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Overcome Social Anxiety and Tension- Try Acting Workshops

Updated on January 29, 2017
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Andrew is a drama teacher with over 10 years of experience. He has a teaching degree from Huddersfield University in the UK.

Acting Workshops Can Help With Anxiety

Acting and drama workshops are well worth a visit for those people who suffer from anxiety, nerves and shyness. You get to meet friendly creative people, have fun with exercises and warm ups and you might even get a small part in a play at the end of it all.

What's not to like? OK, I know, it's not that straightforward - people who tend to be anxious, who don't like large groups of people, may prefer something different but for some I would recommend taking that first step.

An estimated 75% of US citizens are said to have social anxiety to some degree and are not comfortable when it comes to things like gatherings and partying. This is a surprisingly high figure which psychologists are putting down to a new love of staying home, chilling out with a loved one in familiar surroundings, and being too wrapped up in technology!

Genuine shyness can be an issue for a lot of people.This is unfortunate because feeling shy needn't limit a person or stop them from living life to the full. For a teenager, overcoming shyness can be a tricky challenge but there are steps that can be taken to ease the tension, relieve peer pressure and move on into new ways of thinking.

One first step is to take the plunge and join an acting workshop or drama group. You can search out contact names and addresses online - there are often several active in every medium sized town and city. If you live in a sizeable city you'll have a lot more to choose from, but it shouldn't matter where you live, you can still join a group and have fun.


8 Tips To Overcome Shyess

You might be far too sensitive to even think about approaching a group! OK. It's a valid point. Before you even think about embarrassing yourself in front of others, work on some easy to follow techniques and rituals that'll allow you to free up and help build your self esteem.

You can start to overcome shyness by following these 8 tips :

  1. Smile and say hello to people you perhaps ignore or shy away from.
  2. Keep a positive saying or mantra in your head for the first hour each morning.
  3. Make proper eye contact with those who are speaking to you and to those you are addressing.
  4. Help other people in small but significant ways. You'll be surprised to find out how good this can feel.
  5. Work closely with a colleague or friend on a small enjoyable project to consciously build a rapport.
  6. Try not to take things to heart if someone makes a mistake or you make a mistake.
  7. Work on the small talk if needs be. Open a conversation with a simple statement or question.
  8. Treat yourself to quality time alone after helping someone else or putting yourself in a no comfort zone.

These initial first steps should be taken slowly but gradually you'll come to realise that your shyness is a condition you and others can be at ease with. 'Coming out of your shell' is an apt saying. In time you'll leave enough of it behind and be the one in control. You won't have to waste time anxiously wrangling with your shyness. Shall I, shan't I? What if, what then?

You might not be the world's greatest extrovert at this stage but you will be ready for the next step - approaching a local drama group or attending a drama workshop.

If you are keen on drama and being creative with your imagination then you can easily join a local drama group. Even if you're not that imaginative but love movement, physical games, music and singing, drama can enhance all of these performing arts. OK, so the only thing you really enjoy is the movies and t.v. dramas because, well, that's make believe and there are all sorts of actions going on that you can relate to.

Perhaps a drama group is for you after all. But you'll need to make the first move and phone up or email or better still go see the group in action. If you've a friend take them along. Give it a shot.


How Can an Acting Workshop Help Overcome Shyness?

Because shyness - and anxiety to an extent - is very 'real' to those who experience it, drama can help take that reality into areas in which it can be released.You can begin almost immediately to learn about yourself through offering what you are to others. You may also have loads of fun along the way.


Meeting with other like minded people can be a form of relief! Shyness can sometimes mean that a person is alone for no good reason. Simply being with others can be a way to break down the barriers that sometimes hinder communication. Many drama sessions begin with easy to follow warm ups that, through physical movement and relaxation techniques, allow the body to express itself. Plus, there is no right or wrong in these activities so no one is going to judge you!

Learning About Yourself

No, this is not a way of massaging your ego, or a platform for you to show off (these can come later!). This is all about gradually opening up, helping yourself feel wanted and making up for lost opportunities. At this stage you should just go with the flow and not place any deadlines or goals of any kind for the future. If during your first few times with the group you feel you can't participate in certain activities tell the leader or teacher - I'm sure they will understand that you need a time out to gather your wits and just observe.


Sharing time with others in drama means you are offering your energy and personality in a positive way. Even simple things like a look, a small gesture, a movement can be highly significant and take on extra power. The way a person inhabits space by just being can provide all sorts of possibilities in drama. Out of all the performing arts drama is certainly the most inclusive because your personality alone can provide the talent.


Last Word

There's no doubt that shyness is increasing in younger people today for various social reasons. Most cope just fine and manage to keep buoyant and happy but for those who need help drama, with its emphasis on togetherness and trust, is a positive form of therapy.

I would advise anyone interested to contact their local drama groups and do a little research to find one that is suitable.


© 2012 Andrew Spacey


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