Thanksgiving and holiday season is finally here. For most people, this can be the most anticipated time of the year. However, for those suffering from social anxiety, thanksgiving can represent everything but fun.
Today we will share a couple of tips for you to identify it, and feel at your best during the holidays!
What is Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety is a psychological disorder that affects up to 15 million Americans.
The condition causes people to avoid common, everyday situations and even other people for fear of being judged or criticized or humiliated or embarrassing themselves.
Some signs of Social Anxiety include:
- Fear of situations in which you may be judged
- Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
- Intense fear of interacting or talking with strangers
- Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
- Fear of physical symptoms that may cause you embarrassment, such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
- Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
- Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
- Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
- Enduring a social situation with intense fear or anxiety
- Spending time after a social situation analyzing your performance and identifying flaws in your interactions
- Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation
*** We highly recommend you to ask for medical advice if you notice more than 4 of the signs mentioned above.
Tips to Ease Social Anxiety During Thanksgiving
The following tips will help you keep your Social Anxiety manageable. However, this does not substitute, by any means, professional medical advice.
Planning ahead for the situations that you might face is a great way to be prepared. Think about suitable topics or questions that you can ask that will help you ease the moment. Additionally practicing some form of meditation or relaxation exercises is a great way to ease stress and worry.
Tip: Practicing deep breathing can be great too. A useful breathing exercise for anxiety is to take a breath in, slowly, maybe counting to five, and to feel the air fill your belly. Then, release the breath just as slowly, feeling first your belly and then your chest deplete completely. Repeat this a few times, until the tension in your body eases a little, and you feel more relaxed.
Giving yourself a task to do can be a great way to relieve pressure and social bustle. Decorate desserts, arrange the table, or even check on the turkey to place your focus on something else. Additionally, practicing selfless activities is good to activate the ventrial stratium (brain region connected to the sense of happiness and reward).
Shifting your mindset from being anxious to be excited is a great way to manage your emotions. According to different studies from Harvard University, it is easier to change from a state of anxiety to a state of excitement than to a state of peace. The reason for it is the intensity of the emotions. Anxiety and excitement share the same level of power. So switching your thoughts from feeling anxious to feeling excited can be a key to feeling better.
Most of us have fallen in the trap of being supercritical with ourselves. So why not shift our mentality to embrace kindness. Many times we give grace to everyone but ourselves. If you experience a moment of anxiousness during your holidays, it is okay to take a break. Leave the room and go outside for a moment, take a deep breath and then return to the festivities.
Keep in mind that the main reason for the season is to be grateful, so why not start with being grateful for ourselves?
Remember, you are loved, you are seen. Make yourself your own priority!
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