Shyness limits your chances of enjoying social events and the company of others. Therefore, it is best to take control of the tendency to be shy before it takes control of you. Psychologist Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph.D., head of the Shyness Research Institute of Indiana University, suggests several strategies that can minimize the experience of shyness as well as the accompanying feelings of failure, frustration and rejection, as reported in Lauren J. Bryant's article "Fighting Shy" in the Indiana University Research and Creative Activity publication "A Child's Life."
Take Control of Your Shyness
Spend some time in self-examination in an attempt to uncover the particular situations in which you experience shyness, as well as how this shyness presents itself. Are you more bashful when conversing with someone to whom you are attracted? Do you choke up, hyperventilate or experience profuse sweating when in an unfamiliar social setting?
Try to relax using techniques to reduce stress. Controlled slow breathing exercises can help in regulating hyperventilation. Breathe in and then hold your breath as you count to 10. As you exhale, think "relax." Repeat as necessary. Tension controlling exercises can help the body relax and regain composure in a stressful situation. One such activity is the repeated clenching and loosening of the fists.
Take time to rehearse appropriate behavior for different social situations in which you may find yourself. Start with non-threatening public places or situations, such as ball games or shopping malls. Practice making eye contact in addition to asking for directions or the time. Master the art of small talk, asking open-ended questions.
When you eventually find yourself in an unfamiliar or anxiety-provoking situation, try socializing with other individuals who are obviously also feeling shy. This will help to build your self-confidence as well as theirs.
In order to have long-lasting effects with overcoming shyness, you must work on changing how you think about yourself as well as what you assume others are thinking of you. Work on being less self-conscious and on not putting yourself down. Avoid over-generalizations. Learn to accept rejection -- understand that not everyone will like you, just as you will not want to socialize with particular individuals.
Since not every social setting is ideal for all individuals, you can try socializing in circumstances in which you are most comfortable. Thus, if you are more of a concert goer than a clubber, try striking up a conversation with someone while enjoying a performance by your favorite band.
- Shyness: A Bold New Approach; Bernardo J. Carducci, Ph.D., Susan Golant
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