Social Anxiety is often worse at Christmas for sufferers.
‘Tis the party season but for those with Social Anxiety, it’s the time of year that makes them sick with worry.
Spare a thought though for those that just the thought of an upcoming social event can bring about feelings of panic and torment. Suffers of ‘Social Anxiety’ often feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts and suffer panic like symptoms physically and mentally inside their heads they are consumed by self torment and doubt about how they will behave and how they will be perceived by others.
So how can someone already fearing the silly season embrace the silly season without wanting to hide under the covers until the New Year? Don’t worry though, help is at hand and with help you can navigate your way through the upcoming festive season. Here are five top tips to reset your social anxiety.
1) Face your attention outwards rather than looking internally and concentrating on your own thoughts and physical reactions
Action: make a mental note of at least two things about your external situation, such as what the other person is wearing, the colours of the decorations, what other peoples expressions are or the sounds in the room.
2) Challenge your associations. There are many ways that people learn to associate an event with a fear response, and the more a situation is avoided or thought of with terror, the more the association builds.
Action: Relax somewhere comfortable and just imagine a situation that you are dreading, but this time imagine what it would be like if it was better than you could have imagined. Run it through you mind, whilst smiling and relaxing and you can break these associations.
3) Recognise that your anxiety is not who you are. Your anxiety is a the habit that has formed from feeling anxious in certain situations and the habit of responding in the way you keep doing. Action: when you think about an upcoming event you are fearing, try to get a sense of where you feel it in your body and give it a name or a colour. Then you can start to see your anxiety for what it is. Challenge yourself by asking what lies this habit has it being trying to convince you of.
4) Care less about what others think of you. Don’t stop caring altogether, but spend less time in fear of what we imagine they must be thinking. The fear is your imagination, which is something you can learn to control. In reality we may be able to influence what others think of us sometimes but we can’t control it.
Action: Think about what your worst case scenario at a feared event would be, and then imagine that was happening to someone else. How would you think about them, would you be kinder than you are being to yourself?
5) Master some simple relaxation techniques. such as breathing exercises, muscle relaxation and self hypnosis so that you are returning your body to a calmer state and can face your fears in a relaxed state, seeing them more clearly.
For further information on how to combat your anxiety, talk to your GP or contact Gilly Steer at A Weight Off Your Mind, a registered practitioner with CNHC and an Approved Therapist with Anxiety UK on 07980 803702. Or you can visit the CNHC website for a list of registered practitioners www.cnhc.org.uk or Anxiety UK https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk.