It is New Year’s Eve you are at an office gathering. Watching and forcing a smile for everyone having fun, obviously, but you feel tired. Suddenly, someone tries to initiate a conversation with you, and you cannot think of an appropriate answer. He asks another question, and your answer is a dead end. You have completely no idea how to carry on the conversation. Your head starts throbbing, and your palms sweating. You hold your glass a little too tight in your hand, wishing why you didn’t just stay at your home. You would understand this phenomenon very well if you have an anxiety disorder. People who suffer from anxiety respond differently from others in certain situations while socializing. They find it difficult to blend in with others and are socially awkward in gatherings. A sociable person gains energy by meeting and communicating with others, while on the other hand, an anxious person is always overanalyzing every situation, pressurized by his racing thoughts. He will be drained of all his internal energy if he has to socialize with people for a few hours. Therefore, people with anxiety tend to avoid every encounter that could trigger their anxiety episode and cancel most of their plans that require socializing or playing a part of a happy-go-lucky person. Because it costs them peace of their mind and a lot more!
Reasons for Cancelling Plans
- You will understand this well if you are an anxiety patient. Sometimes, when you agree to go out with someone for a scheduled meeting, as time approaches, you start to panic. Looking at the watch repeatedly, anticipating and wishing that situation to vanish magically. Your thoughts become so haphazard, and that starts to irritate you like a bone-deep itch you cannot scratch, and you start to think of some excuse to cancel that plan.
- On a good day, you may manage well to put on your best fake smile and laugh with the people around you, but it is tough to endure if you are stressed about something. If you are going through a rough day, enjoying and having fun is hard because anxiety drains all your energy.
- Extroverts might enjoy going out and partying every chance they get, but if you suffer from anxiety, it is definitely not a piece of cake for you. You will worry too much about spoiling it for yourself because of your behavior and pass a negative vibe onto your group. Therefore, sometimes people refuse to join in because they do not want to burden their friends and family with their problems.
- People with anxiety are reluctant to come out of their comfort zone. They fear something that could go out of their control and will worry about how they will manage it. That is why they avoid all those things that seem out of their comfort zone.
What are some specific things that trigger your anxiety around canceling plans?As we are aware that people with anxiety hate to put themselves in situations that seem challenging. For example, they do not want to try a new crowded restaurant no matter how delicious the food is, or they will avoid meeting with people outside of their close friend circle because that requires putting a lot more effort than usual to gel in. It is just their perception of certain things that makes them so isolated and uneasy about getting along. It could be fear of saying or doing something that could make them a laughing stock in front of everyone. Or something terrible happened to them in their past that led them to live in such a predicament. Whenever they are presented with an opportunity to stretch their boundaries, flashbacks of previous events start playing in front of their eyes, and they begin to feel anxious and ultimately so no to that opportunity by giving in to that anxiety.
What helpful things do you tend to do when you’re anxious about canceling plans?
- You could try to talk it out with your colleagues and friends when you have to cancel a plan. Try to make them understand how you feel. Whatever it is, you need to put your mental health first.
- You must be well prepared for every possible situation that may present itself. If it is something, you must go through, such as an official seminar or something. Practice your speech thoroughly; try to talk to a friend or good colleague about it and keep him by your side if possible.
- If you feel a rush of anxiety anyway, take some low-dose medicine 2 hours before starting the event. It will help to calm down your dancing nerves so everything can go smoothly.
What are some tips for managing anxiety so that it doesn’t result in canceling plans?Adapting a few habits can help you cope with your anxiety symptoms and boost your low self-esteem.
- first and most important thing is to make yourself your first priority. Invest in yourself. Take care of your body and mind by treating yourself with enough attention.
- Adapt a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthy and on time. Avoid junk food or stress eating. (It is one thing to be stressed, but you don’t need to get fat too.)
- if you cannot help stress-eating, stock your kitchen closet with healthy snacks to munch on. Try to include foods rich in minerals and antioxidants in your meals because certain minerals such as magnesium and zinc can help you to stay calmer.
- Make a daily habit of exercising. Yoga and meditation can work wonders to help you eliminate your anxiety symptoms.
- You can also opt for social behavior therapy sessions for your anxiety. In this, your therapist would help you by talking to you individually and will make you join small therapy groups which include other people with identical symptoms, and you can speak to them about what bothers you and how you can manage such situations. Your psychologist will help you identify what type of anxiety you suffer from and proceed with the appropriate treatment according to your diagnosis.
- Minimize your daily caffeine intake. Quit smoking, alcohol, and other recreational drugs if you suffer from anxiety. These are all nervous stimulants and will add to your already overstimulated nerves when the stress is triggered.
- Avoid being alone all the time. Try spending time with positive people, whether friends, parents, or grandparents.
- Try a new hobby, such as reading positive books, gardening, knitting, volunteer work, or anything productive that helps you feel good about yourself. It will boost your self-esteem and make you feel organized.