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Social anxiety and shyness count as very real problems for at least 40% to 45% of the population who self-identify as shy. If you count yourself among these folks, take heart. There are steps you can take to lessen the effects of shyness on your life. Here are three to get you started.

1. Try New Things

Overcoming shyness means coming out of your shell, even if it’s uncomfortable. It turns out that doing things like joining a sports team or participating in leadership activities  can be some of the best activities to do if you’re shy. 

Consider trying out a new hobby. Find a gym buddy and commit to going to the gym every week. Change up your diet and try out some supplements such as foundation four reviews to make an improvement on your health. Taking the time to take care of yourself will give you a much-needed boost of confidence. 

The reason being is that these activities force you to face your fears. By constantly practicing activities that scare you, you learn to overcome your fears of rejection or fears of failure. Essentially, you teach yourself how to more effectively deal with the issues that challenge you so that they don’t overwhelm you.

2. Build Relationships With the Right People

People who deal with social anxiety and shyness often also deal with lower self-esteem. This makes these people particularly vulnerable to bullying and teasing. 

In cases such as these, people who are very shy steer clear of bullies. This could be you.

It’s difficult to build up self-esteem when you’re around someone who constantly tears you down. If you’re shy and in the company of teases and bullies, remove yourself from these people’s company. Opt for relationships with uplifting people instead. 

3. Play a Role

This doesn’t mean you’re phony. Rather, it’s just that some jobs or situations allow you to play a role. And certain roles come with unspoken rules, which most people understand on some level. 

For shy people like yourself, this makes navigating the waters of public discourse a bit easier: You know what’s expected of you. For example, you may hate the idea of public speaking but you actually feel okay when you’re teaching a group of students. 

As the teacher, you know what to do at any given hour of the day. (Math lessons are at 8:00, language at 9:00, art at 10:00.) Because you know the unspoken rules to this role, it’s easier to hide behind it much like a stage actor does when performing a part. 

Doing this allows you to play to the strengths that you do have and minimizes self-sabotage. It also allows you to avoid the label of shyness, at least in some situations, which in turn, helps boost your self-esteem because you’re not identifying with such a disempowering identity, that of the shy person.

Most people face social anxiety and shyness at some point in their lives. Many people deal with these issues all of their lives. Indeed, being shy just happens to be a part of their temperament. 

If you’re one of these people, your shyness doesn’t necessarily have to be crippling. Taking steps like finding a role that allows you to come out of your shell is one way to deal with shyness. Another way to deal with shyness is to face it head on by doing activities that you find scary. 

Finally, it’s important to remember that bullies help no one, especially the shy person. If you find yourself surrounded by people who tease you unmercifully, it’s time to find more empowering friends. People who support you won’t always encourage you to stay on the sidelines. In fact, they may encourage you to do something downright scary. 

The difference is these people are around to pick you up when you fall and to encourage you when you’re scared. This makes for a more empowering group of people to hang out with, whether you are plagued by shyness or not.