For all our efforts to find a definitive root cause for shyness or an easy way to classify it — whether it’s terms like introversion or other comments on personality and upbringing — the truth most likely lies somewhere in the middle of any attempt to pin down where this kind of anxiety comes from. Because of its complex origins, and due to the nature of social anxiety to be able to snowball in thoughts, it’s best to try a more holistic approach to look at ways to overcome shyness, we can look at it from multiple angles. Here are some ideas and tips for both long and short term, as well as more immediate ways on how to overcome shyness.
How to become less shy? Ideas and tips
Set clear goals
Before attempting to implement any behavioral change, first let’s try to pinpoint what it is you have trouble with and what you would like to achieve, change or do better. It’s clear that it’s important to dig deep into one’s personality in order to understand the issue from within, but it is also important to see the cup half full and be able to see the good and unique parts of your personality and character that make you wonderful, unique, make you who you really are. Perhaps your shyness has positive impact and allows you to listen more attentively, or your calm demeanour keeps you from being overwhelming or overpowering in a conversation. It’s important to remind yourself that overcoming shyness isn’t about changing yourself completely in favour of radically new personality, but rather working with what’s already there for you and making the most of who you are.
Visualise your new confident self
You don’t always get much warning before getting flung into a conversation or social situation, but if you can visualise it, strengthening yourself mentally, then, over time, you can create a strong and long lasting foundation of confidence. There are many ways to effectively visualise yourself as a confident person, with varying degrees of detail, but a general way of doing this is simple: close your eyes and walk yourself through a situation, possibly one that you have already experienced before or you can play a scenario that you anticipate happening. Imagine yourself confident, smiling and successful in a social setting, do it from your own point of view. Visualise things and situations that represent confidence and ease for you. Remember that every person might have different perspective on things. With enough practice you may notice that your visualisations are coming true before your own eyes, in real life.
Use meditation for your benefit
Just like physical exercise, meditation works best when done consistently, over a long period of time, but it also has benefits in one-time session, of course (this also applies to visualisation). Its effectiveness is well known throughout history, as well as nowadays, it can aid a multitude of mental, emotional, and even physical issues, and there are many variations of meditation that you can use for confidence building. You can incorporate meditation into your visualisations, or simply let your mind wander for an overall relaxation, or even try a guided meditation audio that is designed to boost confidence levels. With regular practice, over time, meditation is known to reduce stress, among other wonderful benefits, which makes behavioural change and adapting to new environments easier.
Before getting deeper into tips for overcoming shyness in actual social situations, here is one more idea that is a little less accessible than the previous methods: the idea is to go out and take a self development class, whether it’s a seminar, a group class that meets regularly, or one-on-one coaching session. Here are some beneficial topics of study that you can learn: acting, self improvement, public speaking and voice work, dancing, or something else that you really like…Although, sometimes just having any community with a common interest is enough to boost social self-esteem.
Depending on the extent of your shyness or anxiety, it might be helpful to seek out professional help where your can talk deeply about some potential underlying causes of shyness. Even though there are many ways to help boost your self confidence yourself, there’s nothing wrong with seeking outside help to get yourself on the right track.
Boost your physical activity
Do something to get your blood circulating. A light workout or short jog can do you many favours, your can also listen to some upbeat music and it will stimulate you even more mentally. There are many musicians who have confidence boosting songs with empowering and positive lyrics. You can use all the available tools that will help you feel more positive and confident about yourself and life in general.
Before an important meeting or social event, you can prepare yourself mentally with little interactions that put less pressure on you. This could be a chat with a barista or cashier, a friend, family member or anyone who can bring you into a more positive and easy going mood. Think of it as if you starting up a car in the winter — it takes a little extra time to get things going and you might need a few tries to revive the engine, but once it defrosts a bit the drive becomes as smooth as ever.
Be Present in the Moment
A common cause of shyness is simple: it’s just an illusion that is trapped in the mind. Bringing yourself into a current moment can tremendously help in boosting self confidence. To bring yourself into the present moment, focus on your external senses, notice all the small details that surround you in the room, and avoid wondering into the vague thoughts in your head. Constant practice of being present in the moment, paired with visualisation and meditation can help you to master self confidence in no time, so that you can quickly tune into it whenever you need.
Focus on Others, Not Yourself
In addition to keeping yourself in the moment by noticing all the little details of your surroundings, pay extra attention to people with whom you interact. Try not to dwell on how you will be received or on the way you look, but rather be genuinely interested in what other people have to say, and make it a point to be a good and active listener. If you are genuinely listening to people around you, then people will respond to you by the same good listening and you may even find your conversations getting more interesting and interactive.
Remember — They Might Be Shy Too
It’s the old “they’re just as scared of you as you are of them” idea, but sometimes getting caught up in your own definition of yourself as ‘a shy person’ masks the fact that most people have just as much going on in their head as you. There is a big chance that you aren’t the only one in the group who has dealt with or is struggling with shyness and social anxiety, so believe in yourself, train your inner confidence and you will see good changes with the time.