“7 Tips for Surviving Social Anxiety at the Most Social Time of the Year”

This post is written by one of our guest authors, Jill Johnson.  We are so excited for you to hear from her.  She is also the author of the children’s book, Bipolar, Daddy, & Me and the creator of www.sunnysideupcompany.com.

So it’s that time of the year. You were coerced into being at the family gathering to do the turkey thing and somehow survived it. Now Christmas is around the corner and, no doubt, you’ll be spending it with the family. No worries! But what about the holiday that really matters to you? You know, the one that you want to spend exclusively with friends. If you’re young, or at least, feel young at heart, chances are you don’t want to be stuck in the house again with Grandma Moses and the FAM on one of the biggest social eves of the year – New Year’s Eve.


Instead, you’re banking on getting out with friends, your own age to have a little fun. So you say to yourself, this year will be different than last year. I’ll shop for the perfect little black dress, my makeup will be flawless, and I’ll rock those slamming shoes that I never did get to wear last New Year’s Eve. It all sounds good until …you start to think about it! The very idea of going out on the town with friends and maybe even busting a move starts to give you the heebie jeebies. In fact, it paralyzes you. What gives?

Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out you may be suffering from Social Anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety at some time or another in life. It’s common to everyone. If speaking in front of an audience makes you nervous and causes a level of anxiety to rise in you, that’s Ok. You are in good company with everyone else. Some experience anxiety at job interviews while others driving in heavy traffic, but it’s still all good. The anxiety we sometimes feel during these times can actually propel us upward. It can help us to prepare and perform better in the things we are trying to accomplish. However, when feelings of intense fear and distress overwhelm us and keep us from doing everyday things, and when it keeps us from socializing with others, we may have a big problem. [http://Nami.org/November 8, 2015]

NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization said that anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in the United States. An estimated 40 million adults in the U.S., or 18%, have an anxiety disorder. It affects more women than men. Whether it’s in the form of Social, Panic, Phobias or Generalized disorders, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common. It attacks one at the gut level and can do a number in one’s head.

Emotionally, the symptoms of anxiety disorders leave one feeling apprehensive, restless, irritable, dreaded, anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger. And like an uninvited guest, physical symptoms can take over the body. You may feel like your heart is pounding or racing so much that you cannot breathe. The palm of your hands may get sweaty. You may suffer tremors, twitches, fatigue, insomnia, upset stomach, frequent urination, and diarrhea. These are the signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Social Anxiety, unlike shyness, causes intense fear. It’s often driven by irrational worries about social humiliation such as being afraid of saying something stupid or not knowing what to say. Sufferers may not participate in conversations, contribute to class work, social discussions, or offer their ideas. They may become isolated and have frequent panic attacks. [http://Nami.org/November 8, 2015]

Self-help Tips:

According to John Tsilimparis, MFT, director of the Anxiety and Panic Disorder Center of Los Angeles and one of the therapists on A&E’s Obsessed, a show about severe anxiety disorders, “Three of the most common characteristics of someone with an anxiety disorder are perfectionism, relying on others for approval and need for control.”

Here are 7 tips that will help you in your journey.

  • Check out how this contributes to, feeds into, and ultimately affects your life.
  • Keep your thoughts in check. Distortional thinking feeds your anxiety.
  • Follow this mental exercise: Is it true to that person, that thing you’re feeling, etc.? If you do not have any evidence of what you’re thinking or feeling is true, send the distorted mind packing. Worrying is fictional not factual.
  • Look for, the evidence. Is what you’re thinking or feeling true?
  • Give up the control. Realize that you cannot control life. “While we can’t control the world, we can control our reaction to it,” Tsilimparis said.
  • Give up absolute, black and white thinking.
  • Trust Yourself. “Self-trust is the ability to believe that you can handle what life throws at you,” Luciani said.
  • According to Luciani, “If you’re anxious, your trust muscle has atrophied, and your insecurity has become muscle bound.” Strengthen your muscles by taking risks. [Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.]
  • Stop people-pleasing. Do you say yes to someone when you really mean no? [Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.]
  • Paying attention to how you interact with people and the times you initiate people-pleasing behavior.
  • Last but not least, learn to laugh at yourself. So what if you commit a social faux pas. No one actually cares?

