Move toward the fear gently. Spend time in the feared setting longer, more intensely or more frequently.
Improve coping strategies. Learn progressive muscle relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing or meditation. Refine your YS internal self-criticism into something more accurate and humane. Fear grows when it’s avoided, because avoidance is reinforcing. Flight works in the short term, your YS feels temporarily better.
Your Anxious Child is probably the classic guide for parents.
Social Phobia comes in two types, sharing the fear exposure before a harsh, judgmental audience. For some, an intimate group feels more exposing. If they don’t like you, it is because they don’t like “You.) Even audiences seem safely anonymous. For others crowds of strangers seem like packs.
Socially anxious people believe than being anxious makes them unacceptable (although the majority of people on the planet describe themselves as shy.) They also share the misperception that others are focused on them, when others are typically preoccupied by their own attempts to project a good image.
Lastly, they give others credit for being highly perceptive, which is a mistake. People often miss broad changes in their social environment.
Jerome Kagan has researched anxious temperament for the past two decades, finding that a warm loving environment that pushes children to take social risks can shift extreme shyness by about 20%. Children who are exceptionally shy in their early years are likely to remain shy, but hopefully to the point that it is simply an aspect of their personality.
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