Have you ever found yourself at a social event, beelining straight to the bar the moment you arrive? Maybe you feel a bit awkward standing around without a drink in hand, almost as if it's your social security blanket. You're not alone! Many of us find comfort in holding a drink at social gatherings. But why is that?

The Psychology of Holding Something in Social Settings

Humans are social creatures, but that doesn't mean we always feel comfortable in social settings. Social anxiety is a common experience, and one way people manage this is by holding onto something—often a drink. There are a few psychological reasons why this simple act can make us feel more at ease:

  1. Distraction and Displacement: Holding a drink gives us something to do with our hands. This can distract us from our anxiety and make us feel less self-conscious. It's a form of displacement activity, a term used in psychology to describe doing seemingly small actions to help us cope with stress or anxiety. 
  2. Security Object: Just like how you once clung to your favorite stuffed animal as a child, adults can find comfort in holding a drink as a sort of security object. It offers stability and a sense of comfort in social situations that might otherwise feel uncomfortable. 
  3. Social Cue: Believe it or not, holding a drink sends a nonverbal signal that you're participating in the social event. It's like a friendly nod to others that says, "Hey, I'm here and ready to mingle!". It aligns with the concept of social proof, where people conform to the actions of others to feel accepted in a group.

The Science Behind the Comfort of Holding a Drink

There's actually several scientific studies behind why holding holding something, particularly a drink, can make us feel more comfortable in social settings:

  • Object Magic: Our brains are wired to see objects as tools. Holding a drink makes us feel prepared and engaged, like we're ready for whatever social interactions come our way.
  • Feel-Good Chemistry: Whether it's a fancy cocktail or a functional beverage, sipping on something can trigger feelings of relaxation and sociability—a liquid boost of confidence! This taps into the psychological idea that our physical actions can influence how we feel and think.
  • Liquid Courage: It's not just the act of holding a drink; the contents matter too. While alcohol is known for reducing inhibitions and social anxiety, there's a healthier alternative UNWIND—an adaptogenic beverage crafted with Ashwagandha, Magnesium, Passion Flower, Lavender, and Chamomile to naturally relax cortisol levels (similar to the effect of an alcoholic drink), helping you feel calm and comfortable in social situations without the drawbacks of alcohol.

Tips for Using This Knowledge to Your Advantage

Understanding the psychology and science behind holding a drink for comfort can help you navigate social settings more confidently:

  1. Choose Your Beverage Wisely: It doesn't have to be alcoholic. Even holding a non-alcoholic drink such as UNWIND (a calming balance), UPLIFT (natural energizer), or even sparkling water, can provide the same comfort. The key is having something to hold and sip on.
  2. Use Props: If you find yourself in a situation where a drink isn't available, find another object to hold, like a purse, phone, or even a small snack. The physical act of holding something can still provide comfort.
  3. Mindfulness: Be aware of why you feel the need to hold a drink. This awareness can help you manage social anxiety more effectively and find other ways to feel comfortable.
  4. Practice: The more you expose yourself to social settings without relying on a drink, the more comfortable you will become. Gradually weaning yourself off this habit can boost your confidence over time.

So next time you find yourself at a social event, remember that your drink might be doing more than just quenching your thirst. It's a handy tool, backed by psychology and science, to help you feel more at ease in the crowd. Cheers to that!

Written by Rhi Saleh

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