Up to 10% of us may have social anxiety disorder, and for those people the Christmas and New Year period provides a great deal of stress. However whilst worries about finances, relationships, or arrangements are shared across people as a whole, those with social anxiety disorder can find their worries debilitating.
People with social anxiety disorder also tend to have an aversion to large groups and crowds. This doesn’t just affect their attending parties and social gatherings, but also makes shopping difficult for them as shops become busier in the run up to Christmas.
Avoidance, attractive though it may seem, is not the answer for those with social anxiety disorder. In fact avoidance will normally make the anxiety worse. This is a condition that requires and responds to therapy but there are a couple of practical techniques that can help if you’re affected over Christmas and New Year.
The first is to involve a supportive friend in the social event. This could be accompanying you throughout the night or being available for you if you want to discuss your thoughts or anxieties. The second technique is to shift your focus from your internal reactions by becoming involved in running the event, or by helping the host. This can be enough to help some people break their unwanted fixation on their reactions and what they see as their inadequacies.