Are you a shy person? It can be considered to be normal to some extent. Most people experience some amount of discomfort while entering a room full of strangers, or if they have to deliver a speech. However, sometimes shyness can take on extreme forms. Shyness is believed to affect nearly 50 per cent of adults to some degree. It is defined by the Encyclopedia of Mental Health as, “discomfort and/or inhibition in interpersonal situations. It is a form of excessive self-focus.”
Dr Jyoti Sangle, psychotherapist, Dr L H Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai says, “It is important to understand that shyness is a problem and not an illness. The line between the illness as social phobia and shyness is thin, but the line and the features differ in quality and intensity. Hence, the approach towards overcoming shyness becomes more subjective and individualistic.”
Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant psychiatrist, P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai further explians, “The mainstay of treatment will be relaxation techniques with systematic desensitisation. The person faces a series of increasing levels of stress-inducing stimuli, all in a state of relaxation and in a safe environment, usually in the form of visualisations. When he allows his mind to become desensitised adequately, then he is allowed to face the actual situations in real life. In severe situations, the use of medication has been suggested to reduce the paralysing anxiety and distress associated with this condition.”
How to overcome shyness
Introduce yourself. A big smile will be all you’ll need to get the ball rolling.
Don’t feel the need to qualify yourself. A humble, but accurate description when asked is all that is needed.
Ask more, talk less. Ask the questions that let them talk about their lives. And then listen with interest.
Be generous in your opinion. If you reserve judgment and spend time making that person comfortable, you will not only spread some good karma around, but also earn their gratitude.
Remember a detail. If you’ve met someone before, remembering their name and a detail about them will be the greatest gift you can give them.
Compliment others. Everyone loves a compliment, they start conversations and they give people confidence.
Think of others. They will be truly grateful and you’ll be distracted from your own nerves!
Always look as impressive as you can be. Looking and feeling great may be helpful in boosting your self-confidence.
Involve yourself in organisations or activities that you find interesting.
Select one social skill to practice at a time. By doing this, you can concentrate your energy and become successful.
Self-fulfilling prophecy: Look in the mirror when you wake up and say loudly what your goals for the day are. Then visualise yourself actually doing it. If you feel you need more time, do it the night before as well, or take as much time as you need until you feel ready.
Believe in yourself. You can do whatever you put your mind to.