The holiday season can bring on a slew of stress factors for some people, to the point that they want to avoid holiday activities altogether. Though there are those who will choose to avoid holiday functions, not everyone has this option. There are ways, however, to help manage social anxieties and stresses when one finds themselves in these situations.
Is Stress And Social Anxiety The Same
Though stress and social anxiety are both emotional responses only stress itself is caused by an external trigger. Anxiety, on the other hand, is the persistent excessive worry that does not go away even when the stressor is absent.
How Do I Know If I Have Social Anxiety
Social anxiety is a fear that affects everyday activities, relationships, self-confidence, work life, and school life. People who struggle with social anxiety become overly worried before, during, and after these events take place. Social anxiety is a persistent type of stress that can happen even when the stressor is no longer in the equation.
A person with social anxiety can experience one or more of the following:
- They worry about everyday activities in life such as starting conversations, answering the phone, shopping, working, or having to interact with strangers.
- They worry or avoid social activities, group conversations, eating with groups, and parties.
- They worry about doing something embarrassing or appearing incompetent.
- They always feel as though they are being judged or watched by others.
- They fear criticism, avoid eye contact and deal with low self-esteem.
- They often have sick-like symptoms such as sweating, palpitations or nausea or just not feeling well.
- They can experience panic attacks
What Is It Like To Live With Social Anxiety
People who experience social anxiety live with certain consistent variables that make it challenging in everyday life. Many experience irrational fears because they are afraid to even tell anyone what they are dealing with. They feel a fear of being judged or rejected, or they simply do not want others to know the depth of what they deal with. This leads to being apprehensive, avoiding, and ultimately emotional pain.
For people with social anxiety, fear can cause those who experience this anxiety to avoid people and become introverted in the sense that they go ‘inside’ themselves as a way of protecting themselves. They freeze up when something becomes too overwhelming. The isolation they rest in makes them feel worse only increasing their fears and worry over people possibly making them feel depressed or outcasted.
Everyday life occurrences feel like foreboding giants that they want to run from. Something that seems simple to you like shopping for groceries is a nearly debilitating task for someone who experiences social anxiety.
Tips To Manage Social Anxiety
- Understanding your social anxiety is key in helping you through the experience of social anxiety. Seeing a psychologist can help determine if you deal with norms of social anxiety vs. having a social anxiety disorder.
- Journaling each day about your thought life can help you release the mental stress of social anxieties but also clue you into how you deal with social situations which can help you in finding ways of how to deal with them.
- Trying relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises throughout your day can relieve stress. It can also help you deal with challenging situations by giving you time for a break to gather yourself and work through what you are emotionally experiencing.
- Practice focusing on what people are saying vs. what you are thinking.
- A technique through functional medicine called Zone technique can also help reduce stress as well as provide physical and mental healing.
- Building a routine of coping mechanisms like journaling before social activities, having breathing technique ideas on hand during activities, and meditating after social functions can help you to process what you experience as well as provide you tools to work through your social anxiety.
We hope that whether it’s over the holidays or just any day in your life you can feel your best and know that you have the tools needed to help you in day-to-day situations.