Anxiety Over Holidays

By Doug Mayberry

November 21, 2016 4 min read

Q: I am shy and probably always will be, but my husband is always the life of the party. We have already been invited to four mandatory business holiday parties, and I have no excuse not to attend.

How can I manage these parties without blowing his career?

A: You were aware of his popularity and that he would expect you to interact with others before you got married. It is time for you to change your attitude and accept the responsibility of becoming a team player.

If you are happily married and want a healthy relationship, ask yourself why you have a negative social attitude and aren't comfortable joining in. Is it because of your family background, a past social error that you cannot overcome, the feeling you don't fit in with others, or perhaps a health issue? There are many reasons we feel shy.

Until you determine your reasons and commit to changing your attitude, you'll continue to feel insecure. Consider seeing a professional counselor if you feel paralyzed by your social anxiety. Address your insecurities head on and try to improve your self-image. This can take many forms, such as exercise, financial management or the pursuit of knowledge.

Depending on your husband in social situations also puts pressure on him, which will hurt any relationship. Go to the upcoming parties with a positive attitude, and emphasize your positive traits. There are reasons your husband married you — remember them! — Doug

IT'S ALL INSIDE

Q: Recently, I'm coming across a lot of very angry and upset people, which affects my own mood aversely. It seems like I'm in a sea of negativity and I can't get out!

My own view of others around me, even my loved ones, has been getting worse as a result. What can I do to change my outlook?

A: When you focus on how others alter your mood, you're viewing this issue from an external perspective. Recognizing your frustration with external forces can be cathartic and even righteous, but it won't help you attain a more positive outlook.

Unfortunately, we cannot force others to behave in a certain way. Instead, look internally. If you wait for the world to change, you will become even more distraught when it fails to do so. Focus on improving your reactions, and you will feel empowered and more resistant to outside influences.

Be conscious of the blessings you have in your life, both big and small. Consider your health, finances, loved ones and education and the positive influences around you. When you're frustrated, remind yourself to be patient with others and consider the commonalities you share. If you lash out at others, they will become entrenched in their negativity.

On the other hand, you can change your dynamics with people close to you and prompt a different set of behaviors. Patience and kindness go a long way. Break the negative feedback system you share, and you will be happier with your surroundings. — Emma, Doug's granddaughter

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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