lonely and shy man

lonely and shy manI have always been quite shy, and I guess I suffer a little from social anxiety too. It is not extreme, I don’t hide away completely, but there are times when I do turn down invitations that if I put myself out of my comfort zone I would actually enjoy.

I am never the loud, gregarious one, unless I am with my close circle of friends (and maybe only when alcohol is present too). And if I am in a situation where I meet new people, I won’t be the one dominating the conversation.

I can see this in my children too, with my youngest being painfully shy. So much so that her teacher put her in some clubs at school to help bring her out of herself. And she has – I knew it would be a matter of time – but it will be a work in progress for many years.

I don’t necessarily see it as a bad thing, but as one of my colleagues said recently, you get nothing in life if you don’t put yourself out there. I’m not sure that’s 100% true, but I do see his point. I want more for my children than I have had, so I see it as my job to nurture and slowly get them out, without it frightening them half to death.

So I thought it best to look at shyness and social anxiety, as I am sure there are many others like me who want to learn how to overcome their shyness.

What Causes Shyness?

Shy people are often seen as misfits or outcasts by people who are not socially inept. You hear comments about such shy, insecure people as the following:

“Why is she so strange? She never talks to anyone.”

“He never talks to anyone. Does he think he is better than everyone else?”

“I think he is crazy/has a mental disorder.”

“I wouldn’t want to hang around with her, she is weird.”

“She is such a loner, no wonder she doesn’t have any friends.”

In many cases, it is exactly this type of ostracizing which causes some people to be shy. Fear of reprimand or failure can also lead to an individual withdrawing from society. They know that if they make a mistake or fail in some way, they will feel less about themselves, and they believe others will too.

Growing up in an environment of fear can cause children to wind up as shy, insecure adults. Either one or both parents or the premier caregiver is overly hard on the child. Without a loving environment that supports learning from failure, and growing up in one that constantly browbeats and belittles a child, a person can wind up with an extreme level of shyness, and even self-hatred.

Shyness May Be a Chemical Thing

The awkward, apprehensive feelings which are hallmarks of shyness can also arise from chemical imbalances. Premature childbirth, improper prenatal development, low birth weight, mercury poisoning and hereditary influences can all predispose a person to be shy and withdrawn from the minute they are born.

If a child moves frequently during the social developmental stages of youth, this can lead to low self-esteem. They find it hard to develop lasting friendships, and give up on social interaction altogether. Another frequent cause of shyness results from a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Usually referred to as PTSD, this mental disorder develops after a traumatic event. Some people simply can’t “move on” and heal after severe trauma. A single such occurrence in a person’s life may have such a powerfully negative mental and emotional effect that the person prefers loneliness to what are perceived as dangers in building relationships and interacting with others.

It is important to remember that in most cases, there are strong underlying reasons for a person being shy and insecure. Counseling is a first line of defense, as is creating a loving environment of support filled with positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Common Worries of Shy or Insecure People

shy womanThe benefits of socializing are significant. Social engagement has been proven to strengthen the human immune system. This means that your natural ability to fight infection and disease is strengthened when you spend time with other people. Those that socialize frequently enjoy better mental health and less incidence rates of cancer, diabetes and other problematic health conditions.

Those are a few very good reasons it is so important to fight through feelings of shyness or insecurity.

Insecure individuals are often concerned about what other people think. They don’t realize that in most situations, most of the time, their behavior and actions are not even recognized. They are worried about looking foolish or thought of as a failure, when no one else is really paying that much attention.

Even when others do see you fail, you should not feel insecure. Surround yourself with those supportive individuals and loved ones that care about you. This can keep you from the frequent worry and insecurity that shy people are known for.

Other common worries of shy people are simply not correct. Sometimes an introverted, insecure person suffers from a cognitive distortion. Their view of reality is incorrect, based on a neurological disorder. Other shy people worry that they were born unlikable or exceptionally flawed.

Some are so concerned about their social interactions that they become “mind readers”. They believe they can read the minds of the people they are interacting with, seeing themselves as unapproachable, unlikable and awkward through the eyes of others.

Some are simply so concerned with rejection or lack of approval that they prefer to spend their time on their own. The fear of being ostracized or rejected is so strong that a shy person prefers the sadness of loneliness.

