December 1, 2016 • Volume 9, Issue 53 • Subscribe to Hope & Harmony Headlines
Social Anxiety & The Holidays
The holiday season often brings invitations to socialize. If the thought of attending an office party or neighbor’s open house triggers discomfort or downright panic, a tiny signaling molecule in the brain called Urocortin-3 may be to blame.
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich looked at social behavior in mice, who have a stress response system similar to ours. They found that mice with high levels of Urocortin-3 readily interacted outside their usual group. When Urocortin-3 activity was blocked, the mice avoided contact with the strangers.
In mice and humans, the brain has to negotiate a balance between social signals and emotional response when we encounter others of our kind.
“Most social contact involves a certain level of social stress or anxiety, even when we interact with people we know well, for example, during a festive meal with extended family,” says Yair Shemesh, PhD, lead author of the study published in Nature Neuroscience.
Whatever your neurons are doing, you can ease social distress with a variety of strategies. Our story “Shyness & Social Anxiety Solutions: Join the Party!” offers lots of ideas. For example:
- A Chicago man bolsters his self-confidence with a pep talk: “If I was invited to the party in the first place, I must offer something of value.”
- When one woman with social anxiety starts to obsess about what others think of her, she reminds herself: “You have no psychic abilities, Areesah.”
For small talk tips, pre-party empowerment and other practical advice, read “Join the Party!”
Holiday Tips To Avoid Weight Gain
NEWSWISE—This time of year also brings added temptation that can sabotage good eating and exercise habits. One problem is the “Christmas comes but once a year” attitude toward indulging, says Debra Reed, PhD, a registered dietitian and nutritionist. In truth, she points out, “the holiday period is a lot of weeks.”
So is splurging on high-fat foods at the buffet table always a bad idea? False. Reed recommends filling your plate with healthy choices first and reserving a small space for one special treat (as long as it’s not a trigger food for bingeing). Check out the rest of her true-and-false list. Read more >>
VIDEO: Bipolar & My Struggle with Panic Attacks
My bipolar panic attacks are short lived but crippling. In the middle of one I feel fear, anxiety and helplessness. My heart pounds, my breathing goes shallow and sweat builds on my forehead, back and armpits, soon to soak my shirt. My self-image plummets. Watch Dave Mowry’s video blog >>
via bpHope – bp Magazine Community