Can I Overcome Shyness? Tell Me How

Shy young man, fingers over eye
How can I overcome this?

Shyness has been something I’ve had to grow through my whole life, or at least when I was old enough to know I was shy. Being raised in a large family of six kids, I thought maybe I didn’t have as much opportunity to talk because there were so many of us.

Well, I decided that wasn’t the reason because I had plenty of time to talk at school and talk with my friends. But I was still shy. So I thought, how can I overcome shyness?

When Does Shyness Affect Me?

In my many years of life, I have learned to recognize that life events can take the ‘wind out of my sails’ and I can become more shy for a period of time. It may take a while for me to regain my confidence. Perhaps it’s because my self-esteem has been affected, but shyness seems to happen when I experience things that have hurt me. I am more shy afterwards and more quiet.

Also, I’ve learned that when the attention is focused on me while in a group of people, I can feel shy. I’ve always been a background person where I don’t feel like I need or want the attention, or the recognition, or the kudos for something.

Have You Ever Felt Shy?

Timid, shy young lady
I don’t want to feel shy

If you’ve ever felt shy, maybe you have experienced similar answers to curb shyness. To counteract shyness during my teen years, I consciously “made” myself do things that required interaction with others that would increase my self-confidence and put me out there with other people. I did things I knew I would enjoy doing, or that I thought I would be good at, like taking taekwondo, a self defense class. I took the class because I liked all the physical rigorous activity at that age, and I felt like I would be good at it.

Then in later years, because I loved dancing, I took ballroom dancing as a way to interact and enjoy people.

Now that I’m much more mature in age, almost retirement age, I am still shy at certain times, and even blush when I least expect it.

Who Experiences Shyness?

“For most people, shyness is learned. But for some, shyness starts in infancy, with about 10 to 15% of newborns born “inhibited” (about as many are born “bold”), but for most shy people shyness is learned at some later time in life with as many as 40 to 60% of adults report being currently shy people,” according to Steve Bressert, Ph.D.

I Ask Myself, What is Shyness?

Is it fear? If so, fear of what? Fear of not being acceptable to someone? Fear of not being liked? Fear of looking stupid? Fear of not living up to someone’s expectations? Fear of disappointing myself?

Well, I conclude that shyness is a fear and it does relate to anxiety, because anxiety is also fear.

So let’s take a look at what Wikipedia says about shyness. Wikipedia defines shyness as a feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness especially when a person is around other people. This commonly occurs in new situations or with unfamiliar people. Shyness can be a characteristic of people who have low self-esteem.

Is Shyness Permanent?

Teenage boy, shy, looking ahead
I don’t have to feel shy

That’s the good news! Shyness is not permanent. Shyness is really about other people. You worry about how other people perceive you and whether they will approve of you. You become shy in the moment maybe because of the situation you are in, which may be dependent upon who you’re with, one person or several, and your surroundings, or where you’re at.

The reasons you might become shy is when:

  • you need the other person’s acceptance or approval, or you want them to like you
  • you value the other person more than yourself because perhaps you think they are more attractive for example
  • you feel uncomfortable or insecure with yourself

How Can I Overcome Shyness?

Shy, timid young lady laughing at herself
How silly of me to feel shy

I’ve found that the following ways work for me in overcoming shyness and in gaining self-confidence:


Act confidently

Kind of like, fake it ’til you make it. Feeling shy is not the problem. Avoiding social interactions is the problem. Eliminate avoidance and you will overcome your shyness.


Participate in small talk

While you’re in the grocery line, for instance, choose someone you want to talk to like a mom with two kids, or a young man with a sports magazine, or a grandmother who just bought a birthday cake. Put yourself out there to meet and talk to new people.


Try new things

Get out of your comfort zone. Part of overcoming shyness is about developing confidence in several areas of your life and not letting fear of failure, fear of rejection, or fear of humiliation get in your way. By practicing new activities, you are confronting your shyness and learning to handle your fear more effectively.


Practice

Practice telling a joke or a story at every opportunity you have. Practice talking more openly while at work, while with friends, while with family. Let your voice and ideas be heard. Confident people are not preoccupied with whether everyone is going to like what they have to say. They speak their mind because they want to share, engage, and connect with others. You can do this too. Shyness is not a reason to stay quiet.


Make yourself vulnerable

Be with other people. Talk with other people. Fear of being judged contributes to your shyness, so practice being with the people you are close to and can trust. You might realize the more you do it, the closer you feel to others, and the more pleasure and meaning you get out of those relationships. This will lead to increased confidence in yourself and in social interactions.


Practice using confident body language

Make eye contact when talking to someone. Walk with your head held high. Project your voice clearly and effectively. Shake hands. Give hugs. Stay in close proximity to others.


Be mindful or aware

Shy, timid young lady
You shyness will become less and less

Be present to all of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and memories. There is no part of your experience that you have to run from, or escape, or avoid. Learn to appreciate yourself and the world around you, including those “panicky” thoughts and feelings, and just notice them without judgment. You’ll be okay, you’ll get past those moments of shyness.


Keep practicing. With continual practice, your shyness will show up less and less often, as your self-confidence will become stronger and stronger more often. You will feel happier and feel like this “burden” of shyness has lifted.

Thanks for reading my article. I would love to hear about your experiences and comments below.

Anxiety Attack Versus Panic Attack – What Are They?

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Recognizing the onset and understanding the differences between an anxiety attack versus panic attack can be the first step in overcoming these devastating symptoms. In today’s fast-paced society, your mind is constantly filled with lots of “stuff,” which can cause anxiety and panic. Perhaps you have financial pressures, lost a loved one, moved, or lost your job, the list goes on.

While there are differences in an anxiety attack versus panic attack, you can be trained to recognize the triggers and trained in how to work through them.

