Extreme shyness: what it is, its causes and how to overcome it

Shyness is not a bad psychological trait per se. however, when there is extreme shyness it can predispose you to go through hardship in various facets of our lives.

And it is that extremely shy people find it a little more difficult to cope with social relationships, both in their professional and professional life, and at practically any age.

Of course, anyone is able to modify their behavioral patterns to control extreme shyness and prevent it from becoming a limiting characteristic. This is exactly the subject of this article.

    What is extreme shyness?

    Shyness is a psychological trait whose main characteristic is concern for the appreciations that others have of oneself. In other words, the fear of “what they are going to say”.

    Specifically, shy people have a pessimistic bias that makes them prone to think that any slightly strident behavior on their part will significantly damage their public image.

    As a result, when they have to interact with others, they tend to maintain a state of hypervigilance over their own actions, which it generates a certain level of anxiety. In some cases, if the shyness is extreme, this anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to relate to others spontaneously and appropriately.

    typical symptoms

    Obviously, extreme shyness is not a mental illness, although in some cases it can be part of the social phobia. However, it is beyond the control of the person experiencing it in their own skin, and it is shaped both psychologically and physiologically.

    In general, the signs that indicate the presence of extreme anxiety are as follows (in social situations):

    • Muscle tension.
    • Increased heart rate.
    • Shaky voice.
    • Lack of eye contact.
    • Profuse sweating.

    the causes

    Extreme shyness is a multicausal phenomenon, like any psychological trait (especially those that refer to the way we relate to others).

    In other words, many factors predispose us to adopt extremely shy behavioral dynamics. Among the main causes that come into play are the following, although they are not necessarily present all at once in all individuals who exhibit this psychological trait.

    • Genetic predispositions.
    • A History of Anxiety Problems.
    • A morally very restrictive context.
    • A very competitive context.
    • Low self-esteem.

    How to overcome it?

    Here are some tips for overcoming extreme shyness caused by changes in daily habits. Of course it is important to adapt them to each particular case so that they correspond to the needs of each person.

    1. Start with an easy social circle

    Overcoming extreme shyness is a kind of training: it takes time, tackling an upward curve of difficulty and effort. For that, you need to start with something that is challenging but not overly demanding, To progress from here.

    So it’s a good idea to create a social circle that you’ve been in contact with before (one that hasn’t been particularly negative for you). For example, friends of family members or friends of friends.

    2. Start with small groups or individuals.

    It is easier to overcome shyness if you come into contact with very small groups, rather than large, very cohesive groups in which, from the start, it is clear that you are “on the outside”.

    If you can, start talking to people alone (Not in a group), because while it can be a little more complicated to start a conversation, once that is done everything is smoother as you will be closer to a level playing field.

    So if you want to, let the other person talk more first and don’t get obsessed with saying something every moment; take on the role of the listener, but force yourself to step out of your comfort zone by expressing your ideas, doubts and opinions; don’t keep them to yourself.

    3. Look at other people’s imperfections

    It’s easier to understand that others don’t have to constantly look for flaws if you realize it they are also full of flaws that come up all the time and that everyone (including you up to this point) automatically and unconsciously ignores it. Social interactions are always much more spontaneous than elegant and perfect.

    Psychological treatment for extreme shyness

    Going to therapy with a psychologist can be very helpful in overcoming extreme shyness.

    Therapeutic approaches to this problem they vary depending on the age of the person, as it is not the same to be a shy child as an adult who has severe difficulties relating to others in their day-to-day life.

    On the other hand, it is always necessary to know the particular characteristics of each patient who presents this source of discomfort, precisely because it is necessary to analyze the context in which he usually lives and what he has become accustomed to ( remember that this is a phenomenon with multiple causes).

    In any case, in psychotherapy, the work of psychologists is based on change the person’s beliefs about themselves and othersBut none of this will make sense if, in addition to ideas, you don’t act on the objective actions that are usually carried out in your daily life.

    Therefore, it is also essential to intervene on the observable behavior, that is to say the actions that the subject performs on the environment: placing reminders and notes in the house, changing his schedule, changing place. output, etc.

    The therapy results from this type of problems related to the personality but also fundamentally in learned stress management models they should be noticed in a few weeks and months.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Chavira, DA; Stein, MB; Malcarne, VL (2002). “Explore the relationship between shyness and social phobia”. Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 16 (6): 585-598.
      • Crozier, WR (2001). Understanding Shyness: Psychological Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave.

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