How to beat holiday anxiety

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NBC News (NBC) - Crowds are actually among the top ten fears that people have, and that gets heightened over the holidays.

Since holidays bring crowds to the roads, stores, and celebrations, NBC News worked on getting some tips from Baylor College of Medicine on how to deal with the crowds that cause anxiety.

Chief of psychiatry at Ben Taub and Baylor College of Medicine, Dr. Asim Shah, says crowd anxiety is common.

His first tip to tackle big events - locate the exits when you arrive.

"Before you enter or as soon as you enter you can mark down the exits so that if it's getting too bothersome, you need to know where to get out from. You also need to know in those situations that you are not alone."

In that case - bringing a friend can help!

"When they have a group of people who are enjoying, they get less anxious. When they are alone, they get more anxious."

And focus on the reason you're there--- for example, sporting events can be an easy way to focus on something other than the anxiety.

"So if you focus on the game as opposed to the crowd, that may relax you."

But, Dr. Shah warns, if you classify your anxiety as *severe* -- start small!

"As opposed to just jump onto this mega event and doing those things systemically, would make more sense."

"Facing your fears," he adds, "in this situation is not good? Exactly, no, this is not a good idea to face the fear because even if you want to leave, leaving may not be that easy and quick."

Now traffic does make it harder to leave quickly, but at some events, everyone is leaving at once. Like sporting events or concerts.

Doctor Shah says if you can, try to wait until the crowds are gone.

Even though it means that you are staying in that environment longer, it may make it easier for you to have that clear path out.