Challenge : Find Your Opposite
Going to a party or networking event on your own can be seriously daunting. You might feel a bit adrift when you enter a room full of unfamiliar people, and your instinct might be to turn right around and head home. Instead of being overwhelmed by everyone there, give yourself a challenge: find the person at the event whos the most different from yourself, your polar opposite. This will help you focus and give you a good reason to talk to people.
Mental Health Treatment Program Locator
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides this online resource for locating mental health treatment facilities and programs. The Mental Health Treatment Locator section of the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator lists facilities providing mental health services to persons with mental illness. Find a facility in your state at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
Shyness Isn’t Really Who You Are
Number 1, a big breakthrough for me when I was like I didn’t really overcome my shyness until I was maybe 21 or so, but a big breakthrough for me was that shyness isn’t really who I am. It’s not who you are. You’re not really shy.
In fact, by holding on that identity, which identity is basically a series of beliefs about who you are, by identifying yourself as a shy person or someone that has anxiety or someone that’s depressed or someone that is whatever, that is your definition that you’ve given yourself, maybe other people have given that to you, but you’re accepting that as who you are, your identity, and it’s not.
It’s BS, a belief system. If you carry on withholding that identity, that’s going to prevent you from making the change, because one thing that I heard from Tony Robbins years ago is that the strongest force in the human personality is the need to remain consistent with how we define ourselves. You define yourself as someone who is shy. You’re going to remain that way because that’s who you are. That’s your identity.
Number 1 thing that I’ll say is that it’s not who you are. It’s basically just a belief system, an identity for yourself that you’ve created or other people have created for you but that doesn’t mean that it’s true. That doesn’t mean that it’s real because there’s a part of you, there’s a part of me, there’s a part of everyone that is social, that is confident, that is an extrovert, that is amazing, the life of the party, the social butterfly.
Read Also: How Can I Get My Anxiety Under Control
What Causes Social Anxiety And Shyness
Although we do not know the exact cause of social anxiety and shyness, we do know the factors that contribute to it. One of which can be your genetics, and also your environment.
However, a very common cause of social anxiety is a negative experience that could have happened to someone. For example, bullying the pain and negativity from this experience can sometimes stick with people.
The anxiety can possibly carry on through to adult life, causing fears of social situations and fears of being rejected or judged etc. It’s even known that some hormone imbalances such as serotonin imbalance can contribute to social anxiety.
Now you know the causes of shyness, you can move forward and learn how to overcome social anxiety.
Always Think Before Speak
Its not that shy human beings are usually silent, they may be just taking time to well known their thoughts, Henderson says. Shy people apprehend what they may be thinking proper away and they stop to mirror on it. This addiction can be good or horrific, but by practicing mindfulness, Henderson says it is smooth to show these thoughts into something positive. It was typically thought that most effective people who had poor thoughts about themselves are humans with clinical conditions, however with so many studies now on mindfulness, we know we are all having an automatic mind, she says.
These instant thoughts, Henderson explains, are why shy human beings assume before they communicate, which could occasionally stumble upon in a bad manner. People who sense shy can find it disturbing that different human beings dont renowned those automated thoughts all of us have about ourselves and our surroundings, she explains.
Recommended Reading: Can Anxiety Cause You To Throw Up
What You Do Every Day Is Conditioning Who You Are
Now, the other thing that’s worth understanding is that your conditioning What you do every day is conditioning who you are. If you’re always alone by yourself in front of the computer, playing video games, watching TV, you’re not socializing, you’re conditioning yourself to be in that state. You’re making that stronger. It’s a stronger part of yourself, and the only way to really change it is to condition yourself to be social, outgoing, and confident.
That’s the only way to change it. Right now understand that if you’re just there in front of the computer and stuff, you’re actually strengthening the shyness within you because you’re just spending more and more time in that state and it’s going to become harder for you to socialize when the time comes.
I’ll share my story real quick. For me, I was very shy. When I was 18 years old, I decided, you know what? 17 years old actually, I decided I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to do something about it. I’m going to change my life. I was sick and tired of being shy, of being a nobody, having no friends.
The pain of living my life that way was far greater than the pain that I have to go through to face the fears. You got to get to that point where you make it painful. You get honest with yourself, you tell yourself the truth and you make a decision to change because in a moment of decision everything can change for you. It’ll put you down in different path and allow you to take different actions.
What Causes Shyness And Social Anxiety
The causes of social anxiety can vary for everyone, but it generally occurs when we avoid social situations due to our fear of negative evaluation from others. This negative evaluation can be experienced with the following emotions and feelings:
As an example, I myself experience social anxiety too sometimes. I consider myself shy, especially in new environments where I encounter or interact with unfamiliar people or those that I cant easily relate with. I still struggle with this and it makes it hard for me to form stronger connections and expand my circle.
Recently, I had a breakthrough during one of my psychological assessments where I found out that my social anxiety stems from my experience in high school when I transferred to a new school. I realized that my shy personality developed when I was thrown into a bigger and more intimidating environment where my classmates were older and smarter than I was. I was way out of my comfort zone, and my coping mechanism was to retreat from social interactions. It was my defense mechanism, as I didnt want to risk feeling different, judged, or rejected.
I still carry this up to this day, but finding out the root of my social anxiety now helps me to combat it. As my assessor told me, to get through this, I only have to remind myself that I am no longer in high school.