Insecure individuals may also believe that any social mistake will have incredibly negative and harmful consequences. It is important to seek help if you have these feelings. They are usually far from correct, and they can damage your self-esteem. You begin to feel responsible for outcomes that you have no control over, and you miss out on the incredible physical and mental rewards of socializing.

Counseling can help. Simply talking about your problem to friends and family members you trust and respect can also help you overcome shyness. If your insecurity and shy nature are inherited, which is sometimes the case, medications can help you become a more social individual.

Why Avoiding Social Situations is not the Cure to Social Anxiety

avoiding social situationsThe most mentioned fear of the average person is public speaking. In countless studies this is shown as being a scarier situation than even death! The fear of not being accepted dates back to the earliest man, who was fearful of being ostracized. If he was kicked out of the tribe, and had to survive harsh and dangerous prehistoric conditions on his own, survival was almost impossible.

This is just one way that human beings express anxiety over social situations. This is a normal concern, but many people avoid any type of social interaction because they have some higher than average level of social anxiety.

The fear of embarrassment is so high that an individual would rather totally detach his or herself from society than run the risk of being laughed at, or perceived as a failure. Unfortunately, withdrawing from social situations only reinforces social anxiety and other social phobias.

Ignoring a problem never resolves it, or makes it go away.

For some people, simply making small talk or eating in front of others, using public restrooms or being in a crowd is incredibly stressful. These individuals often employ what psychologists call “covert avoidance” to handle this condition. When they are forced to socialize (as in family and career commitments), they will avoid eye contact, make excuses for their withdrawn behaviour or find a quiet, lonely place to spend their time.

Anxiety can even come from the mere anticipation of a social situation or event, long before it is experienced. Psychiatrists and social behaviourists have agreed that avoidance is the wrong way to deal with the situation. Socializing delivers clear and identifiable physical, emotional and mental benefits. Your immune system is boosted, which means you have a lower rate of contracting any disease, health condition or infection, even serious conditions like cancer, diabetes or obesity.

Social anxiety also creates high levels of stress. Since a person never gives him or herself a chance to succeed in social relationships, that individual is constantly anxious and stressed out about such situations.

The key lies in talking about the problem with counselors and loved ones. Self-help manuals and books, online courses and programs also help reduce social awkwardness and shyness. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, and regular exercise or physical activity can also make someone feel more comfortable in social situations. Ignoring that social anxiety is an issue only makes the problem worse, and harder to deal with when you eventually and inevitably have to.

are you tired of being lonely

How to Deal with Social Situations That Tire You Out

Have you ever been in a social situation that sapped your physical strength? Even though the socializing you experienced required no physical exercise or exertion, when it was over, you felt beat up and worn down physically. It was as if you were lifting heavy weights for hours, or ran the Boston Marathon!

Many times after these types of situations, an individual will question whether they got enough sleep the night before, or if they are eating properly. Other times the physically worn down, tired feeling you get after certain social situations has to do with how you are emotionally and mentally hardwired. Either through the environment you grew up in, or through genetics, you are predisposed to handle social situations a certain way.

Extroverts vs Introverts

Extroverts are individuals that absolutely thrive in social settings. They can operate with high levels of natural energy after socializing for several hours, and even days and weeks in a row. Being around others, especially large groups where there is a lot of back-and-forth communication, fires up their energy stores and they operate optimally both mentally and physically.

Introverts, on the other hand, may feel “tired” or “drained” after even a short period of time in a social setting. Sometimes this is not true of all social commitments. They may look forward to particular social engagements, like meeting a friend for dinner or drinks after work.

However, in some social settings, that same introvert will lose focus in a short period of time, and actually feel their energy levels drop rapidly. This does not mean that an extrovert or introvert is the “right or wrong” personality type. It simply means that some settings are more conducive to your natural emotional and mental makeup than others.

Even introverts can quickly become tired and worn out when their skill level is surpassed or challenged. Everything is more mentally draining when it is harder for you, rather than if you can perform that task easily and with little effort. When your social skill and experience in some area is tested, this can create a worn down, tired physical feeling, and a lack of mental focus as well.

