Coping with Extreme Shyness
Extreme shyness can have a debilitating effect on the sufferer’s life. If the thought of going to party or interacting with your colleagues at work just makes you worried to the point where you feel physically ill or where you actually make excuses to avoid all such situations, you may be one of those people who suffer from extreme shyness. Psychologists have several labels for this condition—such as social anxiety disorder. However, a label does not necessarily help you to overcome your situation. So how do you deal with extreme shyness?
Identifying that you have a Problem
The first step in treating many conditions is recognizing that they are our problems. Some people are okay with not having many friends or an active social life. They don’t enjoy being around people and their work doesn’t demand that they interact with people too much, so they are okay with their isolation. However, if you are unhappy or lonely and extreme shyness has played a major role in making you that way, you need to begin by recognizing that such intense fears are not “normal.”
We all get a little nervous sometimes. If you have to give an oral report in front of your class or if you are going on a date with someone you really like, you might feel a little nervous and maybe even feel physically ill. However, if you get that way just because you are walking into your classroom or even when a colleague at work talks to you, then you may have extreme shyness. Realize that it is a problem and not just a fact of life.
Once you know you have a problem, one of the best ways to deal with it is to seek out a professional that will help you work on strategies to break out of being so shy. More often than not, the psychologist will use avoidance therapy. The psychologist will help you to slowly become more and more involved in the sort of social situations that you find the most difficult to cope in. By doing so, you will help to become more comfortable and more in control of such situations.
Rewriting your Internal Narratives
If one of the reasons why are so shy is because of feelings of self-worth (or the lack there of), then one of the major components to getting rid of your shyness will be to reworking the self-flagellating internal narrative that may keep you from enjoying yourself in social situations. Often, you do this by identifying when you are attacking yourself and putting yourself down, and then reworking statements about yourself in a way that is more balanced and true to your actual identity.
Pretending to Be Someone Else
Another trick that some sufferers of extreme shyness employ to overcome their problem is to pretend as if they are actually someone else. This makes social interaction like a play, where the person loses themselves in a character they are playing and can thus feel less personally threatened by the judgments they fear may be made about them. Many actors, in fact, are well known for their shyness (Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro for example). Acting allows many of those who suffer from shyness to express themselves via drama. You simply carry this concept over into your real life and then use the character who you are playing as a social mask.
Medications for Extreme Shyness
Yet another option is to get your psychologist to prescribe you one the many medications for shyness. This should only be as a last result however, when other forms of treatment have not worked and the symptoms are truly intense, since many of these medications have extremely negative side effects.
Regardless of which path you take, you should start trying to cope with your shyness today. None of us deserves to be lonely.