Anxiety is very common – and shyness and social anxiety are ways in which it manifests itself. It is common to try to deal with anxiety by avoiding situations that feel like they are causing these feelings. Avoidance may feel like it gives temporary relief, but in fact it makes the problem increasingly worse. Skipping lectures and seminars, or avoiding social situations, can have a significant effect on your studies, wellbeing and general university experience.

It is always advisable to let your personal tutor or course leader know if you are having difficulties affecting your studies – they are there to help, and can offer useful advice and support. Consult your GP if you are feeling persistently low, or if your difficulties are significantly affecting your daily functioning.

Of course, the nature of the problem might make it feel particularly difficult to approach others for support. However, you can learn skills to help you deal better with social anxiety, and there's a lot of other support available.

Library books

The University library has copies of the following books which could be useful:

  • Butler, G - Overcoming Social Anxiety and Shyness - 616.852250651/BUT
  • Forsyth, JP & Eifert, GH - The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety - 616.8914/FOR
  • Harris, R - The Confidence Gap - 150.198/HAR
  • Jeffers, S - Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - 158.2/JEF
  • Kennerley, H - Overcoming Anxiety - 616.85220651/KEN
  • Meares, K - Overcoming Worry - 616.890651/MEA
  • Orsillo, S M & Roemer, L - The Mindful Way through Anxiety - 616.8914/ORS
  • Williams, C, Dr - Overcoming anxiety, stress, and panic: a five areas approach - 616.852206/WIL

Other resources

If you would like to research more around the topic of anxiety, the Student Wellbeing Service can recommend the following self-help resources:

CBT self-help workbooks

From a well regarded Australian site, these popular downloadable CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) workbooks provide clear, easy to read information along with short exercises and activities to learn and apply skills for tackling common issues. Choose from:

Visit website

NHS booklets on anxiety

Here you'll find links to a series of booklets providing information and self-help activities for issues such as shyness and social anxiety, as well as stress, anxiety, panic, obsessions and compulsions, sleep, anger and health anxiety.

Visit website

Shyness and Social Phobia

Royal College of Psychiatrists leaflet for anyone who finds shyness a problem, or who suffers from a social phobia. Focusing on types of social anxiety and possible causes, it offers ways forward, including self help, psychological and medical treatments.

Read leaflet

Social Anxiety UK

A volunteer-led organisation containing information, online forums and chat-rooms.

Visit website


Comprehensive, free online resource which provides information about common emotional problems and practical help in treating them, with a range of strategies and exercises and an online workbook to track progress and record experiences. Includes a specific programme for social anxiety.

Visit website

Other self-help resources

Take a look at our other self-help resources.