Getting busy striking up a simple conversation or just helping an event organizer can allow you to ease discomfort in situations with A LOT of people
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By Brittany Sibley
In busy, active situations, my brain can sometimes label this as too overwhelming. These types of situations, for example, include riding a crowded bus, eating lunch in the employee lounge, holiday parties, birthday dinners, outside festivals/concerts, ordering food in a busy restaurant, and waiting in long lines at a local grocery store, supermarket or any other place a lot of folks—familiar or unfamiliar—may be located at one point of time.
At times, my “bipolar 1 mind” cannot conceive baring situations with lots of people because it feels a little too much for my five senses. I have learned a few tips to try and ignore the sense of unbearable discomfort to help you get through your day, run your errand, stay put at the party, and enjoy your family’s get-together, concert, festival or any other situation where your brain would like you to detach, resist, isolate or literally walk away.
I have experienced when walking away is necessary to maintain your calmness, and if you find yourself in this situation, please do what’s necessary to ensure stability. However, if you think you can stay put, staying active personally is a great way to get over that hump. These are often my go-to tools for keeping myself active in busy situations.
1. Try to make convenient, comfortable conversation with at least one person.
It does not matter who the one person is, and you don’t need many details to start the conversation. Just mention something you both have in common in that moment of time. I hate to be cliche, but it really could be the weather, how his or her day has been thus far, how and why the place you both are presently in is so crowded or decorated (depending).
Usually as the conversation progresses, your mind eventually fades from unbearable to sort of bearable to not so bad after all.
2. Always have something to read!
If not, pick up something to read. A magazine, a book, a schedule, a brochure, an itinerary—it does not really matter what it is.
In my experience, by reading, you are taking your mind off the sudden discomfort your body experiences in busy, or suddenly busy situations. Your mind begins to instead focus your energy on reading and learning, possibly information you did not know before.
If you continue to read long enough, the urge to walk away from the situation will settle. When in long lines, I usually read long enough until it is my turn to check out.
3. Offer/ask host of event or gathering if there is anything you can do to help.
I have found making myself available to the host keeps me very active at busy events. From helping with displays and food layouts, to assisting with clean up by gathering dishes, and finally helping any elderly with second plates, take home bags, and drink refills, these tasks can take your mind off of your anxiety.
4. Keep your head up and remind yourself that the reason you feel anxiety is because you actually got up and went to the situation, event or invite in the first place.
While some places can be required and unavoidable, choosing to remain active in them in any effort deserves a little recognition. Recognizing any small feat allows the next accomplishments to become easier and easier.
These few tools can help in trying to remain active in anxiety-inducing situations the same way they continue to help me. I speak from my personal experience, and you or your loved ones may have experiences quite different than what I know to be true.
Either way, trying the tools will not hurt, especially during this summer season where things to do abound! I would love to hear if these tips work for you and if not, what other tools you may know of to better assist in similar situations. Happy July and continue to take care of your mind as well as you do your body…until next time, Happy Summer!