Shyness and social anxiety are among the major concerns of modern civilization. It is estimated that about 17 million adults in America fit the criteria of being extremely shy or socially anxious. People who are shy often feel uncomfortable about being the center of attraction especially in public places.
The discomfort may come from fear of being scrutinized negatively, and can manifest in various ways including anxiety, fear of humiliation, rejection or failure. Although most people struggle with these emotions, there are various little things one can do to overcome shyness and social anxiety.
Situations that result in shyness and social anxiety :
Instead of avoiding certain social situations and falling into isolation, you should strive to eliminate the barriers. Here are a few insights to help you deal with shyness, but first, a look at the common situations feared by people with social anxiety :
1. Speaking in front of others .
2. Attending parties and public hangouts .
3. Talking to strange people you just met .
4. Eating, writing, working or using your phone in the presence of other people .
5. Waiting in queues .
6. Using public transport of toilet .
7. Approaching someone you are romantically attracted to .
If you feel nervous in the above situations, you may experience varied symptoms such as blushing, sweating, nausea, heart palpitations and shaking among others. To overcome shyness and social anxiety, you can try to cultivate the following :
Take confident actions
One great way to overcome social anxiety is boosting your own confidence. The first time riding a bicycle can be terrifying, but this only lasts a short while until you are confident after which you start experimenting pro stunts. The same way, social anxiety reflects a lack of self confidence. Instead of avoiding situations that make you shy, confront them with confident actions.
Engage in conversations
Next time you are waiting in line, at a restaurant, store or social event like sports, try to engage in small talk and conversations with strangers. You can point out something, give a compliment or even ask an engaging question.
Express your feelings
Approach those you are romantically attracted to without fear of rejection. Ask them out on a date or for a dance and let them know your interest to spend more time in their presence.
Share your opinion
The key to confidence is giving up your preoccupation with what other people will think or say. Simply talk, tell jokes, share your personal experiences and let your voice be heard.
Try a new thing
You can join an improvement class, sports team or club, learn a new skill or take on difficult assignments at work. Anything that gets you out of your comfort zone is good when you want to overcome shyness and social anxiety. Walking straight into the unknown and trying new things is one way of confronting your fears and will prepare you for handling social anxiety.
Work on confident body language
When speaking to others, make eye contact, keep your head high and use a clear effective voice. Do not be afraid to give hugs, shake hands or get close to other people.
There are several other things you can do to overcome shyness and fear of social interactions. Always remember to be mindful and aware of your emotions, thoughts and surrounding at any given moment including when you panic.
It is also advisable to let go of some of your strong resolutions and give into vulnerability. Instead of projecting false image, allow others to know the real you and appreciate you for who you are as this is the connection that people value most.
If the situation is already at its worst, you may need cognitive behavior therapy and medication. You can talk to a professional psychologist or life coach for help.