Now that you know, go ahead and put yourself out there. You don’t have to overthink it. Give that work presentation you’ve always wanted to give. Speak up more loudly. Wear that little black dress that has been hanging in your closet. Go out and bust a move on a dance floor. The sky’s the limit. Who knows, this may be the start of something sweet!

About the Writer: Jill Johnson is the author of the children’s book, Bipolar, Daddy, & Me. She is also the creator of www.sunnysideupcompany.com.


Life Seasons


What season of life are you in now?

Are you in your teens, your 20’s, 30’s 40’s, 50’s or 60’s ?


I am in my 60’s and I have enjoyed every season of my life.

That’s the key!! To enjoy wherever season you find yourself in right now.

I heard someone say that “Getting old is a privilege-not everyone gets to be old.” I believe it to be true!

Getting old comes with its own set of challenges, and those challenges are different for everyone.

For me, it came gradually…

First, right after I turned 40 all of a sudden, everything I read was blurry.

My perfect vision was betraying me! Got reading glasses. No big deal, right? Except that since then I went from a 1.0 lens to a 2.50!


Then the knee pain started to show up. Doctor says I have arthritis!!

Oh no, not me!! My mom, my aunt, “old” people have arthritis, not me!!!

And it has been downhill from there. I don’t want to depress you, not at all!

“Getting old is a privilege,” I tell myself as I continue in this mortal journey. And I do believe it is!

Now that I am older, my life has changed in so many wonderful ways: when I feel lonely, I have so many memories of good times with family and friends to help me through them.


As I look back at a lifetime of accomplishments, as small as they might seem to others, they are my victories, my trajectory thru the years. They sustain me and have taught me so much.

I have a posterity to rejoice in, to teach by example and to learn from. I have strength to overcome the impossible, ( as it seems at times) because I can look back and see that I have overcome much and I am still here;  wiser, and more determined than ever to succeed –  I am whole, I didn’t fall apart.

I feel I am calmer before difficult times; that it really doesn’t matter that much what others think of me, because I know who I am.

My home is clean, and beautiful to me. I don’t need to have the latest furnishings, the “model home look” in every room of my home.

My home is full of books that have been read, music that makes me “twist and shout” and music that soothes my soul; pictures of the ones I love most in the world ; knick knacks made by the grandchildren; toys in the living room; popcorn kernels from watching a chick flick with my daughter and granddaughter, or a game with my husband and grandsons; blankets that are soft, in different patterns to snuggle in and watch a favorite show with the love of my life, or to read a book on a rainy day all curled up.


Aw, the simple joys of life!! That’s it! Getting old for me means simplifying everything, every facet of my life without worrying what others will think.


I have lived long enough to know what’s important to me, what makes me happy, what I need to let go, and I’ve learned to forgive everyone, including myself for the mistakes I have made.

We have had our share of fear, sickness, heartbreak, disappointments, frustrations, despair, and we got through it all with the Lord’s help, and you will too.

Come what may and love it!


Whatever season you are in now, enjoy it! Simplify your life!

Don’t be afraid to get old. It is as good as you make it, and if you consider it a privilege, your attitude will carry you through the hard times.

Make it a great life despite it all, and I pray that you too, will have the privilege of getting old.



Suely Sanders is our wonderful, dear friend, and we are so happy to have her

Be Our Guest today.  We look forward to hearing from Suely again very soon! 

Finial Moment

I love this writer. I love what he calls “finial” moments-I’m sentimental, too. (Well, I’ve nailed the “mental” part anyway…) Enjoy! -Kim


Friends and I enjoyed brunch the other day. Afterwards, I suggested we stop by the local antique store to see what was new…

No one got the joke.

Still laughing at myself, because it never takes much, I held the door for the others as we entered and went our separate ways down cluttered and dusty aisles.

We hadn’t been there long when I saw, tucked between Mason jars and wicker baskets, an old Thanksgiving decoration like one Mama used when I was a kid. It was a turkey with a cardboard head but the rest of it was the honeycomb style that opened and latched onto itself, giving the turkey a big round body. Its cardboard head was bent and its big round body didn’t latch anymore, but I held it up to look at it and wondered whose it used to be, where they might have placed it…

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