Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shyness Cure!

A recent study done on hundreds of subjects, has shown that Oxytocin, that lovely bonding hormone that makes sex and baby bonding so great, may be a 'wonder drug', helping shy people overcome their awkwardness in social settings.  This hormone naturally reduces anxiety and increases feelings of empathy and promote more in-depth connections between people.

This is great because now, not only can people resorting to drugs and other substances to overcome their inhibitions benefit from it, but so can those suffering from Autism, as shown in other studies. Autistic persons tend to have lower levels of this hormone and so it can be a glimmer of hope as a potential treatment option for its sufferers. As exciting as it sounds though, we must take into consideration that it does no good for those of us who are already somewhat extroverted.

Shyness can be debilitating in a modern society. Just imagine Celie from 'The Color Purple' being taken to Metropolis and left there! Although things are becoming increasingly automated, social interactions are more and more inevitable as the population grows.  Unfortunately, many people believe that the only way to get the courage to socialize or even partially enjoy a social gathering at all, whether large or small, is by drinking alcohol or using some other drugs (illegal or prescribed) to take away their anxiety, self-consciousness and overall paranoia. This is fine in moderation, but we all know someone who has ruined their lives and the lives of those around them by becoming dependent on them. As with any other drug, there are side effects in the form of nausea, vomiting and uterine contractions (like after childbirth) in some, but most do not experience these or any at all for that matter. I personally don't know if all shy people were meant to be extroverted though. Even though oxytocin induces empathy, and this is supposed to be a good thing, to what extent does it? As a fan of new medical breakthroughs, as well as a critic of modern medicine, I'd like to analyze just a few of the potential pros and cons first. Can it make you fall in love with everyone you meet or have you so 'lovey dovey' that you can't tell when a robber seriously means "he's going to shoot you unless you give him the money? I've had two children and believe me...I know the effects of this hormone! During breastfeeding, it is secreted by mother and child and was a "high" far better than sex! It's quite magical and makes you want to 'feed the whole world'! Literally! Then again, by watching the news everyday and seeing how cold-hearted people are becoming, more empathy, compassion and love should not be such a bad thing.

Only time will tell how "wonderful" this "wonder drug" really is but I sure am glad there's hope for turning those cowardly caterpillars into the social butterflies that they dream of being.

If medical treatment is not your cup of tea and you would like to learn to become more comfortable in public, keep in mind that:

  • You have NOTHING to fear but God!
  • All the people you feel intimidated by are human just like you with the same embarrassing bodily functions, fashion faux-pas, and negative traits that they themselves are self-conscious of.
  • That many people love you dearly for who you are and would change nothing about you.
With those being said, go out there and make new friends. In order to do this, you can't run cowering the instant someone tries to strike up a conversation with you. Remembering all of the above will help you to appreciate your uniqueness much more. Join a group or club of your choice and practice becoming more involved in your daily life. Confidence is built or torn down because of circumstances affecting our lives starting from childhood. How we choose to look at them and what we are made to believe of ourselves because of them can positively or negatively affect our quality of life. Choosing to show the world your true self is not something you should be afraid of but rather embrace! There's only one you! That's great!

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