Ever feel nervous when meeting new people? Unsure how to engage in the family get-together? You might be getting a case of the “shy” bug.
This pesky “bug” is a part of just about everyone’s experience at one time or another. Experts share the main reason shyness creeps up on us is the desire, and need, to belong – yet the fear of being rejected or criticized. Shyness can have a profound impact on self-confidence and, subsequently, on one’s mental health. When individuals struggle with shyness, they often find it challenging to engage in social interactions, express themselves, or assert their opinions. This can lead to a persistent feeling of inadequacy and self-doubt, eroding their self-confidence over time. As self-confidence diminishes, individuals may avoid social settings altogether, further reinforcing their shyness and social isolation. This negative cycle can contribute to feelings of low self-esteem, loneliness, social anxiety disorder, and even depression, ultimately taking a toll on their mental well-being. It’s essential to recognize the far-reaching consequences of shyness and provide support and strategies for those affected to help them build self-confidence and maintain good mental health.
This pesky “bug” is a part of just about everyone’s experience at one time or another. Experts share the main reason shyness creeps up on us is the desire, and need, to belong – yet the fear of being rejected or criticized.
To build confidence, take these social skills strategies into consideration:
- Self-awareness: Understand your shyness by recognizing when and why it occurs. Identifying the triggers can help you work on them and move outside your comfort zone.
- Positive self-talk: Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Challenge your self-doubt and replace it with statements of self-assurance.
- Set achievable goals: Start with small, manageable social interactions and gradually work your way up to more challenging situations. Celebrate your successes along the way.
- Preparation: Before social events or conversations, prepare some talking points or open-ended questions to help ease anxiety and give you something to talk about.
- Practice: Practice socializing regularly. The more you expose yourself to social situations and practice your communication skills, the more comfortable you’ll become over time.
- Deep breathing and relaxation techniques: Use deep breathing exercises to calm your nerves before and during social interactions. Relaxation techniques can help manage anxiety in uncomfortable situations.
- Body language: Pay attention to your body language. Maintain good posture, make eye contact, and practice a firm handshake. These non-verbal cues can convey confidence.
- Listen actively: Focus on what others are saying instead of worrying about yourself. Being a good listener can take the pressure off you to always have something to say.
- Join groups or classes: Participate in activities or groups that interest you. This can provide a shared interest and a natural conversation starter.
- Seek professional help: If your shyness is severely impacting your life, consider therapy or counseling to address underlying issues and learn coping strategies.
- Accept rejection: Understand that not everyone will respond positively, and that’s okay. Rejection is a part of life, and it’s essential not to take it personally.
- Be patient with yourself: Overcoming shyness is a process that takes time. Don’t be too hard on yourself, take small steps and remember that setbacks are a natural part of growth.
Remember that it’s okay to be shy, but if it’s causing significant distress or hindering your life, working on these strategies to overcome shyness can help you become more confident in social situations. You can also seek help from a licensed mental health counselor at Diversus Health to work through your struggle with shyness.
*If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental health, we can help. Contact us at Diversus Health to request an appointment with our mental health providers. If you need immediate assistance, call our crisis hotline at 844-493-8255, or text ‘TALK’ to 38255.