Understanding Shyness

Shyness is the awkwardness or apprehension some people feel when approaching or being approached by other people. Unlike introverts, who feel energized by time alone, shy people often desperately want to connect with others, but don't know how or can't tolerate the anxiety that comes with human interaction.

Recent Posts on Shyness

Why Do I Feel So Awkward?

The hit show 'Hamilton' reminds us that “awkward” can be an opportunity.

Should You Feel or Flee Your Emotions?

When we avoid our feelings, we tune out important clues as to who we are. We limit our capacity for self-understanding and fail to fully experience or shape our lives.

The Problem with Heroizing Robert Spitzer

By Christopher Lane Ph.D. on January 22, 2016 Side Effects
One of the most influential psychiatrists of the twentieth century leaves a complex legacy.

When Holidays Hurt

Your friends and family may not be perfect, but it’s better to be with others than to wallow in self-pity. Or you can volunteer to help strangers who need you. Either one works.

3 Ways to Tackle Telephone Phobia

By Jean Kim M.D. on December 15, 2015 Culture Shrink
Are you afraid of using the phone to call people? You are not alone. Here are some simple strategies to tackle this not uncommon form of social phobia.

How to Make a Great First Impression at Family Get-Togethers

Been invited to attend a family gathering by your "significant other" or boss? Here are 11 ways to "wow the relatives" when you're the newcomer to Thanksgiving dinners, family reunions, and other special occasions.

When Children Are Afraid

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on October 28, 2015 Once Upon a Child
The research on what helps temperamentally shy children may surprise. Parents who coddle have more comfortable children in the short run, but by the time they get to kindergarten, their children are more shy, not less. These lessons can help parents of kids with more flexible or feisty temperaments manage their inevitable fear as wells.

How We Keep People Away Without Words

Recovering from social anxiety can be a frustrating process. You take social risks, you strike up conversations, you try to connect — but it's not working and you don't know why. Often the culprit is hidden in plain sight.

Subdue Sadness With Mindfulness and Positive Thinking

Keeping your thoughts moving in a positive direction not only makes you feel good in the moment but can also considerably reduce your sadness factor. In addition, it can give you the one thing that we all need to keep our lives moving forward: hope. The more you employ positive thinking, the longer the effects last.

Inside the Mind of a School Shooter, Part 2

My very smart and astute friend, Peter Winick, founder of Thought Leadership Leverage shared with me a conversation he had with a doctor who hypothesized that the present day rampage shooters were often the disenfranchised oddballs that have always been part of school, college and community populations. But they didn't commit violence.

Becoming The Person I Drank to Be

By Anna David on October 06, 2015 After Party Chat
Everything I know how to do I learned in recovery. Through that, the personality I craved as a kid has revealed itself to be a part of me.

The Redemption of Lou Barlow

By Michael Friedman Ph.D. on September 22, 2015 Brick by Brick
Lou Barlow shares his battle with social anxiety and how he has been able to use music to cope.

Overcoming Social Anxiety in a Social Media World

By Shimi Kang M.D. on September 14, 2015 The Dolphin Way
It’s that time of year again. Now that you are back in school, thinking about all the classes you’ve signed up for and what your schedule looks like, and feeling stressed about upcoming exams this semester, your phone vibrates. You’ve just received a Facebook notification that shows a group of your friends at a party you were not invited to. Your heart drops...

Putting Your Feelings Where They Belong

By Barton Goldsmith Ph.D. on September 08, 2015 Emotional Fitness
When something gets stuck in your brain and you find yourself obsessing, you need to clear a path for your mind and body to function properly. If you continue to ruminate, you may damage your physical and mental health. Regardless of your condition or situation, this is something you can do. Really.

Why a New Partner Boosts Your Sex Life

The review reports a recent British survey which found women recorded an average of eight opposite sex sexual partners over their lifetime, while men reported 12. But the survey also found 22% of women and 14% of men reported having only one sexual partner in their lifetime.

The Blessings of Shyness

Shyness is often criticized by our society. But if we distinguish shyness from social anxiety, we might honor being shy as a tender and positive part of ourselves. If we can become more empowered in our shyness rather than feel shame, it can be a doorway to connecting with people in a more deep, sweet, and tender way.

Shy, Sensitive, Introverted…and Narcissistic?

The Shy/Covert Narcissistic personality is overcome with worry, ineffective functioning, unfulfilled expectations, and hypersensitivity to stress.

10 Techniques For Overcoming Speaker's Anxiety

By Joe Navarro M.A. on August 17, 2015 Spycatcher
We have all experienced the nervousness and anxiety of having to speak in public. Here are ten easy ways professional speakers overcome the jitters.

Suffer From Social Anxiety? Doing Something For Others Helps

Social anxiety diminishes when you serve others in some way. Research finds that doing something that helps another person pulls you out of self-absorption, which is a part of social anxiety.

When Life Turns To Sh*t - Look For The Pony

One of the most powerful positions you can take in life is to know that if you were to lose everything, you could find success once again. I pray that you never have to go through anything so difficult, but if you do, you can trust that you have the inner strength and confidence to make your world whole again.

Can Improv Comedy Treat Social Anxiety?

By Jon Fortenbury on August 02, 2015 NeuroProgress
People are increasingly turning to improv comedy (theatre made up on the spot) to reduce social anxiety. The reason it's working for some and not all is simple, but powerful.

Social Anxiety Diminished by Brain Signals and Re-Thinking

Social anxiety and its treatment with cognitive behavioral therapy can be studied with advanced brain imaging. Both the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala are involved.

Are Your Kids Using Pot to Beat Anxiety?

By Temma Ehrenfeld on July 20, 2015 Open Gently
Ask your kids if they're using pot medicinally for cramps, PMS or anxiety.

The Stanford Prison Experiment

Some 44 years ago, I conducted a research experiment that could have been the bane of my existence. Instead it spurred me on to research several topics: good vs evil, how our personal time perspectives affect our lives, and the self-imposed "prison," shyness. Now, The Stanford Prison Experiment is an award-winning feature film that has viewers questioning: What would I do?

How to Make Your Way Into (Practically) Any Group

Entering any group as an outsider can be difficult. Often, we sabatoge ourselves by assuming that others are snobby or exclusive, when in reality they just already know each other-- and that's what makes us uncomfortable.

Shame Indicates Anxiety Disorders in Children

Which emotion is a bigger indicator of an anxiety disorder in children - guilt or shame?

A Heart-Rending Story of Courage in the Face of Loss

Bella lost her baby. What she did with her anger, grief and shame is remarkable.

Why Some Men Find It So Hard to Give In

We expect men to be dominant and women to be submissive, according to traditional gender roles. A man who submits to the authority of others, therefore, runs this risk of violating society’s norms. For some men, the shame of giving in hits particularly hard.

Wish You Could Banish Self-Doubt?

Could confidence be over-rated? What if instead of confidently striding into your next meeting, pitching your new big idea or even owning a large public stage relied less on feeling fearless and more on acknowledging your self-doubt and having the courage to move forward and do it anyway?

Why Feeling Invisible Could Be a Key to Feeling Better

Technology can be used to create the illusion that your body is completely invisible to yourself and others. Experiments show that this reduces social anxiety in stressful social situations. This finding may lead to exciting new treatment strategies.