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September 13, 2016 by Heng Thye Tan

How to overcome your fear of confined spaces With These 10 Easy Steps. A Must Read For The Everyday Claustrophobic person

cover Fear is not entirely a bad thing. A healthy dose of it can serve as motivation or a feedback mechanism that you can use to confront the things that may be scaring you. But a gripping fear that borders on the irrational can have life-altering effects if left unchecked. It may lead to self-limiting decisions that could become harder to overcome as the anxiety gains more footing in your life. It could develop into a phobia which is marked by intense fear that often defies logic. Phobia takes on many faces. People suffer from extreme anxiety over things like fear of confined spaces. If you are a traveler, claustrophobia or even a mild version of it can have negative effects that could make traveling more stressful than it should be. Travelers who suffer from it have developed different ways of coping with the problem. But some strategies can be limiting like choosing to avoid modes of transportation that trigger the fear most. If left unaddressed, this could get in the way of travel plans. If you have a fear of enclosed spaces, here are some ways that could help you overcome them for a better traveling experience:   1  
  1. Acknowledge the fear

Berating yourself for feeling anxious can only worsen the negative feelings associated with the fear. Acknowledging and accepting the fear is an important step towards managing it more effectively. You have to change your inner dialogue by being kinder to yourself. This may sound like a tired cliché, but you have to let the fear flow in you. See the fear for what it is and focus on how you can ride it out without being too harsh on yourself. 2  
  1. Determine the cause

Identify what is causing your anxiety or fear. This may sound simple, but it can be difficult to do for those who experience intense fear. It is often hard to get past the swirl of thoughts and emotions when anxiety takes hold. To better address the problem, you need to understand as much as you can about it. Take note of the things or the negative thoughts that frighten you. Use the information to work on changing the way you think about the things that could happen because of what you fear. 3  
  1. Weigh the pros and cons

List down the advantages and disadvantages of letting your fear influence your travel decisions. Reflect on them. Compare the potential benefits and downsides of giving in to your fear. And think of the possibilities when you start dealing with them. This simple method can help you weigh the highs and lows the fear brings to your life. It could help you decide on how to best deal with the problem. 4  
  1. Take small steps towards conquering your fear

There is nothing wrong with avoidance if that makes you feel comfortable. But you have to admit that neither will it bring you the comfort that you truly need. The fear is still there. You are merely refusing to deal with it head-on when you choose to avoid it. It will be a constant presence in your life. It would be unrealistic to think that it will just disappear on its own. If you are looking for a long-term solution, you have to take one small step at a time towards overcoming whatever it is that frightens you. Develop the habit of consciously making an effort to face your fears. Start slowly but commit to doing it more. Learning to manage your fear early on can help you prevent it from escalating and taking more control of your life. 5  
  1. Get the facts

Irrational fear is fueled by negative thoughts blown out of proportion. Imagined worst case scenarios often play in loop in your head. Sometimes the first step towards overcoming a phobia is to get your facts straight. List down everything that you imagine would happen if you step into any confined area. Do some research to find out if there is truth to the things that you keep worrying about. You might be surprised what the facts would show. 6  
  1. Get real

You do not have to avoid enclosed spaces just because of the things that you think could happen. Just because you are afraid of possible accidents do not make them real. Use the facts to gradually change the story you tell yourself when faced with your fear. Think of how technology has evolved over the years. Nowadays, airplanes and elevators which many claustrophobic people fear are much safer than they used to. Once you try to get past the negative thoughts that swirl in your head as soon as the fear kicks in, you can start focusing on the facts to help you calm down.   7  
  1. Find a distraction

Have you ever focused on a small problem for so long that it has become bigger by the time you were done thinking about it? Spending too much time thinking about a thing only magnifies it. Try to distract yourself once the fear surfaces. Do things that require intense focus. Get some important work done, read an interesting book, and play some mentally challenging games. This should get your mind from thinking out the things that scare you. 8  
  1. Visualize positive things

Replace gloom and doom images from your mind with positive mental pictures. Visualize the beautiful places you want to go or the things you want to do. Imagine how you would look and feel traveling to different destinations as much as you want to without fear. Keep positive visuals in your head so there is no more room for all the negativity that fear brings. 9  
  1. Start building courage one brick at a time

Let small successes serve as bricks that you can use to build on the courage you need to manage your fear. Stick with the things that work for you. You may encounter setbacks along the way, but do not let that stop you from pursuing the path to bravery. Most importantly, do not be too hard on yourself. Conquering a fear takes time. So celebrate the small wins as often as you can.   10  
  1. Ask for help if needed

Phobia is a serious problem that may require treatment. While self-help works in managing intense fear and all the anxieties that come with it, it may not be enough for some people. Those who suffer from more severe cases may need to seek professional help to treat the phobia. Be honest enough to ask for help if you feel that it is needed. That in itself takes courage and should be a big step towards finally overcoming the fear once and for all.  


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