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For adults who strug­gle with shy­ness there are some ef­fec­tive strate­gies to over­come shy­ness and so­cial anx­i­ety and gain con­fi­dence: 1. Act con­fi­dently.

Con­fi­dence comes through ac­tion, learn­ing, prac­tice, and mas­tery. Re­mem­ber when you learned how to ride a bike? It was ter­ri­fy­ing at first, but after you just went for it and tried it, you got it, and felt con­fi­dent. So­cial con­fi­dence works the same way.

Feel­ing anx­ious is not the prob­lem; avoid­ing so­cial in­ter­ac­tions is the prob­lem. Elim­i­nate avoid­ance and you will over­come your anx­i­ety. 2. En­gage.

This means par­tic­i­pat­ing in small talk in the check­out line and talk­ing to strangers at bars, stores, sport­ing events, and the gym. Ad­di­tion­ally, ap­proach the in­di­vid­u­als to whom you are at­tracted ro­man­ti­cally. Talk to them. Ask them to dance. Ask them out on dates.

Life is short. Who cares if you get re­jected? There are seven bil­lion peo­ple on this planet. You’re not ex­pected to like or be liked by all of them. Take some chances and put your­self out there to meet new peo­ple. 3. Try new things, even if they make you anx­ious.

Join a club, a sports team, or an im­prov class. Pick up a new project, take on a dif­fi­cult task at work, or learn a new skill. Do some­thing to get out of your com­fort zone.

Part of over­com­ing shy­ness is about de­vel­op­ing con­fi­dence in sev­eral ar­eas of your life and not let­ting anx­i­ety, fear of fail­ure, fear of re­jec­tion, or fear of hu­mil­i­a­tion get in your way. By prac­tic­ing new ac­tiv­i­ties, you are con­fronting your fear of the un­known and learn­ing to han­dle that anx­i­ety more ef­fec­tively. 4. Talk.

Start prac­tic­ing giv­ing speeches or pre­sen­ta­tions and telling jokes or sto­ries at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity. Be more talk­a­tive and ex­pres­sive in all ar­eas of your life. Whether you’re at work, with friends, with strangers, or walk­ing down the street, you can prac­tice talk­ing more openly. Let your voice and your ideas be heard.

Con­fi­dent peo­ple are not pre­oc­cu­pied with whether every­one is go­ing to like what they have to say. They speak their mind be­cause they want to share, en­gage, and con­nect with oth­ers. You can do this too. Anx­i­ety and shy­ness are not rea­sons to stay quiet. 5. Make your­self vul­ner­a­ble.

A fear of be­ing judged con­trib­utes to so­cial anx­i­ety and shy­ness. The only way to over­come this fear is to make your­self vul­ner­a­ble. Prac­tice do­ing this with the peo­ple you are close to and can trust. You might re­al­ize the more you do it, the closer you feel to oth­ers and the more plea­sure and mean­ing you get out of those re­la­tion­ships. This will lead to in­creased con­fi­dence in your­self and in so­cial in­ter­ac­tions.

Be­ing vul­ner­a­ble re­quires a will­ing­ness to let oth­ers see the real you. Be proud of who you are. Be­ing gen­uine and vul­ner­a­ble is of­ten the qual­ity that oth­ers will ap­pre­ci­ate the most about you. 6. Prac­tice dis­play­ing con­fi­dent body lan­guage.

Make eye con­tact when talk­ing to some­one. Walk with your head held high. Project your voice clearly and ef­fec­tively. Shake hands. Give hugs. Stay in close prox­im­ity to oth­ers. 7. Be mind­ful.

Mind­ful­ness has been de­fined sim­ply as aware­ness. Wake up. Be present to all of your thoughts, feel­ings, sen­sa­tions, and mem­o­ries in any given mo­ment. There is no part of your ex­pe­ri­ence that you have to run from, es­cape, or avoid. Learn to ap­pre­ci­ate your­self and the world around you, in­clud­ing those “pan­icky” thoughts and feel­ings, and just no­tice them with­out judg­ment.

When you are fully present in the mo­ment, you will re­al­ize that so­cial in­ter­ac­tions are not some­thing you need to avoid. You will per­form bet­ter be­cause you are ac­tu­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion to the con­ver­sa­tion and the cues in your en­vi­ron­ment. With prac­tice, you can con­tin­u­ally in­cor­po­rate and im­prove upon your so­cial skills that you learn from the world around you, ul­ti­mately mak­ing you feel more con­fi­dent.

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