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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tips for Overcoming Shyness

Are you uncomfortable about attending social events because of your shyness?  Is the thought of attending an after work activity with your coworkers enough to make you want to hide with the covers over your head?

If you're tend an introvert rather than an extrovert, you don't need to change your whole personality in order to overcome your shyness.

Tips For Overcoming Shyness


The following tips can help you to overcome shyness so that you learn to actually enjoy yourself during social events:

Prepare Before the Social Event
If you fear that you'll have nothing to say or that people won't find you interesting, think about some topics that you might talk about.

If you happen to know that you and other people at the party enjoy yoga, consider this as a topic that you might bring up to get the conversation going.

Allow the Hostess to Introduce You to Like-Minded People
Hostesses (or hosts) who are adept at giving parties know how to introduce certain people that they think might hit it off.

If you have a hostess with good people skills who is aware that certain guests share particular interests, she might introduce you to others by saying something like, "Joe, this is Alice.  I thought you'd like to meet each other because you both share an interest in jazz."

Although this isn't something you can always rely on, when it happens, it can help you to overcome some of the awkwardness you might feel in a social situation.

Learn to Focus on Others, Instead of Yourself, at Social Events
Shy people often feel so self conscious at social events that they're afraid that they'll have nothing interesting to say and no one will want to talk to them.

Being shy and fearing social events can keep shy people locked in a state of self absorption, which only makes matters worse.
Tips for Overcoming Shyness:  Focus on Others at Social Events
Rather than focusing on yourself and all the deficiencies you fear others will find in you, try to forget about yourself and focus on the other people at the party or social event.

Get curious and develop an interest in the other people who are there.

Asking appropriate questions of the strangers that you meet at a party (i.e., how they know the host) can be an ice breaker and give you and others a topic to talk about that could lead to other topics.

Showing an interest in others also allows you to forget about your own feelings of being self conscious.

Be Aware of Your Body Language and the Social Signals That You're Sending Out
Without even realizing, many people who are shy come across as if they're unfriendly, rather than shy, because they're sending out the wrong signal to others at social events.

If you're sitting hunched over in the corner and avoiding eye contact with others, chances are that people will think you're unapproachable rather than thinking that you're shy.

Learn to maintain an open posture and smile.  Not only will this make you appear more approachable, but it might be helpful to others who might also be shy.

Think About How You Can Put Others at Ease
If you can stop focusing on your own shyness, as I mentioned, you might realize that there are other people, besides you, who are also struggling with shyness.

If you can find ways to help put others to feel more at ease, not only will this be helpful to others, but it can also be helpful to you.

One possible way to help yourself and others to be more at ease is to volunteer to help out in some way at the social event.

So, for instance, if you've been invited to a party, you can ask the hostess if you can help to show people around the garden or help with the drinks.

Being involved with a task related to the party can help you to feel like you're more a part of the event.  And, you'll also be adding to other people's comfort and ease.

Learn to Calm Yourself:  Remember to Breathe
When people feel shy or anxious, they often breathe in shallow ways, which only adds to their discomfort.

As simple as it sounds, taking a deep breath can help to calm your body and your mind.

One particular breathing exercise that is particularly helpful is called Square Breathing.
See my article:  Learning to Relax: Square Breathing.

Another exercise you can try before you go to a social event is called Safe Place Meditation.

Getting Help
If these simple tips aren't helpful to you and your shyness is really getting in the way of your personal life and your career, you could benefit from working with a licensed mental health professional who has expertise with this issue.  It's possible that your problem isn't just shyness but, possibly, something more deep seated.

People who are able to overcome shyness are relieved to be able to socialize and meet others without feeling hampered by feeling self conscious and socially awkward.  By getting help, you can also learn to overcome your shyness so you can feel more confident in social situations.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me:  josephineolivia@aol.com.








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