Anxiety can be a massive hindrance when it comes to enjoying a party and this time of year can be a struggle, especially if you struggle with social anxiety.
I have never been an outgoing or particularly sociable person and so when I struggled with anxiety myself, it seemed that the simplest option was to avoid social events altogether.
When it comes to Christmas, there are often loads of invitations to parties that can get your heart racing. Office parties, family gatherings and Christmas parties for those you share a hobby with all come around once a year and can make the month of December very stressful indeed.
Here are some tried and tested tips to help make Christmas party season fun, even if you struggle with anxiety.
This may seem like an odd tip but arriving on time for a party or meal can be very beneficial if you don’t find socialising comfortable.
When you arrive on time you are usually there before most people who prefer to arrive fashionably late...
I used to watch the London Marathon most years with my Dad and for some reason got into my head that I wanted to run it some day, I have no idea why as running is NOT an activity that I enjoy...
Later I made it a goal that I would do the London Marathon before I was 30.
2014 was my first marathon attempt!
Unfortunately one week before the marathon my pony, Linford, decided to have a huge strop and crushed my big toe!!! When it happened I didn't realise the extent of the injury, after all it was just a toe right?
Jon drove me to Salisbury A&E as we figured we needed to know how bad it was and one Xray later we discovered a crush fracture of the end bone in my big toe and the fracture had compromised the joint.
I asked the consultant if there was any chance I could run on it and was met with a look of complete disbelief and the word "no".
All those hours of training and I spent the next few weeks walking around with this sexy footwear:
After the burn of 2014 I had...
The attitudes that you have about yourself, others and the circumstances around you have a huge impact on your ability to be happy.
if you have a calm and rational attitude to all of those things then it stands to reason that you will be able to deal with any problems that occur without an overly emotional response.
1: Understanding that you are responsible for your emotions...
if you have read any of my previous blogs then you will have noticed that I make a big deal about what you think. This is because our thoughts affect our feelings which in turn affect our actions.
By understanding that our thoughts affect our feelings in any situation, we can learn to control our emotions.
Bad things happen to everyone. When something bad happens, it is perfectly normal to have a negative emotional response to the situation.
If you are in a car crash or going through a divorce or have lost someone then it makes sense to have negative thoughts about the situation because they are negative...
Something that gets asked regularly in 1 to 1 session is:
"How can I learn to be confident when I have never felt it before?"
Good question right? how would that person know what it feels like!
In an ideal world when working with clients they are able to think back to a time when they felt confident. We can then use visualisation, meditation and self hypnosis tools to help build on that and improve their confidence.
For some people though, they tell me they have never felt it before so how are these people able to dramatically improve their confidence?
Discovering your confidence
if you have never felt confident before it can be tricky to imagine a future with confidence so as a therapist, I start with the basics.
Therapists are trained to ask very high quality and specific questions that are designed to help people consider themselves in a different way.
This means that I can find something that makes that person feel good about themselves.
If this describes...
Do you practice cognitive distortions?
The chances are that you do! most people do at some point in their lives but often people struggling with depression or anxiety practice cognitive distortions more than most.
What even are cognitive distortions??
A cognitive distortion is a thought that has a negative impact on your life and is often not true. There are a HUGE number of ways that we do this so I'm going to just focus on the most common distortions that I see regularly in treatment sessions.
But what if...?
Ah!! What if...?
Absolutely the most commonly used cognitive distortion that I have ever come across. My clients who want to learn to control their anxiety or depression almost ALWAYS tell me that this is something they do.
Here's how it goes:
Client: I get anxious about social situations, even with people I know.
Me: OK, what is going through your mind when you think about these situations?
Client: I'm thinking, What if they don't want me there? What if they think I'm too...
When we doubt our abilities we hold ourselves back so much!!
There are many reasons why we may have developed doubts in ourselves so here are some suggestions that I have found work with both myself and also my clients...
Stop comparing accomplishments with others.
Number one in my book is to stop comparing yourself to others. I didn't get my degree until I was 30 years old, most of my friends got their degrees at the "normal" age. It really didn't matter that I got mine at a different time because I did it when it was right for me.
By comparing yourself unfavorably with others, you are opening the doors to feelings of inadequacy.
Ultimately everyone is on their own journey through life and will have ups and downs just like you so focus on what works best for you!!
Decide not to give a stuff what other people think.
This is hard to do but is so important for overcoming self doubt. Generally we worry what people think because we are scared of being judged.
Decide you don't give a...
Whenever I go to networking events or present my work to people always get asked the same question:
What is your number one confidence tip then?
Sometimes this can be a bit annoying, of course I can compress years of learning, personal and professional experience into one sound byte for you...
BUT, I do have a pretty smart arse answer...
That's right, my number one tip for confidence is to develop self awareness. Not necessarily what people are expecting.
There are a huge number of reasons why self-awareness will be beneficial to your confidence so I am going to present my top three reasons why you should work on it!
By the way, Self-awareness has to be done carefully with as little judgement and emotion as possible. Think of yourself as a kind assessor that can only give constructive feedback on your personal set of pros and cons.
Have you ever had someone react to something you have said or done in a way you...
I talk about anxiety a lot obviously because that is a big part of what I do!!
I'm going to recap some stuff about anxiety but I'm also going to talk about some of the deeper issues that anxiety can cause because it is quite a difficult thing to deal with an ongoing basis, people actually can develop quite severe issues if anxiety is not dealt with.
I'm also going to talk through some different anxiety disorders as well and give you a very brief overview of what they are.
Anxiety is the fear of a future event as to why we have that fear depends on the person, depends on the situation and depends on whether or not there's been a past issue.
It also depends on whether or not the person with anxiety is lacking in the personal self belief and their confidence to take on new things or situations.
Our perspective on a future event is also key to anxiety and I have talked extensively in workshops about how thoughts lead to feelings which lead to certain actions.
The syndrome is one that I have been aware of before and have struggled with myself in the past so I know from personal experience what it takes to deal with it.
Despite studying anxiety and psychology extensively, I still occasionally catch my negative thoughts saying "why on earth would people listen to you?".
Not what you need when you are about to hit the stage!!
What is Impostor Syndrome?
Put simply it is the overriding feeling that you have achieved where you are by luck and could be found out at any moment as a fraud.
This can be in the work place, as a parent or even as a student.
It was originally thought that women were more affected than men however, more recent studies have found that gender doesn't have any impact on how likely an individual is to develop it.
As such a wide range of people struggle with impostor syndrome, believing that their accomplishments are not down to their own successes in life.
Do I have Impostor Syndrome?
How do you know if you have...
Understanding your anxiety
One of the first things I discuss with clients is how their anxiety works. Almost straight way they will say "I know it's stupid but...." and then go on to describe their anxiety to me.
This assessment of their anxiety as "stupid" shows me two things. One, the person in front of me is aware that the anxiety they are feeling is illogical. Two, they think that diminishing it or dismissing it will make it go away.
Wrong on both counts.
Anxiety is not stupid as this blog will be aiming to demonstrate and to get a grip of anxiety you need to UNDERSTAND it...
What is Anxiety?
Put simply, anxiety is a fear of a future event.
This fear can occur because of previous experiences that have been negative, a new experience that you can't control or an experience that is normally fine but somehow you suddenly become scared of it going wrong.
Anxiety is both a mental and physical condition. The mental aspect in anxiety is the mental fear of something and this...