How Do I Recognize an Anxiety Attack?

An anxiety attack is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. It is one of the most common human emotions you can experience at some point in your life. You may feel fearful, apprehensive, and may feel your heart racing or feel short of breath, but it’s very short lived. When the stressor goes away, so does the anxiety attack.

Anxiety can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the trigger and how the person reacts to it. Anxiety often results from stress or feeling overwhelmed, and includes the following symptoms:

    • Restlessness
    • Fatigue
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Worry and fear that something bad will happen
    • Irritability or explosive anger
    • Work pressure
    • Financial pressure
    • Muscle tension
    • Sleep problems
    • Family or relationships problems
    • Divorce or separation
    • Bereavement
    • Concerns about parenthood or being a caregiver
    • Changing life situations, such as moving or changing jobs
    • Reduced mobility or physical function

How Do I Recognize a Panic Attack?

A panic attack is a sudden overwhelming fear or feeling of doom developing over a very short period of time when there is no real danger or apparent cause. Extreme anxiety is known as a panic attack. You might think you’re having a heart attack or even dying. They are an overreaction to a series of heightened bodily sensations.

Panic attacks can be frightening and can significantly affect your quality of life. Panic attacks include the following symptoms:

    • Sudden overwhelming fear
    • Palpitations or pounding heart
    • Accelerated heart rate
    • Sweating
    • Trembling
    • Shortness of breath
    • Sense of choking
    • Chest pain
    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    • A feeling of being detached from the world
    • Fear of dying
    • Numbness or tingling in the limbs or entire body
    • Chills or hot flushes

Anxiety Attack Versus Panic Attack – What Are the Differences?

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Here are some features that distinguish their differences.

An anxiety attack, or anxiety:

    • can have a specific trigger, such as an exam, workplace issues, a health issue, or a relationship problem
    • is not a diagnosable condition
    • is less severe than a panic attack
    • usually develops gradually when a person feels anxious
    • involves physical symptoms, such as a racing heart or knot in the stomach

A panic attack:

    • does not have a specific trigger
    • can be a symptom of panic disorder, a diagnosable condition
    • has severe symptoms
    • can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious
    • involves physical symptoms and feelings of terror so intense that the person fears a total loss of control or fears they are going to die
    • often occurs suddenly and unexpectedly and lasts between a few minutes and an hour, although the negative impact may continue

Differences in Symptoms

Both panic and anxiety can involve fear, pounding or racing heart, lightheadedness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, and irrational thoughts.

However, in a panic attack, these symptoms are far more severe. The person may genuinely believe they are going to die.

A person is more likely to require medical attention to determine whether they are having an anxiety attack versus panic attack.

Differences in How They Start

Anxiety can be a response to a specific worry or fear. It tends to develop gradually, and a person is usually worried or concerned at the outset. It can be mild, moderate or severe. There may be a sense that if only this problem can be solved, everything will be all right.

A panic attack can happen without warning, and is more intense. It can happen whether a person feels calm or anxious, and can happen even during sleep. There is often no obvious cause, and the level of fear is out of proportion to the trigger.

Differences in Duration

Anxiety is often related to a specific situation. It tends to build up and continue for some time.

A panic attack starts suddenly, symptoms usually peak after 10 minutes and usually abate after 30 minutes or so, although the effects may last longer.

Anxiety generally does not peak in this way, but some people with anxiety can progress to panic attacks.

Can Children Have Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks?

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Yes. There are many typical childhood fears that can make children feel anxious. Some fear is natural and predictable, but sometimes fear can become more profound and problematic. Fear can make children cautious. It can also influence them to ask questions when they are uncertain or fearful of a situation.

Fears vary depending on the age of your child.

Common fears for infants

At the earliest of ages, infants recognize the sounds and faces of their parents and siblings. The bond becomes strong, and by about 6 to 8 months of age, infants can start to show signs of separation anxiety. Other common fears for infants include:

    • Loud noises
    • Strangers

Common fears for toddlers and primary school-age children

Happy primary-age school girl
Answers for children’s anxiety

If your toddler or younger school-aged child is afraid of the dark, going potty, or of monsters under the bed, that’s common. Toddlers are starting to

understand that bad things can happen, but they have not developed the ability to challenge their fears with more rational thoughts.

As children continue to grow, their fears change, and it’s more common for them to become afraid of real-world concerns. The fear of being bitten by a dog is real, and a fear of snakes can keep them from playing outdoors. Most of the fears children in this age group face are fears related to themselves or a family member.

Other common fears for primary school-age children

    • Bad weather, such as tornadoes and loud noises from thunderstorms
    • Being home alone
    • Being kidnapped
    • Medical providers and going to the doctor or the dentist
    • The dark and noises at night

Common fears for teens

At this age, a teenager likely isn’t afraid of the dark. Their fears will seem more real-world. This is because teens are aware of their surroundings and the world around them. If there’s a storm coming, they understand the realities that can come with a tornado or lightning for example. Your teen may question or fear death if they’ve had a pet die or they have an ill relative.

Other common fears for teenagers

    • Being in a driving accident
    • Failure in school or work
    • Getting hurt or dying
    • Going to the doctor or the dentist
    • Fear of embarrassment at school, public speaking and performance

Is An Anxiety Attack and Panic Attack Treatable?

Yes. Although both attacks can be devastating, they are treatable without medication or drugs. While drugs mask the symptoms and don’t get to the root cause of the attack, professional self-help training will teach and guide you to recognize the onset of symptoms and teach you how to combat the symptoms.

You will learn how to take control rather than be controlled by the attacks.

You can also experience your journey through a support system of like-minded people.

You will gain self-confidence and a new awareness in your life.

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Thanks for reading.  Feel free to leave your comments below, and I’ll be in touch.

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