Jul 072010

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Many people experience some level of shyness or anxiety when faced with new or uncomfortable situations. Making a speech before a crowd. Trying to start a conversation with that cute stranger next to you at the bar. Being dragged onto the dance floor. All of these situations can lead to some degree of nervousness. However, some people actually can suffer through serious physical and mental stress when faced with these types of social interactions. These reactions are indicators of a condition known as social anxiety. There are techniques that can be utlized to alleviate the symptoms of social anxiety, but the first step is to understand why some people react so severely.

There are many causes of shyness, but a few common traits and triggers are easily identified. People with low self esteem typically suffer from some degree of social anxiety. Excessive worry over what other people think and a related fear of rejection are also strong drivers of social anxiety. Memories of perceived past social missteps can also lead to an avoidance of any social interaction that might risk a repeat of the blunder.

If you suffer from social anxiety, or even just common shyness, there are some tips that can be utilized to reduce or even eliminate nervousness in uncomfortable social situations.

Begin making little changes in your behavior

Acknowledge the people you encounter. Nod, smile, and say hello. Whatever’s appropriate.

Maintain eye contact when speaking with someone. It shows confidence.

Go out of your way to strike up a conversation with a co-worker. Nothing high pressure. Just talk about weekend plans or some other chit-chat subject.

All of these simple steps will enable you to start to build confidence in your ability to interact with other people and handle social situations.

Adjust your attitude

A two prong approach to changing the way you think and react can help alleviate social anxiety. Recognize and acknowledge that you will not ‘get it right’ every time. And that that’s okay. Also realize that people are not going to ridicule you when you do ‘get it wrong’.

You will occasionally trip when dancing. You will occasionally fumble your words when giving a presentation. And you will occasionally come off looking silly when trying to hit on a stranger in a bar. We all do.

Have something to say

Do you cringe when you have to make small talk at a party? Try discussing something that you know. Find a common interest that will engage all members of the conversation. Study up and become knowledgeable about current events. That’s always a safe topic.

Practice good conversation skills

When in conversation, avoid asking questions that generate simple yes, no, or I don’t know responses. Ask relevant open ended questions that encourage deeper conversation.

Speak in a slightly louder voice

Shy people typically speak in soft, hard to hear voices. When in conversation, talk moderately louder than you normally would.

Overcoming social anxiety can be as simple as adopting simple changes to your behavior. Beyond these simple changes, there are also a variety of social anxiety self help programs available. One of the most powerful self help social anxiety programs is Social Anxiety Secrets by Dr. Todd Snyder. His program utilizes both downloadable e-book and audio materials to provide a step by step plan to cure shyness and social anxiety.

Click to read a review of Social Anxiety Secrets.

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 Posted by at 9:27 pm