How To Overcome Being Shy

8 Strategies To Overcome Shyness

How to stop your social anxiety from taking over your life.

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There are many people who battle with the constant anxiety of meeting new people. Whether you're in high school, college, or are out in the workforce, being shy doesn't simply go away as you get older. You can still have anxiety when meeting new people or engaging in social interactions. Being shy may not be the same as social anxiety where you can have an all-consuming amount of anxiety from interacting with others.

However, it can still affect your ability to meet new people or engage in social interactions. Here are eight ways that you can overcome being shy.

1. Surround yourself with new people

Friends

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Being shy can sometimes cause you to avoid meeting new people or stay with the same group of people that you are comfortable with. This is fine; however, if you want to overcome being shy, you should first try to get yourself to meet new people. Go out of your comfort zone and try to talk to people you don't know! If you are a student and have an assignment, try talking to the students in your class you don't know.

Or at work, try to introduce yourself to coworkers that you haven't talked to. Talking to new people will help you eliminate any fears that you have related to meeting new people!

2. Make goals for yourself

Goals

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Creating goals for yourself is the perfect way to overcome being shy! Try to ask yourself what aspect of being shy you would like to overcome, whether it's related to meeting new people or attending social events, and create a strategy for accomplishing your goal.

3. Engage in more social events

Socal events

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The best way I've always been able to overcome being shy was through trying to attend social events or gatherings. Instead of making excuses to why you can't go to a social event, go to one instead! If you're scared of not knowing anyone, try going with someone you know such as a family member or friend. Going with someone will help take away the fear of not knowing anyone, and it will eliminate some of the anxiety of getting to know new people!

4. Do things outside your comfort zone

Party

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Part of being shy is being too comfortable with doing things inside your comfort zone. Instead, attempt to do one small thing at a time that is outside your comfort zone. It's best to begin with something small such as starting a conversation with someone you're unfamiliar with. Taking baby steps can help you build up to doing bigger things outside your comfort zone such as attending events that you've never attended before or hosting a party. Getting yourself to do more things outside your comfort zone will help you open up more and overcome being shy.

5. Get involved in a club or sport

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The best way to overcome any shyness is joining a club or sport. One way I was able to overcome my shyness was through joining theater in my high school. I had begun to engage in acting in plays and musicals. It was one of the best decisions I made since I was able to meet new people and begin to learn how to let my guard down around others. You don't need to join theater particularly to overcome shyness. You can join any type of club, sport, or organization since any of them will involve getting you to meet people that you don't know.

6. Don't be too harsh with yourself

Self-love

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Another part of being shy is that you often criticize yourself too harshly. You may feel angry with yourself for not opening up more or being able to make new friends. Instead, focus on the positives of what you were able to accomplish. If you were able to introduce yourself to someone new, even if you couldn't carry on a conversation with them, give yourself praise for being able to introduce yourself. You should always try to keep a positive attitude toward yourself and work toward self-love rather than hatred.

7. Stop caring about what other people think

Judging People

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This is a big part of the fear that surrounds a lot of people who are shy. What can often lead to being shy is being insecure, which can prevent you from engaging with other people that you may not know. Instead, focus on what you think of others rather than what they think of you. Avoid caring about how other people may judge you. The people who will care the most about you will be people who will likely not judge you. Therefore, there's no reason to worry about what others will think of you since you won't be hanging out with the people who are judgemental anyway.

8. Get rid of "I can't"

Goals

S O C I A L . C U T / Unsplash

Take a moment to write down the worst thing that could happen if you try to go to a social event or say hi to someone you don't know. Chances are, you'll probably have a hard time thinking of a few things to add to the list. Try using positive talk where you replace "I can't" with "I can" so that you will give yourself more confidence in being able to overcome your shyness. You'll find that if you begin to change your attitude about overcoming your shyness, you'll be able to accomplish more things.

Instead of letting your anxiety of meeting new people or interact with others control your life, try taking these steps to overcome being shy! Being shy can often keep you from allowing yourself to letting your guard down, making new friends, or engaging socially with others. I remember being shy myself, and at one point I let it control my life through not allowing myself to make new friends, go to social events, or engage socially with others, which caused me to feel very unhappy. Finding ways to overcome shyness can help give you more confidence and lead you to feel more satisfied in your life.

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


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Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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Anxiety Medications Aren't As Scary As You Might Think

It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

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Before my journey with anxiety, I was very anti-medication. I truly didn't understand the purpose or need for it. Boy, have I learned a lot since then. Upon visiting the doctor, I learned that there are two types of medication that do two different things to the neurotransmitters in your brain. These are categorized as SSRI or SNRI. According to anxiety.org, "SSRIs increase serotonin in the brain. Neural systems affected by increased serotonin regulate mood, sleep, appetite, and digestion."

The medication that I am currently taking falls under the category of SSRI. As a result of taking this medication, "your brain is more capable of making changes that will lead to a decrease in anxiety" (anxiety.org). I don't know if that sounds nice to you, but I loved the sound of it.

On the other hand, per mayoclinic.org, SNRIs "ease depression by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. Like most antidepressants, SNRIs work by ultimately effecting changes in brain chemistry and communication in brain nerve cell circuitry known to regulate mood, to help relieve depression."

From my understanding, the different types of medication focus on different neurotransmitters in your brain. I don't think that one of these is "bad" and one of these is "good." This is simply because anxiety and depression are very personal and impact people differently. My anxiety is not the same as my friend's anxiety. I think it's more of a spectrum.

There are a lot of misconceptions upon starting medication. I think the first is that it works instantly. I have some bad news and it's that some medications take up to a month to get into your system. I mean, you're chemically altering your brain, so it makes sense. It took me about 2 months to even find the right medication and dosage. It's truly a process.

Another misconception is that the pills are addicting- making them completely unnecessary or dangerous. That wasn't true for me. One of my dear friends told me that if you don't feel guilty for taking cold medicine when you have a cold, then you shouldn't feel guilty for taking medication that helps your anxiety. I think this really does boil down to knowing yourself and if there's a history of addiction in your family. However, as someone who's taken the heavy pain killers (via surgery) and now takes anxiety medication, I can testify to say that there's a difference.

The pain killers made me a zombie. The anxiety medication allows me to be the best version of myself. I like who I am when I'm not constantly worried about EVERYTHING. I used to not leave the house without makeup on because I constantly worried what people thought of me. I used to be terrified that my friends didn't want me around. I used to overthink every single decision that I made. Now, none of that is happening. I enjoy my friends and their company, I hardly wear makeup, and I'm getting better at making decisions.

Do I want to be able to thrive without having to correct my neurotransmitters? Sure. However, this is the way that I am, and I wouldn't have gotten better without both therapy and medication. I'm forever grateful for both.

Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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