Talking Slower Can Reduce Social Anxiety

Like many autistics, I suffer from social anxiety. Recently, it occurred to me that maybe I talk too fast, and that other people find this off-putting (which creates a vicious cycle, where I sense they find my behavior strange, and that makes me even more anxious!). So I decided to make an effort to talk a little slower. The experience so far has been positive. People tend to react more calmly and pleasantly if you talk to them slowly, and their positive response helps you calm down as well.

I wondered if other people had thought of slowing down as a way of dealing with social anxiety.┬áTurns out, it’s standard practice in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for social anxiety. Furthermore, if you have a high-pitched voice, people tend to take you less seriously (and you sound more anxious), so in that case consider lowering pitch too. Slowing down all your movements may help as well, but don’t over-do it or you’ll look like a zombie! It takes a little getting used to, and may feel a bit awkward at first. If you’re absent-minded like me, it helps to set a daily reminder. Here’s a video I found that explains some of the benefits of talking slower: