A fear of social situations is something that many people experience to varying degrees. With the festive season in full swing, the sight of our calendars alone can be enough to raise heart rates- even for those that don’t suffer from social anxiety! But for those who do, this time of year can trigger anxiety galore. If you have experienced it before then you will likely know how restricting it can be, and how it can deter you from attending parties, celebrations and other social occasions.
My following tips are simple techniques that you can use during situations when you begin to feel anxious. They will not only help you in moments of immediate anxiety at this year’s Christmas parties, but can also help you to feel better equipped to happily attend future events. This is because you will be armed with the knowledge that you can overcome negative thoughts and feelings and focus on enjoying yourself instead.
Deep breathing is a great way to press the reset button on racing thoughts and anxious feelings. As you notice your anxiety appear, consciously breathe deeply from the very bottom of your lungs.
When you breathe in this way you will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which will slow your heart rate, alleviate tension in your muscles, and reduce other signs and symptoms of anxiety.
When you are busy with a task it becomes much more difficult for your anxiety to take hold. At any social gathering there will likely be something that you can do to busy your hands and your mind.
Ask the host if they could use some help or busy yourself with something else, such as making a phone call or preparing a plate of food for yourself. You can also use this time alone to engage in some deep breathing.
Reminding yourself through the use of positive affirmations that you are valued, you are interesting and that you have a lot to offer is a simple and effective way to ease anxiety in social situations.
You can look up some relevant affirmations, such as those below, or you can create your own!
‘I have a lot to offer the world and enjoy sharing my time and energy with others’
‘I am a confident person who radiates kindness’
‘I am relaxed, I am confident and I enjoy the company of others’