Asperger’s Syndrome and High Functioning Autism (HFA) are two clinically diagnosed conditions that can leave you feeling run down in social situations. It was discovered in the latter half of the 20th century that shyness and insecurity can also be hereditary. This means that if you feel easily tired both physically and mentally from a social situation, it could be due to your genetic makeup.

How to Fight That Tired, Drained, Worn Out Feeling

In almost all cases, drinking some beverage with caffeine can boost your energy levels. Try to avoid adding refined sugar, as an impending energy crash awaits just around the corner. If you haven’t eaten in a while, enjoy a snack with protein and healthy fats. Skip the carbs, or you could make the situation worse.

If you can, steer the conversation or interaction to an area where you are very comfortable. Introverts and extroverts both enjoy high levels of energy when they are operating in their comfort zones. Use these tips the next time you feel tired and physically beat from a social situation, and you may be able to revitalize and energize yourself effortlessly.

How to Improve Your Social Life

improve your social lifeImproving your social life means thinking short term. Start with baby steps. If socializing scares you, fills you with anxiety and dread, or otherwise gives you cold feet, don’t expect to change the problem overnight. Research shows that shy, introverted people often possess these qualities due to genetic and hereditary reasons, so don’t give yourself a hard time if you are naturally shy and withdrawn.

Others opt out of social situations because they were raised in an environment that discouraged socializing. For whatever the reason, if you are not inclined to socializing but you understand the rewards of doing so, you can change the situation if you want to. Studies show that people who socialize frequently enjoy strong immune systems. That makes them less inclined to become sick, or contract any disease or illness.

There are obvious career and personal relationship rewards that come from socialization. So if you want to become more of the social animal, begin close to home. Why not take a minute to talk to your postman or the person who serves your morning coffee? You are physically somewhere you feel comfortable, so that should make it easier.

That means you will experience less discomfort in trying to socialize with people that you see on a regular basis, but may not have much interaction with.

At work, volunteer to teach a class or lead some training in an area where you feel extremely comfortable. This way you are interacting with people that are not entirely strangers, and you are involved with processes and behaviours where you are capable and self-assured.

Think about exactly what you want from social interaction. This allows you to guide your efforts in the right direction. Make yourself approachable. Use open, inviting body language. Invite your closest and dearest friends, who you are comfortable with, over to your house. Ask each of them to bring a friend of theirs that you don’t know that well.

Always remember that your unrealized fear of the consequences of failure are in almost every situation blown out of proportion. Spending time imagining nightmare scenarios is a horrible waste of your mental and emotional energy.

Things never end up as bad as we imagine they will, so be yourself. It is easier to feel like socializing when you are comfortable in your own skin, and trying to be something or someone else adds unneeded pressure to your social commitments.

I hope these tips and suggestions help you. Let me know in the comments below what steps you take and how they go, did you gain a new found sense of confidence? Are you looking forward to your next social occasion?

cure for social anxiety



If you want to explore more in depth then I highly recommend Sean Cooper’s in depth course overcoming shyness and curing social anxiety. You can find out all about that by heading over to his site here.

Boost your motivational energy

Maybe it’s just me, but the older I get the less energy I seem to have to do the simplest of tasks. I can still remember easily days gone by when I could do anything I wanted – having 4 jobs, out on the nights not working, whilst still fitting in training for half marathons. Admittedly when I slept, I slept as long as possible. But that was a long time ago, and now I need to plan my energy carefully.

Not only do I feel more tired physically, but mentally I can feel it too. I know it’s part of growing older, but when a day in the office becomes harder mentally, I know that I need to be sensible. Most evenings I try and catch a 10 minute nap on my short train journey, and I find this helps boost me for the evening.

Increasing your mental energy to motivate you to get things done – whether that’s around the house, at work, or when you’re out and about – can seem like a hefty task. But, the truth is a lot of people overlook their current ‘habits’ and behaviours that can actually negatively impact their mental energy on a daily basis.

Read on to see what works for people from all walks of life who are struggling to get the necessary mental will-power to be successful!Continue reading

Are you one of the few people who are extremely happy with every aspect of your life? If so, well done, congratulations, this book is not for you.

However, most people have something they would like to change. It may only be one thing, or it may be everything in their life, but this book is designed to help the reader make their life more complete. If you seem stuck in a rut, then take a few hours to read Designing Your Life and put yourself on the road to creating the life you want.



