Five Tactics for Conquering Claustrophobia

By Ruth on August 13, 2017 in advice
 Claustrophobia photo

Photo by LauraLewis23

One common phobia many people deal with is the fear of confined spaces. This fear is known as claustrophobia. One of the reasons why it’s such a common phobia is there are countless confined spaces found in everyday life. Some examples include elevators, airplanes, parking garages and subway cars. Fortunately, there are tactics people can put into practice in their efforts to conquer claustrophobia. Look at five examples.

Meet with a Therapist

Seeing a therapist or counselor is one of the most effective ways to conquer claustrophobia. Talking with a counselor helps a person to figure out the reasons why he or she is frightened of confined spaces. Once the reasons are revealed, a counselor can provide specific guidance on how the person can work to rid him or herself of this limiting condition. Most people who see a counselor feel as though they have a partner in their recovery from claustrophobia.

Keep a Journal of Successes

Keeping a journal helps a person to record and build upon a list of successes as they begin to conquer claustrophobia. Keeping a journal of specific successes can be especially helpful when the person feels discouraged about the speed of his or her progress. One example of a success noted in this type of journal would be a description of a two-minute elevator ride during which the person remained completely calm. Plus, after recovery, if the person ever starts backsliding, he or she can review the pages of the journal.

Practice Breathing Exercises

Calming breathing exercises are helpful in dealing with almost any type of phobia. But, they are particularly useful to someone who suffers from claustrophobia. These exercises can be done at any time whether it is before a person enters a confined space or while he or she is inside it. Calming breathing exercises can even be done if a person becomes anxious when thinking about an upcoming airplane trip or a subway ride across a city. Furthermore, once a person learns how to perform calming breathing exercises, he or she will be able to do them without thinking about it. Resources such as Massive Phobia can provide helpful, imaginative ideas to individuals who want to get past their fears.

Conquer the Phobia with a Plan Featuring Small Steps

Some people who suffer from claustrophobia prefer to go about conquering this problem (or any other problem) in an ultra-organized way. One example of this tactic is writing down a list of small steps that need to be completed and checked off. Each week, the person tries to successfully complete one step. For instance, the first step on the list may be to stand in front of the elevator at a local department store and watch the doors open and close for several minutes. As the person does this, he or she performs calming breathing exercises. The next step on the list is to enter the elevator, travel up one floor and exit the car. The steps on the list build on one another so the person is able to use the victory from the previous week to garner confidence. Eventually, the person will work up to riding the elevator for several floors without feeling anxious. Each person can tailor the way he or she goes about completing the steps.

Pair an Experience with a Calming Vision

This tactic involves pairing the experience of being in a confined space with a peaceful, calm-inducing vision. For instance, a person who is anxious about taking an airplane trip can pair this experience with a vision of him or herself relaxing on a sunny beach with family. This calming vision can crowd out anxious thoughts and serve as a distraction from worry and other unproductive thinking.

Finally, these are just five tactics that can be of help to individuals who are dealing with claustrophobia. Keep in mind that one tactic may work wonderfully for one person and not work so well for another. It’s important to maintain an open mind and keep trying tactics until you find one that works.

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher


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