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5. The relevance of emotional intelligence to shyness

Written by Rachel Green, Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, author of "Happy not hassled"

The relevance of emotional intelligence to shyness is that a shy person may experience a whole range of emotions that make them want to avoid social situations and people.

If people learn how to handle these emotions more effectively they may be better able to handle people and social situations and become more confident in them.

The first five steps

  • The first step is to know how you feel, to tune into the feelings, to look out for their early signs.
  • The second is to acknowledge your feelings, e.g. “I am feeling ...”. Simply naming the emotion accurately has been found to reduce the reaction in the brain.
  • The third is to investigate what is causing the emotions.
  • The fourth is not to be frightened of the emotion itself. I used to be frightened of having panic attacks and the associated anxiety; when I stopped being so fearful of the anxiety the panic attacks subsided. There are many free articles on managing anxiety, including social anxiety, here: The Emotional Intelligence Institute - Emotional Intelligence & Anxiety
  • The fifth is to use a series of emotional management techniques to manage and reduce any emotions which are unhelpful, e.g. tapping, meditation, journal writing, painting, loving-kindness practice, counselling and more.

If your shyness is creating anxiety for you, for example in social situations, I recommend our "Happy not hassled" MP3 recordings to you. The meditations are the ones I used to help me overcome my panic attacks.

MP3s $29(US) Add to Cart

The next two steps

  • The sixth is to not let the emotions dictate your behaviour - this is the ultimate emotional intelligence skill. For example, I may feel guilty about saying no, but that doesn’t mean I don’t say no. I may feel anxious about walking into a room full of strangers but that doesn’t have to mean I turn down the invitation. Skiers in the winter olympics feel anxious before a race but it doesn’t stop them competing.
  • The seventh is to learn the specific communication skills needed in a social situation. Do not just expect to know them; most of us don’t. There are lots of tips and techniques on how to talk to strangers, how to introduce yourself, how to break into a group - develop these skills, actually study them and you will be more comfortable knowing what to do. There are more free tips on this on our conversation and networking section. Even though it is called networking it applies to nearly all social situations: The Emotional Intelligence Institute - Emotional intelligence and business networking

If your shyness is creating anxiety for you, including in social situations, learn to calm it down by following the meditations on our "Happy not hassled" MP3 recordings. The meditations are the ones I used to help me overcome my panic attacks.

MP3s $29(US) Add to Cart