With all that’s been happening in the world in the past few months, it’s been of no surprise in the rise of clients coming in for anxiety-related issues. With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s so easy for us to move into survival mode and become attached to places, people, objects and environments that make us feel safe.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety where the person is too afraid to leave environments that they feel safe in. We have been conditioned over the past few months to “stay at home” and for many people that translates to- “Home is the only place that I am safe.” With this underlying belief in place, anything that is not home is not safe. So now whenever they leave their home, their natural defence system kicks into gear to protect them and they experience anxiety to make them get back into a place of safety. It’s a brilliant survival system when needed, but there comes a point where it needs to stop so that the person can live freely and harmoniously with life.
Here are a few things that you can do to keep calm when anxiety stops you from leaving your home.
Turn off the TV and move away from the news
A little bit of news is great and necessary to keep up to date with everything that’s going on, but when you are watching it over and over again, the constant stream of negative information will just add to your stress and anxiety levels.
Practice calming techniques
This is important in all healing work and it can as simple as focusing on your breathing or taking your mind off the outside world and becoming more aware of your body. Keeping your mind focused on the rise and fall of your chest or belly. If you can do it for just a few moments, you can find that you’ll start to calm down and regain a little control.
Keep a diary to make note of your triggers, notice how you are feeling; when you are calm, when you are not so calm, what are your main thoughts etc. Just these little insights can help you to become aware of those unconscious behaviours and where you can make changes. (You may need to cut down on the coffee!)
Just a little bit every day. Keep stretching that comfort zone. Maybe you can make it to the letterbox and feel safe. Then to the end of your street, maybe to the corner shop. Keep finding things that make you feel safe and supported and keep expanding that safe, secure and supportive feeling.
Friends, family and community support
If you have some support around you, reach out to them. People do want to help but you have to let them. They can take you to places when you are ready as support to help you feel safe until you can start venturing out on your own again. There was a time that you felt safe, and it’s important to remember that you can and will experience that feeling again.
Get professional help
There is so much help available to people these days to assist them in overcoming their fears. CBT being the main therapy, psychotherapy, counselling, hypnotherapy, and many natural therapies can help you with stress and anxiety-related issues like Agoraphobia. And Yes! You can overcome this issue with the right help. Everyone is different and will respond to treatments differently, so it’s important not to give up and keep trying until you find what works for you!
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