institute.html). Zimbardo, of course, also has a huge Positive
Psychology Program which I discuss in the beginning of the next
l) is offered by Queendom. You can also find places to socialize online
newsgroups to consider, such as alt.support.shyness.
Zimbardo sees shyness, extreme or mild, as an enormous social
problem. Some countries, such as China, do not raise nearly as many
shy children as we do in the US. We must remember that in addition to
genes, shyness is partly a result of societal pressure to be successful,
to be beautiful, to be competitive and to impress others. These
pressures don't have to be there. Our shyness or passivity may also be
subtly encouraged by parents, schools, and society to insure that
children are "manageable," obedient, submissive--kept in "their place."
As a result, however, we--as children and adults--come to feel
unimportant, powerless, ineffective, passive-dependent, and even
defective, which increases our isolation from family, friends,
neighbors, and perhaps from all humanity. Shyness reduces our
sharing, caring, and loving one another. It increases our loneliness,
being picked on, losses due to hesitation, and other social problems.
That's serious. Let's help shy children (Zimbardo & Radl, 1981 and
Fortunately, exposure in vivo, social skills training, and cognitive
techniques have all been shown to help social phobias. Actually a
combination of cognitive group therapy followed by exposure in vivo
seems to work best (Scholing & Emmelkamp, 1993). Why aren't these
approaches used in school?
Insomnia and burnout
If we are stressed, sleep is frequently disturbed. About 35% of
Americans have had sleep difficulties during the last year. Perhaps
10% (women twice as much as men) suffer prevalent insomnia, i.e. at
least 14 difficult nights in the last 6 months. It is estimated that 3%
oversleep. The situation is complicated by the fact that 45% of under
and over-sleepers also have an emotional disorder, especially anxiety
or depressive disorders. About 8% of us each year use drugs to sleep,
taking 600 tons of sleeping pills annually. That is enough to put all of
us to sleep for 8 days!