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Kenny Tutt - Masterchef 2018 Champion

Picture courtesy of the BBC Masterchef website


Now I will be the first to admit that my cooking skills are almost non-existent. Despite my advancing years, cooking has never been high up on my priorities – eating, yes, but cooking not so much. Which is why it amazes me sometimes that I love watching shows like Masterchef. This latest series that culminated with the final last Friday was great – and the final itself certainly lived up to it’s billing.

Masterchef takes amateur chefs and pits their skills against each other through a series of weeks, with the best going through and the not so good being told their time is up by judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace. Over the weeks they get to cook for top chefs, food critics, past contestants, and also get to work in top restaurants. It’s here where they learn lots of skills from their heroes, despite the pressure of working in a top kitchen.

It’s a very popular show, and this year proved no exception. As we went into the final week, there were two women – Moonira and Alex – and three men – Kenny, David and Nawamin – left in the competition. First Moonira fell by the wayside, and then Alex failed to make the final three.

As the series progressed, David appeared to be the front runner. An airline pilot, he showed great technical ability, and seemed to ooze confidence. However young Nawamin, an Oxford graduate who is a doctor researching new medicines, showed his Thai upbringing with some weird and wonderful ideas of flavours and presentation. As teh weeks passed by he seemed to go from strength to strength.

The third finalist, Kenny Tutt, a bank manager from Brighton, seemed to be way behind, although getting stronger. But everyone I spoke to thought it was between David and Nawamin. And we were all proved wrong! So how did Kenny go on to win and lift the title of Masterchef 2018?

His menu consisted of a  roast scallop and smoked cauliflower starter, squab pigeon breast and bon-bon main, and bitter chocolate and ale ice-cream dessert. Sounds nice, but then so did the other contestants menu’s. But what Kenny did, that the others failed to do, was to cook his best meal on the day of the final. Sounds simple, right?

David had said in his interview that the judges had seen all his technical ability already, and that they just wanted good food. True – but he made a couple of errors in cooking, and as such let himself down. Nawamin went the other way, and created the most amazingly over the top menu, which was let down by things not quite going to plan. But Kenny saved his best cooking till last, and deservedly was crowned champion.

During previous shows, Kenny had shown quite a lot of stress whilst cooking. He was constantly running around, and always seemed to be behind schedule. But on the day of the final he seemed relaxed, and he said he was just there to enjoy his cooking. It was the last chance to cook in the Masterchef kitchen, so he was going to enjoy it.

I’m not sure how much time they get between rounds, but obviously Kenny had done his homework. Preparation is key to achieving any great task – and with a meticulous list of instructions, you know that he had been cooking this meal many times, tweaking the ingredients and timings to get the best tastes. This continuous practice, so that when it comes to your “final” your performance is automatic, is key in achieving whatever you want to in that sort of scenario.

So for youngsters sitting their exams soon, plenty of revision and writing test essays will mean they can cope under exam conditions. If you are looking to get a new job, asking a friend to sit and pretend to interview you, coming up with different questions that you may be asked, will train you to be able to answer them easily. Sportsmen and women train for hours each and every day before they get to perform their chosen sport. In the case of 100 metre runners, all those hours boil down to 10 seconds of action! In order to be at your peak for your performance, you need to be able to practice until that performance is ingrained.

Kenny Tutt proved that hard work and dedication, along with a belief in yourself, can mean you accomplish your dreams. So why can’t you? If there is something that you truly want to achieve, then follow his example and set yourself on the road to success with dedication and perseverance. And don’t forget to peak at the right time!




Have you been struggling for years to achieve your dreams of success? You have life goals, things you have dreamed of doing for so many years. Yet you have managed to not get anywhere near those goals, and it has left you feeling frustrated. Does that sound like you?

It may be that you’re not using your mind to overcome the challenges and roadblocks you face. When you develop a positive mindset, you can be empowered to manifest your dreams. What, I hear you ask? Is that really possible? With the right mindset and focus, yes, you can achieve the things that you have always dreamed about.

Setbacks and failures are simply lessons that you learn on the way to success, but some people think of them as abject failures and stop trying. That is just negative thinking, and one that you should aim to stop as soon as possible.Continue reading