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Shyness... Overcome it!
5 Pieces of Advice for Dealing with Shyness and Social Anxiety
I have very few friends...
I am quite often tense, nervous and anxous...
I don't know how to keep a conversation going....
I am very shy, self-conscious, quiet and insecure...
Do these sound like something you would say? Do they sound all too familiar? If so, read on! Shyness and social anxiety are very common disorders. The causes are many, but most people can overcome social anxiety without professional counseling. If you have social anxiety, and/or are painfully shy, the effects can be pretty unpleasant. You may feel isolated, self-conscious or nervous in group settings and may even experience physical symptoms as well. Some people get sweaty palms, trembling hands or feel discomfort or nausea in the stomach. There are several proactive steps you can take that may help in overcoming shyness and social anxiety.
Let's take a look at 5 different methods and tips. If you experience such a great degree of discomfort that you aren't able to begin in a 'live' setting, try a virtual setting. Let's say you like golf or knitting. There are hundreds of thousands of forums and message boards related to these topics. Get online and search out several. Give yourself a chance to look them over and get a sense of the participants. Seek out the friendliest group. Sign up and start posting. The first step in overcoming social anxiety or shyness is to socialize. Even if you're not face-to-face, you're still interacting with other people. Don't give up here!
Once you're comfortable in this virtual group, it's time to broaden your horizons. Your virtual experience shows that you are interesting to other people and can have lively exchanges and make friends. Overcoming social anxiety or shyness demands that you recognize that you have interesting comments and good personality characteristics to contribute. Join a live support group in your community. When you go to your meeting, remember that the participants are just like you and the group leader knows just how to draw people out in non-threatening ways. Have fun!
When you feel more comfortable in your support group, invite a member or two with whom you have developed a rapport out for lunch or a bike ride in the local park. You'll quickly discover it's not as scary as you think! You may even find yourself talking easily and enjoying being in the company of others.
Now for maybe the biggest step in overcoming your shyness or social anxiety: host a lunch or dinner at your house. Your party doesn't need to be large, just three or four people will do. By now, your level of confidence has grown. No more sweaty palms or heart palpitations at the mere thought of such an event. You've got enough experience and support in successfully interacting socially to take this big step.
All along the way, keep a journal of each of these steps towards overcoming social anxiety and shyness. Write down your thoughts, list positive interchanges and things that people seem to like about you. Believe me, the list may become long. Your journal may also become a cherished keepsake of your successful journey. Good luck!
© Copyright 2013 by Sharolyn Sloat, therapist in Victoria, British Columbia . All rights reserved.