Christmas is the most social time of year for many; it is an excuse for distant relatives to come together and friends who live far away to make the journey home. This means over Christmas we tend to receive an influx of invitations to parties, drinks and other social gatherings.
For some, this makes it an incredibly stressful time. Meeting new people and putting pressure on ourselves to be witty and charming can bring the best of us out in a cold sweat. If these feelings are causing you to worry and even cancel on people, the following tips could help.
1. Fix your physical feelings
Social anxiety often comes with physical symptoms, including: sweating, increased heart rate and shaking. It is these symptoms that tend to stop us from doing the things we are afraid of. If we can manage these feeling we are more likely to push ourselves to do the thing that scares us. So, while you may think that extra shot of espresso will keep you on-point, caffeine is more likely to intensify these physical feelings. Instead try aerobic exercise, yoga and/or meditation to help lower anxiety levels and regulate your breathing.
2. Fix your way of thinking
The next step to take is to look at your thoughts and how they are affecting you. If the running commentary in your head is negative, you’re likely to feel more anxious. Challenge the way you’re thinking and ask yourself – what is the worst that could happen? Even if you make a silly comment or spill a glass of wine – is it really the end of the world? Another helpful exercise is to visualise yourself in a social situation and handling it with ease.
3. Fix your actions
The more you do something, the better you will get at it. This relates to many things in life, including being social. The more you get out there over the holidays, meeting new people and chatting to others, the easier you’ll find it. You may also benefit from attending a workshop or assertiveness training course to help refine your social skills.
View and comment on the original Best Health article.