The holiday season is all around! The Christmas bells are about to ring.
The holidays may include shopping, family traditions, and holiday parties. People are most likely well into their most socially-active time of the year. It is the happiest time of the year. But for many, it may be a time of stress and social anxiety.
If you struggle with social anxiety, the idea of walking into a crowded office party, traveling to see family and friends or attending large gatherings may produce intense anxiety and fear. The thought of family social gatherings may seem overwhelming, and the increase in your social engagements over the holidays may be a source of trepidation and dread.
Social anxiety disorder is the second most prevalent problem in adults. Attending large gatherings can produce intense feelings of anxiety and fear. A survey suggests that almost 45% of the respondents dread the festive season. If you suffer from social anxiety, check buydiazepamuk to get your desired authentic medication.
Let’s delve into self-help strategies for managing social anxiety.
Learn About Anxiety
Learning about anxiety helps you understand what happens when you feel uncomfortable in various social situations. People with social anxiety fear different social situations, like talking to co-workers at a holiday party. You may experience physical stress symptoms like blushing, sweating, or increased heart rate.
Get to know your social anxiety. Identify which situations cause you fear and anxiety and what you physically experience in such situations. It may help to write these things down. When you clearly understand it, it will be much easier to manage your anxiety.
To better observe social anxiety, make a chart having three columns: date, anxiety symptoms, and situation. Use this chart to track the social situations that cause stress and anxiety and what you experience in such social situations.
Learn How to Relax
Feeling anxious may be very uncomfortable. By learning to relax, you may reduce the volume of the physical symptoms of anxiety, making it easier to face social situations. Two strategies might be beneficial:
Calm breathing helps us calm down quickly. You tend to breathe faster when you are anxious. Steady breathing makes you feel dizzy and lightheaded, which may make you even more nervous. Calm breathing is taking slow, regular breaths through your nose. It is vital to realize that the goal of controlled breathing is to make it easier to wipe out the feelings in social situations, not eliminate anxiety because anxiety is not dangerous. It’s normal to feel anxious at times.
Another beneficial strategy involves learning to relax your body. It intends to tense various muscles and then relax them. This strategy may help lower overall tension and stress levels, which may contribute to anxiety problems.
People with social anxiety have negative thoughts about themselves and what may happen in social situations.
Common examples are:
- I will say something stupid.
- I will do something foolish, and other people will laugh!
- I don’t know what to say.
- I’m not as bright/attractive as others.
- No one will talk to me.
- I will be anxious, and people will notice it.
- People will think I’m boring.
- I will make a mistake, and people will think I am stupid.
If you firmly believe that social situations are threatening or dangerous, you are more likely to feel anxious. However, it is essential to understand that your thoughts are merely guesses about what will happen, not facts. People with social anxiety tend to overestimate the extent of danger in social gatherings. Therefore, developing more realistic ways of thinking in managing anxiety during your holidays is essential. But before you start changing your thought pattern, you need to identify the thoughts you have in social situations.
To become aware of your specific fears:
- Identify your thoughts whenever you feel anxious or have the urge to avoid or escape a situation.
- Suppose it’s challenging to write down your views while in trouble; then try to write just before you enter the scene or immediately after you leave the situation.
- Repeat this exercise.
The next step is to learn to evaluate the negative thoughts. Remember, your thoughts are guesses about what may happen, not facts. Ask yourself whether your thoughts are facts and whether they are helpful. If they are not, try and identify more accurate and valuable thought patterns.
By evaluating the negative thought pattern, you may realize that some of the things you fear are unlikely to happen or that if something does happen. It is not as bad as you think, and you are strong enough to cope. Try and practice evaluating your anxious thoughts by first writing them and identifying more realistic ways of thinking.
Face Your Fears
Avoiding fearful social situations is an effective strategy because it reduces anxiety in the short term. However, avoiding social problems heightens your fear in the long run because it prevents you from learning that your expectations are either unlikely to happen or maybe not as bad as you think. Therefore, an essential step in managing social anxiety is to face the situations you want to avoid due to social fears. Repeatedly facing such situations lessens distress in the long term and builds up confidence.
Make a list of all the social situations you fear over the holidays. Once you have a list, arrange them from the least scary to the scariest. Starting with the least frightening situation, repeat the activity or face that social situation, like engaging in a conversation with a person you’ve never talked to at work until you begin to feel less anxious doing it. Once you face the situation without experiencing anxiety (on numerous occasions), move on to the following condition on the list.
Other Self-Help Strategies
- Plan ahead. Take a few hours to organize your schedule and to-do list for the coming weeks. When you write everything down and develop a plan, you can help manage feelings of fear of the unknown.
- Find your support system. Talk to and spend time with people you trust, whether that is family, friends, faith communities or people who have also experienced similar anxiety. If you’re nervous about attending a large holiday gathering, take that person with you for support and companionship.
- Make time for self-care. Even though the holiday season can be busy, try to make time for yourself and your mental health. Even just a few minutes every day to practice self-care strategies can help manage symptoms of anxiety. Therapies with scientific evidence for effectiveness with anxiety disorders include relaxation training, exercise, self-help books based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and meditation.
- Ask for help. Remember that it’s okay to feel anxious and ask for help. Various health professionals can provide additional support and resources, including primary care physicians, mental health professionals, certified peer specialists and psychiatrists. If you don’t know how to begin, talk to your primary care physician about how you feel.
- Avoid Overdoing the Alcohol. Though alcohol may be a seemingly effective tool to gain a little liquid courage, alcohol often heightens anxiety and panic, plus it can leave you feeling even more out of control by the end of the night. It‘s best to drink in moderation.
People with social anxiety focus on themselves during social situations, making them feel even more anxious. When socializing, pay attention to what others are doing or saying.
While social anxiety prevents us from being wholly comfortable in the entire social situation the holidays thrust upon us, the best thing is there are several ways to overcome this anxiety.