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Building Positive Expectations to Overcome Being Shy

written by Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD December 9, 2020
Building Positive Expectations to Overcome Being Shy

Negative expectations make you shy, but Loretta Graziano Breuning, Phd, shares how you can build positive expectations to overcome being shy.

Shyness involves negative expectations about social interactions.

You expect a bad reaction when you speak up, and cortisol is released. You don’t intend to think this way, and you don’t even think it in words. Our limbic system works without words. It alarms you with threat chemicals when you see a situation that triggered threat chemicals in your past. Neurons connect when cortisol flows, which turns on the bad feeling faster in similar situations.

Social Expectations

Positive expectations work the same way. Neurons connect when happy chemicals flow, which wires you to turn on the happy chemicals faster. You may wish you got that positive wiring. You may think others have it easier. But social interactions are hard for everyone because it’s hard to predict new situations on the basis of old ones. We need negative expectations as well as positive ones to navigate the social world. If you only had positive expectations, you would make blunders that got you into trouble.

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