Welcome to Week 2 of our holiday series 🎁!
This week is all about learning new skills that can help you ease anxiety throughout the holidays.
Below you will find a list of skills and resources that has been found to be helpful in tackling social anxiety — all of them are things you can practice on your own and with others.
❤️ Practicing Self-Compassion
As we shared in this post, research shows that self-compassion can help with social anxiety by increasing our ability to regulate our nervous system and take more compassionate control of our mental health.
There are many ways to practice self-compassion but we created two exercises that take less than 5 minutes and can help with low mood or self-criticism:
- Quick self-compassion is an exercise that will teach you a simple thought experiment you can use to generate more compassion for yourself. CLICK HERE
- Inner Critic to Coach is exercise that will guide you to reframe a self-critical thought into a more supportive one. CLICK HERE
👀 Making Eye Contact & 🙂 Smiling
Making and maintaining eye contact can often be challenging when we feel anxious. It can feel really vulnerable and intense, particularly if we’re very concerned about how we might be perceived.
However, making eye contact can actually help us decrease anxiety because it allows to notice what the other person is feeling and challenge our negative assumptions. When we allow our anxiety to peak and see it through, it usually decreases naturally as we get more used to the situation.
So, here are some tips:
- Practice with a mirror at home
- Look into the other person’s eyes (or your eyes in the mirror) gently for 4 to 5 seconds before slowly looking away
- Instead of only looking directly into the eye, shift your gaze between the eye and mouth area
- Once you feel like you’re ready, please consider initiating small talk. Here are some icebreakers that you might helpful to start a conversation.
👂Active listening & 🪞Reflecting Back
When we worry about what the other person thinks of us or focus on our physical symptoms of anxiety, we might miss out on what the other person is saying. The skill of actively listening and reflecting back can help us focus our attention away from ourselves and on the other person which has been shown to reduce anxiety.
In order to practice active listening, try to stay present in the interaction and then try reflecting it back starting with phrases like:
- It seems that you are saying …
- What I hear you say is…
- It seems that you want to…
- Are you saying that… ?
To help you practice this before the holiday gatherings, we prepared a short audio clip where you will hear someone speaking about what they like to cook for 30 seconds.
Find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed, try to actively listen to them and then try to reflect it back using the phrases above. CLICK HERE.
We hope you find these helpful and something that you will find worth practicing at upcoming social events throughout the holidays.
Over the next few days we’re going to share a couple of real stories from our community talking about the things that help them ease anxiety during the holidays 🎄🎄🎄.