Jane feared small, enclosed spaces, like elevators. This inhibited her life because she couldn't go on holiday and stay in a hotel. Riding on mass transit of any kind, including busses and airplanes was out of the question. She had no choice, but to stay home. She had a friend who wanted her to go on a vacation, but Jane was afraid. She was determined to change the remaining years of her life and get out to see the world.
As a child she remembered being afraid of small enclosures. The only incident she could relate to her fear was her younger brother's friends shutting her in the tool shed behind the house as a joke. But she had developed a fear of tight places before that.
We worked together using systematic desensitization which means to make yourself less nervous about a situation through gradual exposure. Face your fear one step at a time.
Before we started this desensitizing process, she practiced daily meditation, including deep breathing and enjoying soothing music. She kept a small smooth worry rock in her pocket to rub her thumb across.
Jane used positive self-talk and the other soothing techniques listed above as she practiced the following:
1: Step into the elevator and step out again. Repeat this until anxiety has lessened. As Jane performed this task, she used positive statements to encourage herself. She practiced her deep breathing techniques and rubbed the rock in her pocket. As soon as she felt more comfortable, she visualized herself completing task number 2.
2: Walk into the elevator and close the door. Open it immediately and walk out. Jane used her soothing techniques and repeated this step until her uneasiness diminished.
She and her friend took a short flight from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back. She felt ready to travel. The friends chose a tour of ancient South American ruins where they were sure there would be some open spaces for them to relax.
Jane came home from her vacation elated because she accomplished her goal and had a wonderful time.
Always do what you are afraid to do. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
What did Jane do to achieve her goal?
1. Check to see if she could find mistaken childhood beliefs.
2. Release the emotionality associated with these ideas.
3. Develop soothing techniques:
4. Systematically desensitized herself to small enclosures.
5. Desensitize herself to previously inhibiting means of travel.
6. Enjoy taking a real vacation.
Become the best you can be. Let go of debilitating fears. Find answers to this and other question with this step-by-step guide.