‘Tis the season to be riddled with anxiety? Let’s beat the Christmas stress.
Anxiety affects between 2-5% of the population.
According to MIND, one in four adults feel anxious about social occasions during the festive period. Not to mention, the extra demands at Christmas can feel overwhelming.
Anxiety UK CEO Nicky Lidbetter says: “Anxiety is extremely common and at its worst can be incredibly disabling. Therefore, it’s important that those living with anxiety seek early help and that treatment interventions offered are acceptable and accessible”.
Here are Nicky’s tips for beating the Christmas stress.
If you feel your anxiety building before a social occasion, try taking slow deep breaths; calmly inhaling for 4 seconds through your nose, then exhaling for the same via your mouth. Studies show practising a breathing technique can stimulate the part of the nervous system responsible for relaxation, helpful in reducing anxiety.
Try a herbal remedy
Valerian root extract has been used for centuries as a trusted sleep aid due to its herbal sedative effect. This soothing ingredient can be found in Kalms Night One-A-Night Capsules, used to relieve sleeplessness. Unlike some sleep remedies, Kalms Night One-A-Night won’t leave you feeling drowsy the next day
Take a mindful moment
Mindfulness -is the practice of being present in the moment and noticing our feelings, body, thoughts and environment. It has been found to improve mental wellbeing and be beneficial for anxiety. Being mindful can be as simple as paying more attention to things we touch, see, smell and hear, rather than being caught up in our whirring thoughts. Instead of paying attention to unhelpful thoughts like ‘what if I forget what I wanted to say’, try taking a mindful moment instead. This could be listening to the person you’re talking to with all your attention. This will help you focus on them rather than your anxious thoughts. Visit NHS Choices for an introduction to mindfulness.
Know your triggers
Knowing what exacerbates your anxiety is an important step in addressing the issue. In social situations is it talking in a group, one to one, meeting new people? Often, we avoid situations that make us feel anxious – but this is counterproductive and can make our fears worse. Facing what we’re worried about can help alleviate the anxious feelings – initiating that conversation you’d otherwise avoid may lead to a positive experience instead, boosting your confidence for next time.
Time to talk
Sharing your worries with a trusted family member or friend can make them seem less daunting and help you realise you’re not alone. Many people feel the familiar dread of social anxiety and feelings of shyness. If your social anxieties feel difficult to cope with, you could turn to anxiety support organisations for advice in times of need.