The festive period can be a time when we have more social gatherings where we are having to mix with people that we don't really know very well or that we don't feel like we can be ourselves around. So we go into this time of year with a little (or a lot) of social anxiety about how we are going to survive these events and we can just be wanting for them to be over.
But there is a downside to this in that we are wasting our time away. So instead of wishing it away, I want to give you some tips to help you not only look forward to the events but also how to enjoy yourself and overcome those feelings of anxiety.
1. Be interested, not interesting.
Before going to an event we can fall into that mindset where we are thinking we aren't interesting enough, not smart enough, what will I say, will they like me. But the issue we have with this is it is focused on us so channel your focus outwards. At any event rather than thinking about what you have to say, flip it and think about how you can make other people feel listened to. Ask them lots of questions, be genuinely interested to know more about them. Go with the aim that everyone will leave having a feeling that you are lovely yet they may not know that much about you. People don't always remember what you say but they will always remember how you made them feel. Also I love this quote "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak." Epictetus.
2. Set your intentions
Before the event, ask yourself some questions and even better if you write the answers down. What do I want to get out of attending this event? How do I want to be? How do I want to feel? What do I want people to remember me for? Notice that these questions take you out of the thought processes that fuel your social anxiety and get you into a way of thinking that will help you get into a more positive way of thinking. Also when you know what you want to achieve and how you want to feel, try imagining it in your mind. Play it out like a movie in your mind.
3. Strike a pose
How we hold our body has a direct effect on the way that we feel. So if we want to change the way we feel, we need to change the way we hold ourselves. Notice that when we feel socially uncomfortable we may have a clenched jaw, hunched shoulders, head down, a washing machine in our stomach. So instead try a power pose. This is where you stand like a superhero with your hands on your hips, standing tall, legs slightly wide and your head and eyes facing upwards. Keep this pose for 2 minutes and notice what happens. So remember if you want to change how you feel, look for how you can change something in your body.
4. Pick a mantra
Did you know you can only have one thought at a time? Try it, try to think of more than one thing at a time? See we cannot do it. So if you find your mind is in a negative loop, swap it for an empowering mantra. Something that you can say over and over to yourself to stop the negative chatter from having any room to speak. Now I have one that I have used thousands of times before. "I like myself, I love myself, I am enough" Over and over I have said it to boost my confidence and to quieten the negative thoughts. You don't need to say them out loud and that's perfect for when you pop to the ladies to get yourself in that right frame of mind.
5. Dress to Impress
Now I don't so much mean dress to impress everyone else but if you want to feel good then wear something that makes you feel good. The last thing we want to do when attending any social gathering is be fussing with our clothes that feel right. Earlier this year I had a colour and style session with Jill Clarke at Styled in Colour and she helped me to know what colours to wear and what clothes best suited my shape and personality. Now I know what to wear and what makes me look good, which without a doubt makes me feel more confident. So when you think about what you are going to wear, think how will this make me feel? You want to pick something that makes you feel good otherwise that could have an impact on feeding your feelings of anxiety.
Just remember - be yourself, be you. There is something unique about you and that's what makes you special. So try out these tips and notice how different those events are compared to how you they normally would be. Also remember practice makes perfect so the more we try out these tips the easier social gatherings become and you never know, you may actually start to look forward to them and enjoy them. Please do let me know how you found these tips and indeed how your social events go over the festive season.
Want to feel better in 2018? This week I am super excited as I have launched my brand new coaching deck with 44 coaching questions that I have designed specifically to help build self belief, self compassion and self love. We used these last week in our Women that Flourish Challenge and we got some amazing results. To check them out visit www.trishabarker.com/shop.