mizzlinzyann "I think the key is to not get upset over your anxiety and just try to let the feelings wash over you and exist, without getting attached to the symptoms and letting yourself get upset."
Yea, right, sorta.
Tikken "it's more to do with deeply ingrained thought processes than simply deciding to think another way."
I am not saying to think another way. Think however you want. I am just saying anxiety, all by itself, isn't all that unpleasant. I found it unpleasant to try and look calm when I am not, which I was doing because I thought people expected me to look calm and I ought to meet their expectations. But I don't find it unpleasant to just let myself look and feel nervous. I used to stutter when I got nervous about something. The more I tried to stop stuttering, the more I stuttered. Then I decided to just stutter, and just let people see that I was nervous, and I didn't care if they saw I was nervous, and I didn't care if they heard me stutter. Then I found that as long as people could understand what I was saying, it didn't matter if I stuttered or not.
Someone asked me to address the county legislature. I had no experience addressing large groups and I was really nervous. Then I decided I didn't care if people saw how nervous I was. Yes, I was nervous, my hand was shaking, with my notes in it, when I was trying to talk - but I didn't find the experience unpleasant, simply because I didn't mind if people saw my hand shaking. You don't have to "stay calm" just because some people said "stay calm." You can just be yourself. You can be nervous and look nervous and it isn't all that unpleasant and it isn't so terrible if people notice it.
The way I figured it, I had something worthwhile to say. It didn't matter if I didn't look like a professional speaker. What was important was the content of my message, the thoughts expressed, not my mannerisms when saying them or appearance when saying them.
If people wanted to march in front of me with an imitation of my shaking and an imitation of my stuttering, that was fine with me.