Holiday Gatherings Can Stir Social Anxiety :: Wral.Com

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Posted 5:09 p.m. ThursdayUpdated 5:28 p.m. Thursday

Raleigh, N.C. — Family gatherings and office parties are common events during the holiday season, but those who suffer from social anxiety can dread this time of year if they feel forced to attend events that make them feel uncomfortable.

Some people truly enjoy special gatherings around the holidays, but Cleveland Clinic psychologist Dr. Joseph Rock says, for others, they’re a source of great anxiety.

“If you think about them as, ‘I have to go, it’s critically important, and I have to perform and people have to like me,’ (then) that puts so much pressure on that. It just makes the anxiety worse,” Rock said.

Couples who are in new relationship during the holiday season can translate into meeting new people and worrying about first impressions.

Rock suggests doing things that have spurred relaxation in the past, like engaging in your favorite exercise, regular quiet time or practicing deep breathing exercises. A busier than normal schedule during the holidays can cause people to skip those relaxation routines, which can add to anxiety.

Experts advise those who suffer from anxiety to pick and choose which events to participate in and not feel obliged to attend every party or social gathering. But doctors advise people to not lock themselves away and avoid all social events. Rock said those gatherings can be easier for those who have a friend to bring along with them.

“If you can take somebody with you . . . it’s easier than when you walk into a place alone,” Rock said.

Copyright 2017 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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