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The science behind why some of us are shy

Shyness is not bad

Shyness in itself is quite common and normal, but it can become a problem if it develops into social anxiety where you avoid things that need to be done. You might not be able to talk to people at work or have difficulties socializing.

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The science behind why some of us are shy

The science behind why some of us are shy

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190604-the-science-behind-why-some-of-us-are-shy

bbc.com

7

Key Ideas

Shyness

If the idea of mingling at a party or giving a presentation in front of people make you feel sick, you are not alone.

About 30% of shyness is because of genetics. The rest comes about as a response to the environment.

Shyness: Genes and environment

The environment has a large effect on personality and mental health. However, genetics may drive us to extract aspects of the environment that match our actual predispositions.

Genes and the environment work together as a dynamic system. Because of that, you can always change it through psychological therapies that can teach you techniques to cope.

Shyness is not bad

Shyness in itself is quite common and normal, but it can become a problem if it develops into social anxiety where you avoid things that need to be done. You might not be able to talk to people at work or have difficulties socializing.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT is the most effective psychological therapy for people who have shyness and social anxiety.

CBT enables you to identify negative thoughts. It helps you realize what behavior is unhelpful, such as avoiding eye contact or rehearsing what you're going to say.

Overcoming shyness

To overcome shyness, focus on your audience and what's happening around you, rather than on your anxiety. You will be less caught up in whether you stumble over your words.

Challenge yourself by being more open to new situations. The more you can involve yourself with social situations, the more confident you'll become.

Shyness and introversion are not the same

Shy people are often introverted, but they might also be extroverts who allow their anxiety to get in the way. Non-shy introverts might be socially adept but prefer their own company.

Culture and shyness

The Western world places value on confident, extroverted behavior over introversion, but in parts of Asia, being quiet and reserved is preferred.

In the West, good eye contact is praised and expected, but in other cultures, it is a sign of disrespect and challenge.

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Being an introvert
Being an introvert has nothing to do with being shy.

All it means is that some people recharge when they are by themselves (introverts).

Deal With Being an Introvert
  • Learn to recharge by yourself. You can be enormously creative and successful once you know how to recharge.
  • Create a life where you can have more time by yourself.
  • Make small incremental moves towards the life you want to live.
  • Ask yourself throughout the day: is this activity giving me energy or draining me? 
  • Be humble enough to realize what you are not good at. 
  • Self-esteem is great if you earn it. But if you have no gas in the car, faking your gas gauge won’t make the car run longer.
Gets things done as an introvert
  • Write down ten ideas a day to keep being creative.
  • Read a lot to keep learning.
  • “Execution ideas” are a subset of ideas. When you have an idea you want to test, think of the next execution ideas to get the idea done.
  • Talk with friends who can help if you think the idea is starting to gain traction.

  • Focus your execution efforts on the things you're skilled at and hire or outsource the other things.

  • Work with people who are good at what they do, so you can be good at what you do.

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High tolerance to frustration

People with high frustration tolerances are the ones that generally succeed at remote work. And you can take steps to raise your frustration tolerance and become more conscientious by working on your impulsivity.

A non-conscientious person will find another activity (a distraction most likely) the moment something challenging or uncomfortable comes up. They have to be more conscious to stay in the moment: count to five or take five deep breaths, for example.

A lack of boundaries

When work and personal activities are occurring in the same space, there are no cues for you to behave the way you do at work while you are outside your physical office.

Those who work well from home create boundaries in a work-life world without them. Then, once these parameters are established, people who commit fewer ‘boundary violations’ are better off.

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Being Unable To Articulate Your Thoughts
Being Unable To Articulate Your Thoughts
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Introverts seem to favour long-term memory over short-term memory.

Writing And Introverts

Due to the way their brains are wired, introverts make great writers, able to express themselves in a more comfortable and relaxed manner, as they take their own time to build a great story or narrative.

Many introverts prefer text messages or email over phone calls, and are great at journaling and blogging.

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Over the short-term, newly formed virtual teams experience more negative outcomes, such as team conflict, lower satisfaction, less knowledge sharing, and poorer performance. But, they will adapt and improve over time.

Adapting quickly

At an individual level, some people will find it easier to adapt than others.

  • A study revealed that when people are imaginative and enjoying a new challenge, they are happier to embrace virtual teamwork.
  • Extroverted individuals prefer face-to-face work, and virtual work may lessen the energy they get from social interaction.
  • Introverts are better at adapting to a virtual environment as it involves less face-to-face interaction.
  • Those who like to make quick decisions prefer virtual teams.

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Noise affects us differently

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Others have an extreme aversion, a sort of panic attack to distracting sounds, which is called Misophonia.

Extroverts and Introverts

Extroverts seek and find noisy environments comfortable, while introverts are the opposite, and run away to solitary comfort after interacting with people.

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An introvert

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Be who you are

We really do well when we connect with others, even for brief periods. You don't need to change your nature in order to socialize more.

Instead of fighting your personality, work with it, and focus on the type and level of interactions you can do and enjoy.

Find social opportunities that work for you
  • Know your boundaries. Introverts are often not comfortable with uncertainty about when something will end. 
  • Control the setting. If going out is not easy, have people come to you.
  • Focus on activities, as a class at a local college or community center. Sometimes just being around people is enough.
  • Join a club based on your personal interests or hobbies.
  • Socialize from afar. Social media is another way for introverts to stay connected.
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