As we enter the holiday season with all of the holiday parties starting up, I’ve been reflecting on something interesting that happened this past summer…
I wanted to reconnect a group of friends from my past and have everyone over for a barbeque and bonfire. Some of these friends I hadn’t seen in over 15 years, and I was really excited when they all said that they would come. One by one they showed up. It was so great to see my friends faces again and reminisce with each one of them individually and in a group setting.
We got caught up on each other’s careers, personal life, goals and aspirations. It was lovely, and here’s the interesting part; as the night progressed and our conversations became less superficial, one of my friends confessed her social anxiety and told us that it had built up so much before coming that she was actually going to bail. The moment she said this, 2 more of my friends nearly jumped out of their chair and said the same thing! They were each dreading the awkwardness they anticipated feeling. They all shared stories about their social anxiety in life and how so often they just duck out of events, coffees, parties, etc. so they don’t have to deal with it. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. These beautiful, strong, confident women seem so fearless in life. They all appear to be so extraverted with exceptional social skills. You would never guess that they ever felt insecure in social settings.
I realized that I had no idea just how common social anxiety truly is. Of course, I have definitely felt it too from time to time, but when I did, I always thought it was just me. I never realized that maybe everyone else at these parties, or get togethers, might be having the same inner-weirdness too, where their ego is also overthinking the situation. I found this incredibly shocking, and at the same time, it reminded me how much I love these women. That evening, we were easily able to put our masks down and just be real together.
If you consider yourself a sufferer of social anxiety, please take comfort in knowing just how much company you really have all around you. And just knowing this will hopefully be enough for you to be compassionate with yourself and find it a bit easier to ignore any social discomfort. You are simply a normal human experiencing normal emotions (that apparently nearly everyone feels!). It’s our ego-mind that thinks us into the state of anxiety with unproductive thoughts that make something out of nothing. And we all have an ego. And let me tell you, as I lessened my ego, I lessened the occurrences of feeling social anxiety considerably.
Here are some tips to help you simmer the hype of the ego and reinvest your energy into making your holidays warm and full of celebration:
10 Tricks To Get Over Holiday Social Anxiety
1. Get out and Socialize
Get out there and socialize as much as possible, desensitize your ego to social situations by exposing yourself to them regularly. Challenge yourself to try new things, attend gatherings and events where you don’t know anyone at all!
2. Enter Without Thought
Jump right in. When you enter into social settings Enter Without Thought. Don’t think your way through them. Be present and release yourself into the natural forward flow of the evening.
3. Forget About Yourself
Relieve yourself of any responsibility to sound great or be great. Instead, take the passenger seat. Be curious about others. Ask questions to learn more about people and their lives. Forget all about yourself and just focus on allowing the stories of others to entertain you.
4. Stop Trying So Hard
Humour yourself. Social anxiety comes on when we take life too seriously. Relax and stop trying so hard. Laugh at any awkwardness and just be amused by the moments as they unfold.
5. Forward Thinking Thoughts
Instead of letting thoughts get pre-stuck about a social event coming up – shift to forward-thinking thoughts instead, stream your attention into the big picture of life and the forward motions to living your best life. Skip over the event in your mind. For example, if your work party is Dec 28th, rather than having your thoughts pool around that day, direct your thoughts to what you are going to do Dec 29th to make your life better. Remember, what you focus on expands 😉
6. Live Life
Just do it. Don’t back out and cave to the anxiety. Push through it and become bigger than it. Face it head-on and live life as you would if you didn’t have social anxiety at all.
7. Practice Living
Practice living in unity. Keep in mind, more people than you realize are also googling this article and reading up on how to deal with their social anxiety – maybe even other people that are attending the very same party as you! So do your best to be inclusive with everyone.
Meditate to lessen anxiety. Let your breath be louder than your thoughts. We have a great free meditation to help relieve social anxiety on our app! Click here to download for free!
9. Help Other With Their Anxiety
As soon as we start helping others, we get to move beyond our own problems and issues. Helping others with their “heads” literally takes us out of our own head and it also gives us a nice boost of oxytocin (that happy-connection hormone) at the same time! Not to mention, helping others, helps others.
10. Fake It Til You Make It
Disguise yourself in confidence until it seeps deep into your skin and becomes what you’re made of. You can do it! You are already ego-lessly reinventing yourself at this very moment. Let your social-cheer shine brighter these holidays and bring your new year in with the warmth of connection.