One of the most important things that define us is our habits and behaviors. Indeed, our habits and behaviors are created by us. Everything we do, be it big or small has a way of becoming a part of us. We first form our habits and behaviors, and then these habits and behaviors make us. As an individual, many traits, behaviors, and habits define who we are (Russell and Topham 377). For instance, it is possible that one describes an individual by his most notable behavior (e.g., my uncle 'the smoker' is not around today, however, my other uncle, 'the drunkard' is sleeping). It is unfortunate the use of bad habits for defining in the above examples. However, this was done intentionally since bad habits and behaviors identify an individual more often than good behaviors and habits. I myself are grappling with a habit that has been construed to be bad although that is arguable to some extent (Heeren and McNally 97). This paper is aimed at identifying a habit and behavior that I or others would like me to change with arguments supporting the need for changing or not changing the behavior.
I have always been an introvert, loving to keep to myself, hanging out with a handful of friends who I find I am comfortable with. Research shows that I suffer from social anxiety disorder and shyness (Henderson and Zimbardo 73). Incidentally, I have been shy all my life. I have never wanted to be the life of the party especially in surroundings that are new to me. This to some extent has made it difficult for me to make significant progress in life. For instance, I have turned down many opportunities that would require me coming out of my comfort zone. Particularly, I turned down the opportunity of progressing my soccer skills which I am good at or so have been told, that would have given me the scholarship to go to major universities in the state. However, I was not able to step up to the plate because I felt that I would always fail each time, doubting myself and my soccer skills. In fact, I have found that I perform best during training sessions where the environment is controlled but cannot make any impact when playing a match with a sizeable number of spectators who include prospective talent seekers.
I consider shyness and social anxiety to be bad behaviors because they are impacting my life negatively. It is inhibiting my ability to use the God-given talents that are sure to change my life. Other than that, I am also finding it difficult to keep relationships especially those that require meeting new people because I tend to keep to myself. I desire to change this behavior because as we grow old, I am realizing that the world needs one to be able to interact with others, make new friends because relationships identify us. Being a soccer player, most of my friends have moved forward in life, getting scholarships to join colleges, signed by teams from across the country whereas I can only afford to play at my best during closed practice sessions because of my shyness. I have seen how they view me and hope that I change because they want the best for me. Furthermore, my shyness has introduced me to alcohol which I find to make me come out of my shell. I have become an avid alcohol drinker especially in new environments because it releases me from my inhibitions and I tend to fare well when drunk although to some extent. I do not want also to have the alcoholic tag to my name as well, hence the need to change the behavior fast.
Shyness is a personality trait that puts together inhibited behavior and social anxiety. As such, it is important to note that we are all shy, but at different levels of shyness (Henderson and Zimbardo 68). Indeed, shyness is a reaction that manifests when exposed to new environments and unfamiliar situations. It manifests itself as anxiety, reticence, nervousness and inhibition in social and interpersonal situations (Heeren and McNally 101). Social anxiety, on the other hand, is the fear, humiliation or embarrassment in social situations that are performance-based to the extent where an individual is affected. The affected individual tends to handle the situations with high distress levels or avoids them entirely. These are evidenced even in activities that the individual would very much like to engage in (Russell and Topham 81). Shyness could actually be positive to some people. However, social anxiety is a negative trait all the time. It has the ability to cause major emotional pain and the avoidance of important situations in life that have a huge effect on life (Heeren and McNally 103). Social anxiety can lead to depression if not handled early. Alcohol and drug abuse have been used as mechanisms to cope with social situations (Henderson and Zimbardo 88).
The saving grace in all these is that it is possible to change this behavior. However, it feels as though I am well past saving. Research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best treatment for social anxiety. It addresses how one feels, thinks and behaves in a social setting (Heeren and McNally 101). It is taken as a course which means that it is a way of changing the mindset and behavior of an issue slowly by introducing new ideas to an individual. It assesses an individual's anxiety especially in social setting, educates about the anxieties found in an individual, trains about strategies to deal with the anxieties, going to the ground and using the education to challenge the fears head-on using various techniques, monitor thoughts, and mind processes and distortions to identify progress, shift attention from future outcomes to present situations to counter the fears (Henderson and Zimbardo 76). I have decided to undertake cognitive behavioral therapy as a way of dealing with my situation. I hope that I will be able to quash this behavior to have a meaningful take on life and start getting things done that will impact my life for the future.
Heeren, Alexandre, and Richard J. McNally. "An integrative network approach to social anxiety disorder: The complex dynamic interplay among attentional bias for threat, attentional control, and symptoms." Journal of Anxiety Disorders, vol. 42, 2016, pp. 95-104.
Henderson, Lynne, and Philip Zimbardo. "Shyness, Social Anxiety, and Social Anxiety Disorder." Social Anxiety, 2010, pp. 65-92.
Russell, Graham, and Phil Topham. "The impact of social anxiety on student learning and well-being in higher education." Journal of Mental Health, vol. 21, no. 4, 2012, pp. 375-385.
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