Is It Genetics?
The first step is to recognize what causes shyness. Genetic Researchers agree that anxiety is caused by mutations of genes that are associated with transporting neurotransmitters in the brain. However, there isn’t a consensus on which types of genes might be affected. This article discusses mutated genes that carry serotonin and dopamine. No matter where your shyness comes from, be it genetics or experience, keep reading understand how to overcome painful shyness.
However, the one thing everyone seems to agree on, is that habits also contribute to painful shyness and anxiety. As a result, when we change our habits we can improve anxiety and shyness.
Before we discuss the one thing to do for overcoming shyness, it’s is important to understand what is happening in the brain when people experience shyness. When people experience shyness, they become easily overwhelmed. It’s like everything they are experiencing is happening all that once. This experience leads to a strong desire to either remove themselves from the experience or shut down.
Examples of this would be a plan to address an audience, and suddenly freezing from the feelings of overwhelm. This can also take place when it comes to approaching strangers for various reasons. In most cases the feeling of overwhelm can happen so fast, that all the shy person is thinking about is how to remove themselves from the situation.
So, How do you overcome painful shyness?
You can start by slowing things down.
Years ago, I played college basketball. We were a poorly ranked team and often the underdogs coming into each game. Our coach developed a strategy for the team, (which worked) as we experienced more wins. This strategy was designed to slow down the pace of the game on offense and defense. This allowed for us, to run our plays on offence without becoming easily overwhelmed by the often more athletic team on defense. While on defense, it forced the often-faster paced team to slow down the pace of their game.
This is an analogy for the exercise to practice in overcoming shyness and anxiety. By slowing things down, you can see all the issues affecting the situation and respond calmly.
Slowing Things Down
For example, for someone who is preparing to give a speech to an audience, it will help to break things down in order. For example, why are you giving the speech? How will the audience benefit from the speech? Is the information you are delivering accurate? By the time you answer all these questions, you will begin to feel calmer. This is because you have put aside the multiple issues that you would feel all that once when the event begins.
This same approach can be used in all situations, whether is initiating a conversation with someone you find attractive, or going to a job interview. If you get into the habit of addressing the pragmatic reasons of why you are doing what you are doing, all that is left is just natural nervousness. You should feel more relaxed and clearer-headed then.
For clients I work with, there is an exercise I introduce them to, which I require them to complete daily. This exercise forces them to develop a deeper understanding of all situations they find anxiety-provoking. The understanding they develop comes from looking at each piece of information, and slowly addressing the issue related to that information.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions a counseling and life coaching practice in Tucson, Arizona. Ugo helps individuals and families in office and online. If you would like to learn more, you are welcome to call and book an appointment or fill out my contact form and click Send.