Four Ways To Overcome Your Shyness And Social Anxiety

shyness and social anxiety

Shyness and social anxiety can take many forms, whether you find making new friends challenging or break out into a sweat whenever any conversation is initiated.

Your level of social anxiety could be different. It could be crippling, it could just be an annoyance.


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Wherever you fall on the spectrum, these symptoms disrupt your quality of life.

As much as the severity of this anxiety can differ from person to person, so does the methodology needed to work at it. Not everyone can “fake it until they make it” just as most people shouldn’t jump to taking anxiety medication.

Act Your Way Out Of It

For some, the “fake it until you make it” method actually proves to be very useful. Consider yourself a decent actor? Then put yourself in the role of someone cool, collected, and in control of social situations.

Sometimes getting engrossed in this role you are playing takes your attention off the thought-patterns that can accelerate your level of anxiety.

Do these people find me interesting? Am I fitting in? Can they tell I am nervous?

The more you focus on these thoughts, the more your anxiety comes to the surface. If it’s easy to have an anxious demeanor, then it should be easy enough to have one of confidence right?

What many people don’t realize is that your insides don’t always have to match your outsides. Just because you meet a kind and friendly person doesn’t mean they are sitting on a wellspring of confidence on the inside. They might be battling a bit of anxiety as well.

The great thing is that once you “break the ice” you don’t have to rely on the act as much. People have any easier time being warm and inviting to individuals they’ve already met before.

Own this act, and it can almost become a game you can play each time you find yourself in a new social setting.

Of course, not everyone is a natural actor. For those that can’t find the resources within to combat their shyness, the better approach maybe to look outside oneself.

Have Compassion

Many cases of shyness can potentially be traced unto where someone rests their attention. Too much inward focus can lead to a negative spiral of anxiety and worry.

So it would only make sense that bringing your focus out of yourself and unto another could help you make great gains in managing your social anxiety.

Think of some of the things that cause you anxiety out of social situations.

Maybe your car is in disrepair. Your work could be causing you stress. Perhaps a family member is ill.

These are all scenarios anyone could find themselves in. Just because someone is appearing to handle themselves well in a crowd doesn’t mean their life is just peachy.

Empathy is a great healer, especially when we experience empathy from strangers. Finding yourself in a new social setting gives you an amazing power to excise that healing potential through compassion.

Becoming mindful of the common experience we all share as humans, and leveraging that to develop a genuine interest in a stranger can make your shyness all but vanish.

Think about it, when you engrossed in something interesting, don’t you feel your sense of self sort of slip away? This is part of being in your “element.”

Focusing on being concerned and/or interested in a group of strangers (even if it’s just focusing on their happiness as opposed to their life struggles) sure would make it hard to be focused on how you feel about your own self/image wouldn’t it?

You only have a limited amount of attention to give, focusing it outward can make it hard for anxiety to take control.

Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help

Anxiety affects more than 40 million adults in the US. With almost a fifth of the nation’s population dealing with symptoms of shyness and social anxiety, it wouldn’t make sense if there weren’t some effective treatment options available.

Anxiety generally develops in response to a negative stimulus. Adolescence is a trying time where most people start the long process of defining who they are. It’s common to experience social anxiety as a teenager in response to bullying or peer pressure.

Adolescence is a trying time where most people start the long process of defining who they are. It’s common to experience social anxiety as a teenager in response to bullying or peer pressure.

Lots of advice involving shyness and social anxiety involves an intrinsic solution. While the ultimate cure for these ailments has to come from within, there are some external treatment options to help you get there.

Counseling is a great step. Therapists are trained to help you identify the source(s) of your anxiety, recognize what triggers it, and develop techniques to deal with your systems as they come.

Some techniques can work in as little as thirty seconds.

This type of therapy, known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is designed to help the individual directly address the negative thinking that leads to or intensifies mental disorders like depression, anxiety, etc.

Anxiety medication works, but it should generally be last on your list when you can’t seem to get anything else to work.

These types of drugs come with some not-so-mild side effects, but they can help alter your brain chemistry to ensure optimum serotonin or dopamine levels (depending on the case).

You should always consult with your doctor if you feel medication is a necessary step.

While taking medication may help an individual manage their symptoms, they’ll never be “cured” of their anxiety. This is why most doctors will recommend counseling or even life coaching in tandem with a drug prescription.

Plus if a couple rounds of a prescription is what it takes to get you into the therapist’s office to start gaining self-confidence and adopting a more social demeanor, then it’s definitely worth it.

Start Small with Your Shyness and Social Anxiety

It’s one thing to force yourself to go out once a week and thrust yourself into overwhelming social situations. It’s another to maybe ask the person at check-out at the grocery store how their day is going.

“How are you doing today?”

These are five words that can help change your habits and open you up to more social interaction.

A lot of times shyness and anxiety stems from fear. Fear of rejection, fear of not fitting in. You can’t really be “rejected” when you ask someone how their day is going.

The worst you might run into is a one-word answer, but the answer isn’t the important part.

Building a small habit like this will help you in any situation. Pretty soon it will be second nature to initiate small conversations each day.

When you suffer from mild to severe shyness and social anxiety, the goal (to be symptom free and sociable) may seem far away. Just imagining how big a shift that is from how you currently are can induce anxiety with yourself.

That is why it’s important to start small. It doesn’t take long to develop a habit, and anyone suffering from shyness and social anxiety is only a few useful habits away from a noticeable improvement in well-being.

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