I get on? Listen to the show or read the transcript below to find out. Networking at conferences anxiety Hey everyone. This week I've been putting my safety behaviours to the test. I've been to a conference and my aim has been to leave my safety behaviours behind and network with the other delegates. For new listeners, safety behaviours are the things we do to keep us safe when we feel anxious. At previous conferences, for example, I would be sitting in the corner or making frequent toilet breaks because this would be more comfortable than the fear of making a social mistake. Since starting my therapy I have been creating what are known as behavioural experiments where I try to live life without using my safety behaviours. So at this conference I was not going to: Sit in the corner Make frequent toilet breaks Avoid asking questions Plan conversations in my head Try and predict how people will respond This should show me that people accept me, that I don't look out of place or awkward. And the theory is that the more you prove to yourself that something bad is not going to happen, the more likely it is that your fears will reduce or disappear completely. How did it go? I think I did very well to not use my safety behaviours. However, I do feel this was because I 'warmed up' around people I knew. Would the results have been different had I not known anyone in the room? Probably. I started by trying to find out more about other people by asking them questions about their work. They were happy to answer and followed this up by asking similar questions to me. I felt that they were interested in what I was saying, which felt empowering. Another fear I often have is that people won't respect me because I'm young or I say something stupid. This created increased anxiety for myself as I worried about how I came across to other people. In this case, as expected, I was surrounded by people much older than myself, and with much more experience in my field. I used to avoid offering opinions that differed to those of more experienced people because the fear of being shot down by those who knew more was too great. This time round, I offered my thoughts and other people agreed with my points and offered their views. Some people disagreed but it was more of a discussion than I was expecting. No one flatly disco
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