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How to help shy ones? Pt.1

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Shyness is defined by theorists as shyness and inhibitions in interpersonal situations to such an extent that it becomes difficult for a person to pursue personal and professional goals. Psychologists and psychiatrists who work with shy people for practical reasons define this condition in a somewhat simpler and narrower way: as difficulties in communicating with other people.

Shyness can be observed or experienced to one degree or another in all or some areas of life.

In behavior, we observe, among other things, avoidance of anxiety situations, quiet speech, very limited body language, excessive nodding and smiling, nervous movements (for example, touching the hair or face) and lack of behavior that facilitates a relationship with another person, such like eye contact, light smile, relaxed body posture.

The most common physiological symptoms faced by a shy person are: heart palpitations, hot flashes, dry mouth, trembling hands or other parts of the body, sweating, dizziness, nausea and so-called "butterflies" in the stomach.

The thinking and intellectual functioning of a shy person is often characterized by negative thoughts or beliefs about oneself, anxiety, self-blame, self-doubt, and problems with understanding what to say in the company. It is difficult for a person to respond to someone's attention, comment and inability to master expected behavior in various social situations.

In turn, shy people display shame, embarrassment, sadness, depression, anxiety, and loneliness.

According to various studies, the most difficult problem to overcome with shyness is that most of its symptoms (for example, eye contact, posture, self-confidence or lack of self-confidence, anxiety, butterflies on the stomach, etc.) controlled by the nervous system and only to a small extent by consciousness.

Since we send thousands of signals to others about our inner state at any time, and almost all of these signals are unconscious, it is extremely difficult to change what we are not even aware of what we are doing. This is something to keep in mind when we want to remind the child of shyness again.

Is shyness a congenital or acquired condition?

Research by J. Kagan from Harvard shows the presence of a genetic factor for shyness. Already 2 months old babies can be divided into shy and sociable. About 15-20% of newborns are calm, alert and uncomfortable in new situations. On the other hand, the continuum - also about 15-20% - are sociable and spontaneous children, regardless of whether they are in a familiar or unfamiliar situation. Over the years, research on these children found that about 75% of those previously identified as shy or outgoing at age 8 still exhibit previously observed behaviors (for example, they prefer to play alone rather than in groups), and most of them them even up to 14 years old.

Other research suggests that the physiology of the brain (particularly the right side of the brain, including the anxiety center) predisposes some people to be shy.

However, it should be remembered that only 1/3 of very shy children have a genetic predisposition. Even so, shyness is not a sentence, and the way these children function can be changed: they can learn social skills, just as they can learn to play an instrument and draw without having a lot of talent. Biology is not destiny.

 

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