Recommended Reading: How To Relax Muscles From Anxiety
Unhelpful Thinking Styles That Fuel Social Anxiety
Ask yourself if youre engaging in any of the following unhelpful thinking styles:
- Mind reading Assuming you know what other people are thinking, and that they see you in the same negative way that you see yourself.
- Fortune telling Predicting the future, usually while assuming the worst will happen. You just know that things will go horribly, so youre already anxious before youre even in the situation.
- Catastrophizing Blowing things out of proportion. For example, if people notice that youre nervous, it will be awful, terrible, or disastrous.
- Personalizing Assuming that people are focusing on you in a negative way or that whats going on with other people has to do with you.
What Keeps It Going
Thoughts: Certain thoughts tend to kick in when you enter a social situation and will make you anxious. These include:
- rules for yourself – I always have to look clever and in control
- beliefs about yourself – I’m boring
- predictions about the future – If someone gets to know me, they will see how inadequate I am.
They make you think about and criticise – your behaviour from moment to moment. Such thoughts are so automatic that they feel true to you although there is often no evidence for them at all. They can make you imagine that you appear to other people in a certain – usually rather unattractive way. Ths is almost certainly very different from the way that people actually do see you.
Also Check: Do I Have Social Anxiety Or Am I Just Shy
How To Overcome Social Anxiety Disorder Tip : Challenge Negative Thoughts
While it may seem like theres nothing you can do about the symptoms of social anxiety disorder or social phobia, in reality, there are many things that can help. The first step is challenging your mentality.
Social anxiety sufferers have negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their fears and anxiety. These can include thoughts such as:
- I know Ill end up looking like a fool.
- My voice will start shaking and Ill humiliate myself.
- People will think Im stupid
- I wont have anything to say. Ill seem boring.
Challenging these negative thoughts is an effective way to reduce the symptoms of social anxiety.
Step 1: Identify the automatic negative thoughts that underlie your fear of social situations. For example, if youre worried about an upcoming work presentation, the underlying negative thought might be: Im going to blow it. Everyone will think Im completely incompetent.
Step 2: Analyze and challenge these thoughts. It helps to ask yourself questions about the negative thoughts: Do I know for sure that Im going to blow the presentation? or Even if Im nervous, will people necessarily think Im incompetent? Through this logical evaluation of your negative thoughts, you can gradually replace them with more realistic and positive ways of looking at social situations that trigger your anxiety.
Try Exercise Or Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Research shows that certain physical activities like jogging can help lower your anxiety. Progressive muscle relaxation can help, too. This means flexing and releasing groups of muscles in your body and keeping your attention on the feeling of the release.
Yoga can also help you calm down. Certain types involve deep breathing, so they can help lower your blood pressure and heart rate. Studies show that doing yoga for a few months can help lower overall anxiety. In fact, just one class may improve mood and anxiety.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Over Death Anxiety
Recognize The Benefits Of Shyness
So maybe you have a hard time opening up to new people right away, or you feel a little uneasy before you have to speak to someone new.
While this might mean you dont make friends or find dates as easily as more outgoing people do, its worth noting that a little caution never hurts.
Holding back when you meet new people gives you the chance to learn more about them before you dive headfirst into a friendship or relationship.
Practical Tips To Overcome Your Shyness & Social Anxiety
This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn a small affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
Shyness and social anxiety can make it a challenge to get yourself heard at work, and a lack of self-confidence can make social situations uncomfortable. The good news is, though, that shyness can be overcome, and you may not need the help of a therapist to gain some confidence.
So, if you are one of the many people who do struggle with shyness, read on. Here are ten tips to help you overcome your shyness.
The first thing to understand is that your shyness does not define who you are. Shyness is not an ingrained personality trait it is an emotion that you can learn to control. So, stop telling people that you are shy, and stop believing that you are a shy person. There are so many other skills and qualities that you have that are far more important than your shyness.
You are not going to read one self-improvement book, or this article for that matter, and become an instantly confident person. Overcoming your shyness will take time and a little a bit effort. Your shyness will probably have begun in your childhood, so you will have had a lot of practice of avoiding social situations and fading into the background. You are not going to be able to change those habits overnight.
Don’t Miss: How Can I Overcome My Social Anxiety
Dealing With Social Phobia
People with social phobia can learn to manage fear, develop confidence and coping skills, and stop avoiding things that make them anxious. But it’s not always easy. Overcoming social phobia means getting up the courage it takes to go beyond what’s comfortable, little by little.
Here’s who can support and guide people in overcoming social phobia:
- Therapists can help people recognize the physical sensations caused by fightflight and teach them to interpret these sensations more accurately. Therapists can help people create a plan for facing social fears one by one, and help them build the skills and confidence to do it. This includes practicing new behaviors. Sometimes, but not always, medications that reduce anxiety are used as part of the treatment for social phobia.
- Family or friends are especially important for people who are dealing with social phobia. The right support from a few key people can help those with social phobia gather the courage to go outside their comfort zone and try something new. Putdowns, lectures, criticisms, and demands to change don’t help and just make a person feel bad. Having social phobia isn’t a person’s fault and isn’t something anyone chooses. Instead, friends and family can encourage people with social phobia to pick a small goal to aim for, remind them to go for it, and be there when they might feel discouraged. Good friends and family are there to celebrate each small success along the way.