Shyness – a social phobia:
A fear becomes a phobia when it stops you from enjoying things or doing them easily. Shyness is a mild fear, which can become a phobia. Shy people tend to worry too much about what people think of them or embarrassing themselves somehow in front of others—nearly 50% of college students identity with being shy. Meeting new people makes them nervous, so does unfamiliar situations. Shyness becomes a problem when you become so preoccupied with worries about such events that you avoid social encounters.
Social anxiety phobia creates a severe disruption in a person’s daily life. It causes people to react uncommonly in ordinary situations. Reactions include being speechless, feeling anxious, pondering what happened and blaming yourself for being stupid. Physical symptoms include a dry mouth, sweating and heart palpitations.
Why do they react this way?
- Shyness runs in families – it has a genetic basis, a general tendency to anxiety disorders.
- They rebuke their own behaviour and overthink every situation afterwards.
- It comes from beliefs they have about themselves (low self-esteem) – like I am boring.
- They often have very high standards for their social performance, like making a good impression.
- They describe their parents as overprotective, controlling and negative.
Coping mechanisms of shy people that are unhealthy includes avoiding eye contact, drinking too much, not giving any information about yourself to anyone or asking other people too many questions.
How can you work on overcoming shyness:
• Remember, you are a unique individual with special talents and qualities of your own.
• There are certain things you are better at than the people around you.
• Know your strengths and focus on them
• Be a good listener and focus on what they are saying, not on what you want to say.
• Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms. You do not accomplish anything by that.
• Learn relaxation techniques – deep breathing etc.
• Break up any engagement in steps – take them on one by one. Relax after every step.
5 Tips to overcome shyness and low self-esteem
1. Have a Good Posture:
The way a person holds themselves says a lot about that person. People with sloped shoulders and sluggish movements show a lack of self-confidence. They don’t think of themselves as important. So stand up straight, shoulders back, keep your head up, and always make eye contact. By practising good posture, you will instantaneously feel more confident. Also, you’ll immediately make a positive imprint on others, and you will feel more attentive and energized.
2. Do Regular Exercise:
Regular exercise increases your energy levels and creates numerous chemicals in the body – like testosterone and endorphins – that will put you in a more positive state of mind. Exercising seems to increase your self-confidence and viewpoint on life automatically. If you’re out of shape, you feel unsure of yourself, unappealing, and less energetic. By having regular exercise, you greatly improve your physical appearance, increase your energy level, and achieve something positive. Think about it. It is a lot better to do some exercise than just looking at the TV all day and stuffing your face with food.
3. Create a Picture of Yourself Being confident:
Construct a vivid picture in your mind of being confident and getting a positive response or result that you want in a certain situation: such as asking someone out on a date. See in your mind the confidence you are asking that person out.
4. Increase Your Walking Speed:
You can tell if a person is confident by the way they walk. People who walk in a slow, lethargic way and look at the ground while they walk usually have no confidence. While people who have confidence in themselves walk purposefully and briskly, they also walk faster. That is because they have important things to do, friends to meet, places to go etc. So walk a little faster, head held up, and looking straight ahead.
5. Do things that make you feel good about yourself:
This can be anything that you really like doing from going to the theatre, listening to music, travelling, helping someone out with a problem etc. (http://www.mindbodyspiritdevelopment.com)
Please chat to a facilitator on LIVE CHAT if you have more questions. It is a text-based chat and may remain anonymous.
References & Resources
Abnormal Psychology. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema. Sixth Edition. McGraw-Hill Education. New York. 2014