The holidays are upon us and many of us need to manage anxiety to find some holiday happiness. One of the most common stressors is holiday parties. Chatting with co-workers and neighbors, exchanging gifts, or being in large crowds can be extremely stressful for some.
What many people don’t know about me is that even though I appear very social and I have very good social skills, by nature I am an introvert. I would rather be home with a good book than at a party. You can use the below tips to help you manage anxiety at the next holiday party. I use them myself (no joke) to have a great time when I go out.
Use these 5 Easy Tips to Manage Anxiety at the next Gathering.
Tip #1: Open Focus. If you find you are in your head before you leave for the party this mean you need to manage anxiety. What I mean by this is you might be rehearsing what you are going to say (this is a common one.. it is not just you who does this), you might be predicting what the party will be like, etc. These are anxious thoughts.
When you are mulling the party over in your head like this you are increasing the use of high beta, anxiety brain speed. This will make you more anxious and could cause you to tip into a depressed state. Use this simple trick to get out of your head and literally bring down the speed that your brain is performing at. I call it “Open Focus”. Instead of thinking about the party, become fully aware of what is happening in your present. Listen to the music you have on, feel the hair dryer as you get ready, etc. Notice, notice, notice your surroundings.
Tip #2: There is No “In-Crowd”. When you walk into a party,many times people’s brain will make them think that everybody in the party is one big happy collective that they don’t fit into. This is not true. Remember this. Each and every person in the party is just like you. They are hesitant and wonder what other people are thinking about them. Fortunately for your mental sake, people are worried about themselves, not you. Just realize it. It is not about you. Now you can relax.
Tip #3: Ask, Don’t Tell to Decrease Stress. Since it is not about you, you can use ice-breakers to engage people in conversations about themselves and add a little tidbit about yourself when you are comfortable or if you want to. I do this all the time when I am out. I ask people this, “How do you spend your time?” They will automatically reply with something they care about and off the conversation goes. If I want to keep it going, I ask more questions or share about myself. Stress goes way down for you when your conversational partners is doing all the talking. Wah lah! Watch the video below to see what happened last time I used this tip… Too Funny.
Tip #4: Lay Off the Booze. Many people have a drink or two or three to decrease anxiety while attending holiday parties. I am guilty of it once or twice in the past. Don;t do it. First of all, it can end in disaster because inevitably you will eat and drink while at the party and you might over drink. Alcohol makes stress worse most times. Fining better strategies, like those listed above is a better solution. I make it into a game. You will get a kick out off it.
Tip #5: Don’t do the things that stress you out the most. I do not like having to go around a room of people I barely know and say goodbye. I feel compelled to every time we go to a party. But alas, I find it very stressful. So, if you know me and you actually noticed, which I doubt (refer back to #2) I just leave parties without saying goodbye. My husband likes doing it, so he works the room with goodbyes and I sneak out. It makes me feel better about the whole thing.
Can’t Use The Tips to Manage Anxiety?
If you are not able to use these tips to manage anxiety then you might need more help.
Dr. Trish Leigh has created an online course designed to teach you about how your brain works and how you can use strategies to make your brain work better. It is called Harness Your Brain. Dr. Trish Leigh always says #controlyourbrainoritwillcontrolyou. Check it out now.
At Leigh Brain & Spine, Dr. Trish Leigh’s professional office, she and her hubbie, Dr. Cosmas Leigh serve people through Neurofeedback Therapy. Neurofeedback is proven by science to reduce anxiety in the brain and help you feel and perform better. If you want to know more visit the Leigh Brain & Spine website for more info.