I have a tendency towards social anxiety, and panic attacks. In fact the trigger that drove me to realising that I REALLY needed help, and sent me to see my GP to get that help, was a weekend in June of last year that ended up turning into a virtually continuous panic attack!
Since then I've been more conscious of the need for me to proactively keep myself on an emotionally " even keel " as it were. If I feel myself getting tense, panicky, or starting to skip straight to the " worst case scenario ", I make a conscious move towards calming myself and reminding myself of my " positives ".
I find that I sometimes tend to feel calmer if I'm sitting somewhere like a library or a coffee shop, where I can be with people, but in a low-key, relatively inconspicuous way. I think my panic attacks are to some extent worsened by isolation and being too much by myself. And, I can start to feel social anxiety if I'm around too many people, particularly if it's for too long or in too confined a place. So, I'm consciously striking a balance between being too much " in the world ", and too little " in the world "
I find that regulating my breathing, ( So, that I'm breathing slowly and deeply, and the out-breath is longer than the in-breath, works for me as a way of calming myself and easing an incipient, or actual panic, attack.
Also, distracting myself helps me as well. Eg. Sometimes if I'm feeling edgy while on a bus or at a bus stop, I'll start counting the number of cars going the other way of a certain colour. I find that counting, say, blue cars does help me calm myself. I have a slight touch of OCD, so keeping track of how many blue cars I've seen, whether a car is actually blue, or not-quite-blue-enough to count, etc helps me distract myself from my anxiety.
Thanks for the suggestion, (((( lisalou ))))!
I'll try it myself. I do sometimes wonder what the correct amount of eye-contact is, in some situations. I don't want to seem to be avoiding eye-contact, ( Shifty? ), but I don't want to seem to be staring at someone, ( Confrontational? )