Here are some exercises and advise for shyness. For more help with shyness, visit: ShynessHelp.com.
Finding Out About Shyness: True or False
I find it very difficult to talk to new people.
I lack confidence with people.
I feel very tense and nervous when I try to initiate a conversation
At work I have difficulty talking to other people.
I often tense up and forget what I was about to say when trying to talk to someone new.
I am especially nervous when talking to someone I would like to date.
I often replay entire dialogues in my mind, wishing I had said something different.
People see me as very quiet but I do not want to be.
If You are Shy . . .
You become very nervous when meeting new people or you often avoid situations where new people are present
You keep trying to talk yourself into talking to more people but still are unable to do this
You spend far more time alone than you would like to and cannot seem to change this
You often freeze up when talking
There is Help Available for Shyness
When I work with shy people in my counseling practice we work on shyness with coaching and counseling. This effort involves learning to relax in social situations and developing more effective social skills.
Shyness is a set of learned behaviors that interfere with relating to people or having successful relationships. These behaviors can be replaced by more effective behavior and a shy person can learn to relax in social situations.
Counseling and supportive coaching includes:
Taking small steps toward improving social contact and practicing new social behavior. The steps need to be small enough to allow one to increase skills and confidence level.
Learning to manage and eventually eliminate anxiety, tension, and nervousness. There are several skills that can be taught to reduce stress and tension around people.
Learning how to meet people, how to date, and how to develop a satisfying relationship
There is help available for shyness. You can have the support and learn the skills you need to feel more comfortable around others and have rewarding relationships.
Exercises for Overcoming Shyness
The following information and exercises are designed to assist you with overcoming shyness and are taken from the Overcoming Shyness Workshop. I would recommend that you use them along with the help of a counselor/psychotherapist.
Managing Your Anxiety
Negative self-talk/ self-criticism and tension make an already anxiety provoking situation that much more difficult. In fact, we know that negative thinking creates anxiety, and interferes with attention and concentration.
Try having a conversation and being friendly when all of that is going on!
According to recent research, “we feel the way we think”. Therefore if you have a negative beliefs about yourself or others you will not have positive feelings about yourself, other people, or most social interactions. Overcoming Shyness may in large part be about working to change or eliminate these negative beliefs.
Common Mistaken Beliefs for Shy People and their Counterarguments
“If I talk to someone new I will say the wrong think and embarrass myself, it is better not say anything at all.”
Counterargument to this belief is that you absolutely have no way to know what will happen if you talk to someone new- this would be foretelling the future. Also it is certainly not better to avoid saying anything at all. The more practice that you get speaking to others, the better you will get at speaking to others.
“I just do not know what to say most of the time.”
counterargument: This belief is based on the mistaken assumption that you have to say the “right thing” most of the time and this is not true. There is often not a “right” thing to say.
“Other people are just not that interested in me.”
Counterargument: Can you read minds ? This is a generalization.
“Other people will reject me and I just will not be able to handle this.”
Counterargument: Thinking that you cannot handle rejection is a mistaken belief. You can learn with practice to handle rejection and interpret is as a step along the way to success.
Think of a Social Situation that Caused You Difficulty Recently
Think about how you felt.
Thank about the event itself.
Identify what you said to yourself — the negative message you told yourself Did you put yourself down? Did you make a “should have” or “I’ll never statement”?
How were you feeling? Did you feel down, angry, sorry for yourself, guilty, shame? What was it?
What was the negative message you told yourself?
My Self-Critical Thoughts
Knowing What BELIEFS Are Helps
It’s also important to replace these beliefs with more with positive thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Positive beliefs/statements about yourself are called affirmations.
Examples of Positive Beliefs/Affirmations:
“I can learn to overcome my shyness.”
“I can make mistakes when talking to new people and still pursue a relationship,”
“I can become comfortable talking in meetings.”
“I am capable of bringing new people into my life.”
Some New Positive Beliefs or Self Statements for You:
Other Strategies for Managing Your Anxiety in Social Situations
It is very difficult to feel nervous when you are relaxed. Therefore learning relaxation techniques is a key component in becoming more comfortable in social situations if you are shy.
You can learn breathing /relaxation exercises that will help you relax around other people. One of the easiest but most powerful relaxation techniques involves taking deep breath and then releasing the breath very slowly. You can take a deep breath and let it out to a count of four. This is quite relaxing. You can use this technique even in the presence of other people but it is best to practice it first when you are alone.
If you need help with this, you can purchase a relaxation tape at any large bookstore. The tape will teach you some additional relaxation techniques.
You can use the relaxation techniques while you visualize in a positive relaxed way, the experience you wish to have or the exact situation you wish to take place in a relaxing way. If you do this often it is very effective.
Another visualization strategy is to sit quietly and imagine in your mind going some place that you find especially relaxing. Imagine all of the sights, sounds, smells, etc. of this place while taking deep breaths and relaxing the tense parts of your body. You can use this technique before meeting a new person, going out on a date, attending a meeting etc. or any situation that typically causes you to feel nervous.
Most Shy people are very afraid of situations where they may experience rejection by others. This is especially true of dating situations or situations involving meeting new people who may be potential friends.
Common rejection avoidance strategies:
1. Stay home every night and use the computer or watch TV.
2. Think this should be easy and give up
3. Dress in unflattering ways and avoid people
4. Become a workaholic
5. Avoid places or opportunities to meet people
Surviving It — YES!
1. Talk to a friend about it
2. Talk to yourself about it and recognize it as a part of life
3. Be especially kind to yourself and do something fun instead
4. All of the above and give yourself credit for trying (cliché but works)
5. Staying focused on your own positive opinion of yourself. Develop a new set of positive beliefs and say them to yourself.
6. Be prepared to ask several people out or meet several new people as potential friends before you get a positive response. Finding dates, partners, and friends is difficult business. (You will need to meet several people before there is a real connection with someone).