How to reduce tension, or relax, in challenging social situations?

PLEASE DON'T ANSWER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ THE DETAILS. Answers like be yourself and take a deep breath aren't too helpful to me, unless they're backed with other information that makes them useful in my case. So I'm a shy person, a recovering shy actually; I have been trying to tone down... show more PLEASE DON'T ANSWER IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ THE DETAILS. Answers like be yourself and take a deep breath aren't too helpful to me, unless they're backed with other information that makes them useful in my case.

So I'm a shy person, a recovering shy actually; I have been trying to tone down my shyness for the past few years and I have improved dramatically. I have changed my dysfunctional shy thoughts like "this person won't like me", "if I say this I will make a fool out of myself" etc. to functional normal thoughts. Previously I used to sometimes go blank and not be able to say anything because of shyness, but now I can talk and socialize with people like a normal person.

However, in many situations, like when talking to new people or attractive men, I am still very aware of what I say and how I appear, like I am constantly evaluating what I say before saying it. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is like an effort for me to talk and socialize. It also seems that no matter how hard I try, people still ask why I didn't talk too much, or why I stayed quiet, even though I felt like I talked a lot. I do talk and socialize a lot more (like I mentioned with new or intimidating people, I'm actually very talkative with my family or people I'm used to), but I still feel tense, and I think people sense my tension one way or the other. I do not fidget or do any nervous moves but tension still shows in my body language. It gets embarrassing when, for example, someone I'm attracted to can sense my anxiety when I've been trying to hide it for the whole time; it's like I'm anxious because I don't want them to know that I like them but then my anxiety works against me and shows them that I do.

I have mostly taken care of the thoughts that make me shy or anxious, but how do I deal with the tension that arises in these social situations? How do I relax? Alcohol works, but it's of course not practical; I can't be drunk every time I face a challenging social situation. I wish I could get my hands on beta blockers, but I saw a psychiatrist and he didn't recommend I take any medication. Heck, do you know where I can get them without prescription? All joking aside, my main question is how do I reduce tension in challenging social situations?
Update: Joe, thanks, but no this doesn't help me much, since I said in the details that I can talk fairly easily, small talk isn't the problem, it's the tension! thanks anyways
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