Coping with Social Anxiety and Stress During the Holidays
It's estimated that 15 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder. If the holiday season has elevated the social pressure and you think you might have social anxiety disorder, here are some things you can do to help alleviate your anxiety and put joy back into the season.
Realize that your automatic assumptions are likely inaccurate.
One thing I have noticed while treating people with social anxiety disorder is that they make inaccurate assumptions about what other people are thinking. You are your own toughest critic—not everyone else is being so hard on you! In fact, people are usually worried about themselves and how they are coming off, and they are not focused on you to the degree you think they are.
Challenge your negative thoughts.
Come up with a positive phrase you can repeat to yourself that can help you rationalize your negative thinking. For example, "No one knows I am feeling anxious. They do not know what I am thinking." Use this phrase while in public to control your anxiety.
Take a plus-one to help.
A trusted friend or spouse can help anyone feel better at an event—and you're guaranteed to have someone to talk to.
Resolve to get help.
Therapy can really help social anxiety, which is a very common problem in today's high-pressure society.
Guada Psychological Services